We create exceptional theatre experiences, inspiring generations to explore the wonder of their world.
History of Children's Theatre of Charlotte
From our humble beginning in 1948, Children's Theatre of Charlotte has grown to become one of the most respected arts and education organizations in the country.
Here's a look back at some milestones for the Theatre over the years.
The Junior League of Charlotte establishes Children’s Theatre of Charlotte as volunteer-run children’s programming in the wake of World War II.
The Garden Circus premieres, the first show produced in-house by the newly incorporated “The Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, Inc.”
The Theatre opens its first permanent home at 1017 Morehead Street, converting a former Veterans of Foreign Wars office.
Local troupe the Tarradiddle Players begin bringing live theatre to audiences across the region.
Education programs expand, establishing school year classes, summer camps, and our community involvement program.
Children’s Theatre of Charlotte establishes the Tarradiddle Players as its resident touring company.
The Theatre’s volunteer legacy group formed in 1948 officially adopts the name ENCORE!
The Theatre forms a creative partnership with Charlotte Mecklenburg Library to create a children’s learning center as both organizations expand.
Voters approve a bond referendum to help fund the children’s space in uptown Charlotte. The county breaks ground for the new building in early 2003.
OnStage launches, providing a professional theatre experience for students enrolled in School of Theatre Training.
ImaginOn opens and The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe debuts in the McColl Family Theatre, followed by The Velveteen Rabbit in the Wells Fargo Playhouse.
The Arts & Science Council of Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Inc. presents the Theatre with the McColl Award, honoring the creative process while preserving the legacy of Hugh and Jane McColl.
The Theatre is recognized for 40 years of enriching the lives of young people through live theatre with the Thomas DeGaetani Award presented by the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT).
Inspired by work on Spelling 2-5-5, the Theatre begins offering Sensory-Friendly Performances for each Mainstage play.
Last Stop on Market Street debuts as the first newly commissioned work in the Theatre’s ongoing initiative The Kindness Project.
China National Children’s Theatre invites students from our education program to perform at the eighth China Children’s Theatre Festival.
Children’s Theatre teams up with Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte for a first-of-its-kind joint commission. The Second Story Project centers the story of one night’s events told from two points of view, adult and children.
The Theatre responds to the COVID-19 pandemic with online education programming and streamed performances, continuing to engage families with quality programming.
Where We Were, Where We Are
A former VFW Club owned by the City, dedicated volunteers transformed this facility’s dance floor, bar, and other areas into a working theatre by adding a stage, light booth and elevated seats in the auditorium. They also created a scene shop, costume shop, make-up and dressing rooms, prop room, offices and classrooms. These areas were again renovated and expanded in the mid-80’s to meet the needs of the growing organization.
ImaginOn: The Joe and Joan Martin Center is children’s learning center, a collaboration between Children’s Theatre of Charlotte and Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. ImaginOn houses the Spangler Children’s Library, Teen Loft, and Tech Central for Charlotte Mecklenburg Library system and features Children’s Theatre of Charlotte’s office space, two state-of-the-art venues, a costume shop, a scene shop, educational classrooms, and rehearsal space.
McColl Family Theatre
This space includes a 20-player orchestra pit and a rear projection booth, providing the Theatre’s first stage built and dedicated solely to professional productions. At capacity, the McColl can accommodate 563 audience members, and has featured the magic of Mary Poppins flying above the audience and Jon Stewart hosting the Daily Show for the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
Wells Fargo Playhouse
Originally the Wachovia Playhouse, the 248-capacity venue offers a more intimate experience, featuring colorful stadium seating and a convertible thrust stage that brings the performance directly to the audience. The Wells Fargo presents the same state-of-the-art equipment and professional talent to student productions, presenting productions, and theatre for the youngest of audiences.