101 Stories: TYA/USA

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. 

Jonathan Shmidt Chapman, Executive Director of TYA/USA

Theatre for Young Audiences USA (TYA/USA) is the leading national organization for the professional field of theatre for children and families, representing nearly 900 member theatres, organizations, and individual artists across 42 states. Dedicated to ensuring that all young people have access to high-quality theatre experiences, TYA/USA offers a variety of programming and provides a network of exchange that connects professionals working across the industry.

TCT’s Managing Director and CEO, Kim Kern, is a member of the TYA/USA Board of Directors. The board is comprised of highly skilled leaders, administrators, artists, and educators from across the country dedicated to advancing professional TYA theatre.

Jonathan Shmidt Chapman is an artist, producer, writer, curator, and educator dedicated to the field of Theatre for Young Audiences. Throughout his career, Jonathan has been passionate about innovation, experimentation, and advocacy in the TYA field. Most recently, Jonathan served as the first Producer of Family Programming at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, creating ways to re-imagine the Lincoln Center campus as an international arts destination for families. Jonathan is also the Co-Founder of New York’s Trusty Sidekick Theater Company. He led the company through five years of growth and the creation of 12 original works, including the critically-acclaimed Up and Away (a multi-sensory, immersive experience for young people on the autism spectrum). Recent artistic credits include co-creator of The Cerulean Time Capsule for the Kennedy Center and director of the world premiere of The Boy at the Edge of Everything (Finegan Kruckemeyer) at Seattle Children’s Theatre. He has held artistic and education-focused roles at The New Victory Theater, True Colors Youth Theatre, and the Cloud Foundation.

We recently chatted with Jonathan, and he said:

“I am the Executive Director of Theatre for Young Audiences USA. Through this role, I have been able to interact and collaborate with the Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati. I love children’s theatre because I believe that children are the most open and receptive audience that one can perform for, and theatre gives them a new lens to seeing the world. 

“I am constantly impressed by TCT’s desire to develop new work and expand the canon of the theatre experience for these children. I love seeing all of the different ways they serve young people within the community – from large-scale productions at the Taft Theatre to smaller work produced in touring shows. They always find new ways to grow and better serve the community around them!”

Would you honor TYA/USA with a gift to recognize the impact made on TCT?


In the summer of 2020, The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati was proud to bring this world premiere, groundbreaking, online theatrical experience to children and families in our community in partnership with 41 other TYA theatres across the country.