“We the grown-ups have to power through these hard times and make the work that will ultimately empower and activate all of these young people to become their best, most resilient selves.” – Jacqui Russell, CCT artistic director as quoted in the NEA landmark study, ‘Envisioning the Future of Theatre for Young Audiences’
Since 2005, CCT has served more than half-a-million families with productions of the highest caliber with an emphasis on access and inclusion. From award-winning actors and directors to internationally recognized authors and composers, Chicago’s brightest talents in theatre collaborate to bring these works to the stage. The company takes artistic risks by introducing new pieces to the national canon of TYA, diversifying the cultural landscape in unique and important ways.
Productions and artists on stage reflect the rich tapestry of Chicago communities and address societal challenges significant to the city’s 77 neighborhoods and the children that call them home. The subject matter addresses issues such as bullying, race and culture relations, immigration, human rights, violence and trauma, and conservation and climate change. We believe, and statistics support, that exposure to high quality arts experiences increases a child’s capacity for empathy, sparks meaningful conversations, and ultimately cultivates a more inclusive society. Each season, Chicago Children’s Theatre underwrites over 10,000 reduced price and free tickets to under-resourced schools.
CCT is an Equity House, believing artists should make a livable wage when sharing their art with the world. In addition to the company’s permanent staff, we employ over 300 actors, designers, technicians, directors, and teaching artists annually.
We remain steadfast in our commitment to youth with special needs. Groundbreaking productions and programs dispel myths about neurodiverse individuals and their ability to fully participate in — and benefit from — the arts. Productions feature ACCESS performances with open captioning, ASL interpreters, sensory-friendly performances, and touch tours for children who are blind or low-vision. CCT serves children on the autism spectrum and their families through The Red Kite Project, an important branch of CCT’s programming and opus of Artistic Director Jacqui Russell.
In recognition of our innovative approach, CCT has garnered several honors and awards. We were the first children’s theatre company to win an American Theatre Wing (The Tonys) National Theatre Company Award, honoring CCT as a burgeoning innovator, shaping its local community through performing arts.