In-School Residencies

“I think this program was the highlight of the school year for many of our children. I hope we get a chance to be a part of this fantastic program again next year” -Laura Ward Elementary teacher

92% of school partners are yearly partners ♦ Over 70% of students REPORT that a CCT Residency had a positive effect on their community ♦ CCT works with over 1,000 students in Pre-K through 12th grade annually

Chicago Children’s Theatre is a national leader in theatre education programming, offering educators the tools they need to address some of the most pressing issues young people face today. Our Residencies provide meaningful education opportunities that, through teaching theatre, uniquely inspire community, teach problem-solving and collaboration, develop open minds and confident voices, and ignite a powerful authorship of ideas.

We are for all learners. Theatre education is effective across learning styles and can strongly benefit students with emotional needs, attention needs, learning disabilities, or language needs. In 2021/2022, we are thrilled to introduce three unique residency models to celebrate and support our return to in-person programming.

ROAR Residencies
Runs Aug 30, 2021 - Jun 14, 2022
Recommended ForGrades K-1

ROAR (Residencies of Arts and Resilience) will provide an opportunity for students to authentically reflect on challenging or stressful situations, gaining the tools for sharing with others, self care and self agency in those moments. The curriculum (developed in partnership with the Lurie Children’s Center for Childhood Resilience) uses children’s literature, theatre and other multi-disciplinary …

ACTivate Residencies
Runs Aug 30, 2021 - Jun 22, 2022
Recommended For2nd - 8th grade

ACTivate Residencies reinforce classroom learning through the creation of an original performance inspired by neighborhood interviews, myths, legends, or folktales that reflect the background and interests of school communities. CCT’s highly trained teaching artists work closely with students and teachers on a custom curriculum integrating writing, directing, performance, design, and collaborative story development with cross-disciplinary …

ACTivate After-School
Runs Aug 30, 2021 - Jun 22, 2022
Recommended For2nd - 8th grade

Our After-School Residency Program will bring our acting class series to you. During these classes, students will devise and perform an original work using improvisations and creative play. Young performers learn to create unique characters and collaborate and create as an ensemble. Through creative storytelling, students will learn narrative-building skills they need to engage with …

Red Kite Residencies
Runs Aug 30, 2021 - Jun 22, 2022
Recommended ForYoung People on the Autism Spectrum and Other Neurodiverse Learners

Red Kite Drama Time is an adaptive theater program for young people on the autism spectrum and other neurodiverse learners. The primary pillar of our curriculum is social-emotional learning (SEL), utilizing sensory drama games to engage each student’s ability to work within a group and explore their emotional expressivity and understanding. Our classes engage in …

More information About Our In-School Residencies

CCT Residency Information Packet (2021-22)

Each year, Chicago Children’s Theatre provides a limited number of schools with tuition free residencies. If you would like to apply for the tuition free residencies or if you would like to learn more about our Residency Program, please fill out our inquiry form and the Education Department will be in touch shortly.

Education Residency Inquiry Form

Why Theatre Education?

Children exposed to theatre education show a heightened ability to imagine the lives of others, fostering a deeper sense of compassion and tolerance.

Children demonstrate a range of intrinsic impacts after participating in theatre, including personal relevance, social bridging, aesthetic growth, and motivation to action.

Children with performing arts experience show improved engagement and behavior in social environments.

Live theatre programming increases student success on standardized tests, improves writing skills, and leads to stronger command of narrative ideas.

Theatre enhances the ability of students to imagine attending a college and envision success.

From: “Envisioning the Future of Theater for Young Audiences,” a landmark study compiled by the NEA in partnership with TYA/USA and TCG detailing the academic, social, and emotional benefits of theatre for children.

Common Core Standards


LITERACY: As students encounter stories and characters, they explore, dissect and expand narratives imaginatively. Our programming reinforces literacy skills such as narrative analysis, plot structure, character development, dialogue, symbolism and engagement with diverse genres such as folktales, myths, fables, fairy tales, poetry, plays.


COMMUNICATION: As students work in peer groups to refine their opinions, approaches, and styles of storytelling, they develop civic communication skills. Our programming encourages students to communicate their perspectives and listen to others while working together to convey an idea to an audience. While honing their performance skills, students also develop their public speaking ability and confidence.

Illinois Learning Standards


WRITING: As students adapt existing narratives into original theater pieces, they strengthen writing skills such as sequencing, narrative retelling and summarizing, editing, and revising.


SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL: As students explore characters and physicalize personal and Imagined experiences, they build empathy and social emotional awareness. Theatre provides an opportunity for students to investigate their feelings and the feelings of characters that have different experiences than they do.


ARTISTIC: As students develop storytelling techniques as performers, directors and designers, they progress in their theater skills and aesthetic sense. Our programming equips students to pursue theater with concrete theater-making skills and acting training.

Learn more about Professional Development opportunities, our Education Policies & FAQs, and our current roster of Teaching Artists.

If you have questions about CCT’s education programming please contact our Director of Education & Community Programs, Dexter Ellis, at, or by calling (312) 374-8828.

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