Our History

The Children's Theatre Story

MainStage History


In 1924, the Junior League of Cincinnati developed a plan to introduce children in Cincinnati to the magic of theater. They created the Junior League Players, now known as The Children's Theatre of Cincinnati. The Children's Theatre was incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1947 and over the years evolved into a professional theater company. In 1993, the Board of The Children's Theatre hired Jack Louiso as Artistic Director, and under his leadership The Children's Theatre rose to new levels of professionalism, increasing its audience to serve nearly 200,000 children, families and schools each season primarily across Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. Jack retired in May of 2011, handing over the reins to renowned opera singer and arts educator Angela Powell Walker.  In September of 2013, Kim Kern assumed the role of Managing Director of the Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati, and in 2015, Roderick Justice became Producing Artistic Director. 

Deondra with Students
Deondra with Students

TCT On Tour History

TCT On Tour (formerly ArtReach Touring Theatre) was founded by Kathryn Schultz Miller and Barry Miller in 1976. At that time, the company was an innovation in the arts community: a professional theater for young audiences focused on touring to schools throughout the region. ArtReach was named Best New Children's Theatre in the United States by the Children's Theatre Association of America in 1983.

In December of 1996, the Board of Directors of the Cincinnati-based ArtReach elected to merge operations with Theatre IV, a well-respected Virginia competitor in national touring that had been working on a parallel track for two decades. With business operations shared between the Cincinnati and Richmond offices, the organization regularly toured throughout 33 states plus the District of Columbia, with productions for children pre-K through 12th grade.

ArtReach merged with The Children's Theatre of Cincinnati in 2005.  In 2015, our name changed to TCT On Tour, and Jay Goodlett became the Artistic Director of Education and Outreach.

TCT Academy History

Beginning in 1999, The Children's Theatre of Cincinnati caps each season with a summer study program for talented young performers chosen through a rigorous audition process. The STAR Program (Stars That Are Rising), now know as STAR Intensive NKU, is tailored to children ages 9-18, provides students with the opportunity to study music, dance, drama and other skills with professional artists. The STAR Program which initially ran at Raymond Walters College is now a collaboration with Northern Kentucky University's Department of Theatre and Dance.

In 2011, the two-week, half-day stARTS summer program, now known as STAR Camp Red Bank, began at our Madisonville facility. STAR Camp Red Bank, now held at our new facility on Red Bank Road, is designed for children who want to explore their interest in musical theater but who are either not able to commit the time or are not ready for STAR.

In 2010, The Children's Theatre of Cincinnati began offering a program of afternoon, evening and weekend drama, vocal music and dance classes, called Learning the Craft.  These performing arts classes are now held our brand new facility in Hyde Park. Our staff of professionals is teaching children 6-18 years old, at all levels of ability and interest, the techniques and principals behind the art of musical theater.  In 2016, we are beginning three one-week summer camps for theatre beginners.  All of these programs now fall under the umbrella of the TCT Academy.