Community Children’s Theatre was founded in 1957 as a cooperative effort between the Peoria Park District & community volunteers dedicated to providing a healthy experience in dramatics for the children of the Peoria area. The program was created by PPD Superintendent of Recreation Neve Harms and Kenneth Camp as after school Theatre Education For Children and community plays. The first CCT formal board was formed in 1960 with volunteers from Junior League. It was incorporated in Illinois on February 25, 1981, as a “Not For Profit” corporation. The program is planned & developed by a volunteer advisory board, with administrative support provided by the Peoria Park District’s Fine Arts Coordinator Linda Elegant Huff. Since the first production, the program has grown & developed in response to the needs and desires for theatrical activities as expressed by educators, parents & the children themselves.
Presently, CCT’s programming includes two musical play productions each year with casts of 60 to 70 children and approximately 4,000 people in attendance & an Annual Drama Festival showcasing the talented children who participate in the Peoria Park District’s Theatre Education For Children (TEC) after-school drama program which is held in 15 local primary and middle schools. This “hands on” working board spends countless hours taking on all production duties including box office, lobby, concessions, costumes, publicity, fundraising, & theatre supervision. Each year CCT sponsors “Agency Day”; a special performance of their summer musical offering 360 complimentary tickets to special needs & underserved children through our community agencies. The Board underwrites the profits from this performance & the royalty fees as well as hosting the children at the theatre. CCT also offers one performance of each show they produce, which is interpreted for the hearing impaired. The Board members attend & evaluate all the play performances put on by the 500 students in the TEC program & assist in the production of the Annual Drama Festival which has an attendance of approximately 1,000 people.
Through the Board’s tireless efforts, CCT continues to strive to educate and enrich the lives of the children in our community and, in the process, bring fine entertainment to Peoria.