Our Community: Student Matinee Fund

A founding principle of CCT is access to the arts for all, and a central piece to this mission is providing free and reduced price tickets to schools in need. CCT sets its student field trip tickets at a greatly reduced price, and through a sliding scale provides further discounts. With well-documented challenges, many CPS schools are unable to afford even the deeply reduced-price tickets. Responding to this need, CCT has a track record of providing free tickets to over 20% of its annual student field trip audience. This amounts to a total institutional cost of over $500,000 in subsidized tickets annually.

A recent report, “State of the Arts in Chicago Public Schools (CPS),” reveals less than 25% of CPS schools provide the Arts Education Plan’s recommended 120 minutes of weekly arts exposure, and the provision of arts services is drawn across socioeconomic lines with low-income students and youth with special needs receiving less access. CCT has scaled its charitable approach to reach underserved areas in all 77 neighborhoods.

The benefits of exposure to the arts at a young age is well-supported. The following findings are from “Envisioning the Future of Theater for Young Audiences,” a landmark study compiled by the NEA in partnership with TYA/USA and TCG, which details the academic, social, and emotional benefits of live theater for children:

  • Children exposed to live theater are much more able to imagine the lives of others, fostering a deeper sense of compassion and tolerance.
  • Children demonstrate a range of intrinsic impacts after seeing live theater performance, 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.

Students, families, and educators tell the story better than any report:



Only with the support of our community can we provide groundbreaking access. Together, we can do more. Each season we are only able to grant roughly 20% of free ticket requests we receive from schools. If you would like to give the gift of diverse and significant theatrical productions to our city’s children, consider making a tax deductible donation today.

Support Chicago Children’s Theatre by Making a Donation Now.

If you have questions about CCT’s student matinee fund, please contact our Director of Development, Matt Merrill, at mmerrill@chicagochildrenstheatre.org.

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