Elmhurst Children’s Theatre (ECT) is a 501(c)(3) not for profit, children’s theatre. Dedicated to serving the children of Elmhurst, ECT provides a unique experience in all aspects of live theatre by promoting a supportive and positive learning environment.
PRODUCTIONS & SKETCH COMEDY
ECT stages two main stage productions, a summer show and the Unintentionally Hilarious Sketch Comedy Troupe each year, hiring professional directors and relying on parent volunteers to manage productions and rehearsals and create costumes and sets. Typically, children in 5th through 8th grade who live in Elmhurst or attend District 205 or parochial schools in Elmhurst may audition for ECT productions.
CLASSES & CAMPS
ECT also offers classes and camps. Because professional instructors customize programming for each class or camp, the age of children each program is offered to varies. Typically, classes are offered to children in 3rd to 5th grade and camps are offered to children in 3rd to 8th grade.
ECT has its roots at Elmhurst College. From 1937 until the outbreak of World War II, four successive directors presented plays for children in Irion Hall. In 1948, Dr. C.C. Arends, director of both Elmhurst College Theater and Elmhurst Community Theatre productions, offered sponsorship of a community children's theatre. This group was to become Elmhurst Children's Theatre.
Flyers were sent home with students in Elmhurst's then six public and two parochial schools. On the evening of April 1,1948, 200 interested parents arrived at Elmhurst College's Irion Hall to hear Winifred Ward, Northwestern University drama professor and founder of Evanston Children's Theatre. She described the goals and organization of a modern American theatre for children, which would be sponsored by local PTAs. She spoke of how a child's imagination is expanded through the unique experience of live theatre. In 1925 Ward had modeled Evanston Children's theater after the Moscow Theatre for Children, which she had previously visited.
The crowd was inspired and formed a committee to organize this new group. Elmhurst PTA Council voted to lend its support. At the recommendation of Arends and Ward, nationally known children's playwright and director Rosemary Musil was hired as Elmhurst Children's Theatre's first director. On November 6, 1948, ECT presented it's first season production, Musil's "Hurricane Island," at York High School. Over the next 26 years, Musil directed and wrote plays for ECT. According to accounts in the Elmhurst Press, the public was delighted with the professionalism of the performances.
Today ECT proudly continues the tradition of its founders, bringing the Elmhurst community together to enjoy high-quality productions and enrich the lives of children through the performing arts.
Once sponsored by Elmhurst's PTA Council, ECT now is an entirely self-supporting, 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, sustained through participation fees, class tuition and ticket sales.
Elmhurst Children’s Theatre’s 501(c)(3) not-for-profit status provides tax deductible donation opportunities to our community. Your generous donation funds scholarship, outreach and experience to children of Elmhurst, providing opportunity for growth through the experience of live theatre. Thank you for your support.