Our History

The Children's Theatre Story

MainStage 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

In 1993, the Board of The Children's Theatre hired Jack Louiso as Artistic Director and Susie Louiso as Executive Director, and under their leadership The Children's Theatre of Cincinnati 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 and Susie retired in May of 2011. Opera singer and arts educator Angela Powell Walker took the reins as Artistic Director and Val Krueckeberg became Executive Director. Then In September of 2013, Kim Kern assumed the role of Managing Director of TCT. In 2015, Roderick Justice became Producing Artistic Director and Kim Kern added CEO to her title of Managing 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, the name changed to TCT On Tour.

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 facility on Red Bank Road for three weeks, is designed for children who want to explore their interest in musical theatre 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, now under the umbrella of TCT Academy, are held at our facility in Hyde Park. Our staff of experts teaches children 2-18 years old, at all levels of ability and interest, the techniques and principals behind the art of theatre.