Mission & History
We create exceptional theatre experiences, inspiring generations to explore the wonder of their world.
- We believe in the power of theatre.
- We believe our work should be rich with wonder, honesty, compassion, joy, humor and wisdom.
- We are dedicated to excellence.
- We strive for professionalism and outstanding artistry in all our efforts.
- We believe in the educational power of the arts.
- We believe the arts are central to learning and that they delight, enlighten and enchant.
- We respect and embrace the uniqueness of all young people.
- We strive to foster creativity, imagination and independent thinking; we look to assist young people as they face life’s challenges and discover themselves and the world.
- We provide a supportive, nurturing, safe environment for all who pass through our doors.
- We treat everyone with equal respect, courtesy and care.
- We bring together the diverse populations of our community.
- We strive to represent the cultural diversity of our extended community in who we are and what we do.
- We are dedicated to financial strength.
- We believe continued financial strength is paramount to our success.
- We value the passion and commitment of staff and volunteers.
- We strive to support and nurture our staff and volunteers throughout all aspects of our organization.
- We believe serving and engaging our community is at the core of our work.
- We strive to provide a place for people and organizations to connect, collaborate, learn and grow together.
Our workChildren’s Theatre of Charlotte has grown to become one of the top theatre and education organizations for young people in the United States. Nationally recognized for the breadth and strength of its programs, Children's Theatre of Charlotte provides more than 250,000 experiences for children and families a year with technically imaginative productions and wide-ranging education programs for young people.
Each year we mount professional productions for children and families, with the curtain rising more than 600 times during a season – that’s more than any other theatre company in the state. The Charlotte Observer’s theatre critic called Children’s Theatre of Charlotte “the city’s leading professional troupe,” and each season our actors, designers and directors receive numerous awards for their work on the stage. Another critic called our work “the most technically imaginative and resourceful theatre productions in the region.” It’s Broadway caliber theatre, the best in the region.
Children's Theatre of Charlotte is also home to a fully professional touring company which has traveled across North Carolina and into South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia and West Virginia. One of the most respected and sought-after touring arts groups in the country, our Resident Touring Company has performed for more than 1.2 million people. They are also one of the southeast’s few true repertory companies, capable of performing multiple productions in the same day.
As strong as our productions are, they're matched by an extraordinary range of education programs. Each year, Children's Theatre of Charlotte enrolls more than 2,300 young people in classes and camps, teaching confidence and self-esteem while encouraging creativity and self-expression. Programs are designed to build on these experiences, so that preschool students who desire it may one day find themselves performing as an adult in a mainstage production.
Children’s Theatre of Charlotte also offers programs for every grade of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, from residencies that enhance core curriculum using drama techniques, to productions and workshops addressing alcohol and substance abuse prevention.
Children's Theatre of Charlotte is proud of its Community Involvement Program, which encourages participation among underserved audiences in the region, and its volunteer auxiliary, ENCORE!, which, at close to 300 members, is one of the largest and most active in the region.
Children’s Theatre of Charlotte’s home is ImaginOn: The Joe & Joan Martin Center, an amazing collaborative venture between the theatre and Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. It’s an extraordinary place for families – a delightful children’s library, plus two incredible theatre spaces for our productions, classrooms, computer labs, and a teen loft.
Children’s Theatre of Charlotte has created a special place for itself on the cultural and educational landscape of the region. Unique nationally in offering such strong performance, touring, and education programs, Children's Theatre of Charlotte is committed to its mission of creating exceptional theatre experiences, inspiring generations to explore the wonder of their world.
HistoryThe Junior League of Charlotte established Children’s Theatre of Charlotte in 1948. Its first plays were produced in local school auditoriums with young people and Junior League volunteers as cast members. In 1971, Children's Theatre of Charlotte moved into a city-owned, former Veterans of Foreign Wars club, located on Morehead Street. Dedicated volunteers transformed this facility into a working theatre by building a stage, light booth and elevated seating as well as production spaces, offices and classrooms. In this new home, Children’s Theatre of Charlotte grew into a professional performance company and a beloved Charlotte institution.
After hiring its first executive director in 1979, Children's Theatre of Charlotte took steps to strengthen its administrative and financial base. With stronger management and a committed board of directors, it focused on increasing the professional quality of its performances. It also began offering educational programming. Today, Children's Theatre of Charlotte places equal importance on the production of professional theatre and the offering of educational initiatives, making it unique among national theatres for youth.
In the spring of 1989, the Tarradiddle Players became the Resident Touring Company of Children’s Theatre of Charlotte. In existence since 1972 and founded by Connie Welsh, the Tarradiddle Players brought live theatre for young people to audiences across the southeast and beyond as well as performing on the stage as part of the public season.
Children’s Theatre of Charlotte opened the door to a new era on Oct. 8, 2005, as it moved from its beloved home on Morehead Street into ImaginOn: The Joe & Joan Martin Center. A nationally unique collaboration between Children's Theatre of Charlotte and the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library, ImaginOn brings stories to life by combining exceptional theatre, literature and programming for young people under one roof. Children's Theatre of Charlotte's first season in ImaginOn brought resounding success, as participants broke attendance records.
Children’s Theatre of Charlotte is committed to creating exceptional theatre experiences, inspiring generations to explore the wonder of their world while setting a new standard for youth theatre.