Mission & History

To educate, entertain and engage audiences of all ages through professional theatrical productions and arts education programming.

Alice in Wonderland, 2016

100 Years Young

The Wizard of Oz, 1925

We are honoured to take TCT into its next century, and to have been a part of the recent growth of the organization, which included moving into our new home on Red Bank Road in 2015. In this state-of-the-art facility, eight classroom spaces allowed for the expansion of TCT Academy, offering performing arts instruction for children of all ages. With training starting as early as age 2, our Itty Bitty Artist classes are the perfect first experience with performing, with a focus on creative play. After all, “That’s why they call it a play,” and who better to provide such instruction than a professional theatre company?

The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati (TCT) has been creating lifelong memories for families with children and school audiences since 1919. Our acclaimed productions are the perfect first live theatre experience for children.

The Wizard of Oz, 2017

Whether you are looking for a way to enhance your school’s arts curriculum (TCT on Tour), performing arts training or increased self-confidence and socialization for your child (TCT Academy), or a family experience you will remember forever (TCT MainStage), we have some­thing for you. We invite you to join us as we embark upon our journey into the next 100 years of imagination.

The Children's Theatre History

"According to recent evidence, the legacy of The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati began with Helen Schuster-Martin in the Schuster-Martin School of Drama in 1919. Helen was a Junior League of Cincinnati member and brought her expertise of live theatrical entertainment for children by launching The Junior League Players as a director of their first productions in the early 1920s, with Junior League members serving as actors, managing ticket sales, and overseeing production responsibilities until The Children's Theatre of Cincinnati launched as an independent nonprofit organization in 1947. The Junior League of Cincinnati continued to maintain a standing committee to provide volunteer support for many years after TCT's launch, and the two organizations have maintained a close partnership for the past 100 years." -- Haley B. Elkins • Managing Director, Junior League of Cincinnati

1919

Helen Schuster-Martin coins the name The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati and begins directing productions for young audiences.

1924

The Junior League formed the Junior League Players, a group of members who performed for 700 children that year under the direction of Helen Schuster-Martin.

1925

Production of THE WIZARD OF OZ produced by The Junior League Players. Helen Schuster-Martin, Director.

1939

11,000 children reached. "This year leadership is outstanding...sufficient interest and girl power to carry it." (Chandler, Field Report from Children's Theatre staff, October)

1948

A costume sketch from a production of MANY MOONS.

1949

The Junior League of Cincinnati provided a $12,600 grant to launch a non-profit organization, and The Children’s Theatre was officially incorporated. After an initial season at Hughes High School, the Emery Auditorium became TCT’s home for the next two decades. “The Children’s Theatre promises to become a Cincinnati institution to boast about.” (Marjorie Lunken in a letter to Miss Weisgerber, November 13)

1959

Produced HOLIDAY ON ICE show using the frozen floor of Cincinnati Gardens.

1969

Moved from the Emery Auditorium to the Taft Theare. Otto Kvapil of Xavier University became executive director.

1982

Began offering one public performance of each show on a Friday evening at 7:30 PM to provide another opportunity for kids to see the performances.

1987

Took part in the Greater Cincinnati Bicentennial Celebration with Cincinnati’s Bicentennial Musical: A CINCINNATI STORY.

1993

The first paid staff at The Children’s Theatre were hired: Jack Louiso, Artistic Director, and Susie Louiso, Executive Director.

1999

The launch of STAR, an audition-based summer program providing intense musical theatre training to talented children ages 9-18.

2000

70,000 children reached

2003

Presented TOM SAWYER: A RIVER ADVENTURE three times daily during the Tall Stacks celebration. The show returned to the festival in 2006.

2005

ArtReach merged with TCT, creating what would be later known as TCT On Tour.

2010

The launch of TCT Academy

2011

Jack and Susie Louiso retire. Opera singer and arts educator Angela Powell Walker takes the reins as Artistic Director and Val Krueckeberg becomes Executive Director.

2015

Roderick Justice becomes Producing Artistic Director. Kim Kern adds CEO to her title of Managing Director. Construction begins on TCT's Headquarters on Red Bank Road.

2016

TCT Academy attendance grew 340% after opening the new building on Red Bank Road in 2015.

2017

107,000 children and families reached on the MainStage. 83,000 students reached with TCT On Tour. 1,200 enrolled in TCT Academy.

2018

In a surge of new growth, programming expanded, including: JumpStart Theatre, and SummerStage. Worked with DC Comics to produce the first TYA version of SUPERMAN™.

2019

Worked with composer Matthew Martin Ward and author Stephen Cole, along with Classic Media, owned by DreamWorks Animation, which is a subsidiary of NBCUniversal, to develop a version of CASPER for young audiences.