101 Stories: The Junior League of Cincinnati

By The Children's Theatre

Celebrate TCT’s 101st season as it comes to a close as we applaud and appreciate those who contributed to the organization’s magic throughout our century-long journey.  During 10 weeks of recognition, we honor individuals who have been instrumental in the success of TCT, and who have not only helped TCT grow in mission, but also thrive, thanks to their passion.  It is these people and their moments in our history that shaped TCT to become what it is today. We encourage you to consider giving a gift in their honor to ensure the sustainability of TCT’s mission for the next 100+ years. 

The Junior League of Cincinnati is where The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati began! “In that first year, JLC members played to an audience of 700 children, which grew to 11,000 by 1939. In 1947, the Junior League provided a $12,600 grant to launch a new, nonprofit community organization, and Cincinnati’s Children’s Theatre was officially incorporated.  Marjorie (Motch) served as the first board president.  After The Children’s Theatre’s initial session at Hughes High School, the Emery Auditorium became its home for the next two decades.” (From Junior League of Cincinnati’s 80th Year Celebration program.)

A 1961 article in the University of Cincinnati’s News Record shares details of an upcoming performance of Sinbad for over 15,000 children as part of the 11th annual Cincinnati Children’s Theatre production by UC’s Mummers Guild, second only to The Junior League of Cincinnati in the number of Children’s Theatre productions. “The Cincinnati Children’s Theatre was established in order to acquaint the city’s youth with the theatre. Students in most public schools subscribe to the four-play series.  The Mummers Guild produces one of these plays each year.” (UC’s New Record, Feb. 23, 1961).

“Joan Burrell, who in 1969 was the last chair of the League Players, writes in her final report, “The Aztec Prince marked the end of an era for Junior League Players.  It was the twenty-first and last production to be given solely by the League for the Cincinnati Children’s Theatre. To accomplish this, it took the love and dedication of forty League volunteers.  A truly representative group of volunteers – provisionals, actives, and sustainers – all dedicated to giving unstintingly of their time and talent to the success of our project, a play providing joy and delight for the school children of our community.” (from Junior League of Cincinnati’s 80th Year Celebration program) 

The Emery Theatre

Over the years, many dedicated board members and volunteers found their way to The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati, all as a result of The Junior League of Cincinnati and their encouragement of leadership, community, and cultural development.

Their mission states:  The Junior League of Cincinnati is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable.

Thank you to Junior League leaders of long ago with a vision to introduce children and the young at heart to the gift theatre for the young!

Would you honor The Junior League with a gift to recognize the impact made on TCT?


From The Junior League Players’ 1925 production of The Wizard of Oz