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Welcome to our information page about "The Story of a Firefly" 

Who We Are...

The Excalibur Team is the elite performing team of Avalon Theatre Company at John Champe High School. This team is made of up of students seeking a higher level of professionalism through their studies of acting and designing stage performances. Students who are members of this team undergo rigorous rehearsal processes, tight deadlines and high expectations while working with some of the most difficult works Avalon chooses to take to stage. Named after the legendary sword of King Arthur, Excalibur; it gains it's name as Excalibur was forged on the Island of Avalon which is typically a peaceful place except for this sword. 


The Excalibur Team will tour their show, "Firefly," at the Virginia Theatre Association's annual conference. If they place top 2 in the state at this conference, they moved to the SouthEastern Theatre Conference. 


They also have applied to showcase "Firefly" at the Virginia Thespian Festival at Shenandoah University in January of 2020. If selected for Chapter Select, the team will travel to Thespian Nationals in Indiana in June of 2020.

What our story is about...

3 years ago, Theatre Director Nicki Cabaniss began writing a show she nicknamed "Firefly," but she didn't work earnestly on it. That same fall, a young girl was diagnosed with a rare disease called DIPG, which is a terminal brain tumor commonly found in children ages 4-11, but that can affect older children. This young girl would fight for 8 months before her passing in July 2017. During her journey, her parents began posting on their facebook "Parker Loves Life." Director Cabaniss would stumbled across this page midway through her fight, and would follow it over the next few months. This led to weeks of searching up other DIPG cases, and finding, much to her horror, the dozens of stories and statistics about DIPG and the way it was killing dozens of children every single year. How in the world had she never heard of it before? So, she began writing and "The Story of a Firefly" was born. After working with students, especially editor Hannah, the story began to take shape, but it needed a name for the lead character. Cabaniss reached out to Parker Loves Life and asked permission to use Parker's name for the main role, and was granted that permission. "The Story of a Firefly" is not Parker's story, but it is based upon the countless number of kids' stories found online. It's not about easy answers and happy endings, but instead focuses on the harsh realities of a child dealing with a terminal illness. Along the journey, the company has met countless incredible families and their kids and they have become a part of our journey and are honored by having a cast member carry their name and memory during performance. ALL NAMES used during performances are real people and their journeys. We choose to honor them, and thank you for honoring them as well. 

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2 Ways to donate! Click either of the black links! 


The Cure Starts Now Foundation:

Cannonballs for Kayne (Research and Assistance Programs for Families living with DIPG): Cannonballs Paypal

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We Love our Kids 

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