• Now Playing!

    Now Playing!

    A Year with Frog and Toad returns to CTC! In this Tony-nominated musical, Arnold Lobel’s classic characters greet each season while weathering the highs-and-lows of friendship. CTC favorites Reed Sigmund and Bradley Greenwald reprise their roles in this exuberant musical.
    Read More
  • New Season!

    New Season!

    Four musicals. Two world premieres. Local and international partnerships. This season reflects the promise Peter Brosius made to you twenty years ago. That promise was to use the stage as a medium to create work that expands your imagination. Learn more about this unprecedented season that will delight you and the ones you love.
    Read More
  • Go Off Book

    Go Off Book

    Check out Off Book, CTC's brand-new online journal! Ideas for building creativity in your family. Best practices for creating theatre that challenges and inspires young people. Brought to you by the nation’s leading family theatre.
    Read More
  • Field Trips!

    Field Trips!

    Children’s Theatre Company offers Weekday Student Matinee performances for your classroom, homeschool, or community educational group. Attending a CTC performance ignites students’ creativity, while supporting your curriculum and learning goals.
    Read More
  • Academic Year Classes On Sale

    Academic Year Classes On Sale

    Take classes in acting, dance, voice, and more with Theatre Arts Training. Register now for Winter and Spring Classes as well as January Release Day and Spring Break Camps.
    Read More
  • Give Today

    Give Today

    We are ALLtogether grateful for the generosity of our community members, which helps us create and share award-winning theatre for young audiences. The work on our stages, in our classrooms, and in our community is made possible because of donors like you. Consider a gift today.
    Read More
  • Summer Camps

    Summer Camps

    Join Theatre Arts Training for Summer Camps June 12 – August 18. Offerings for Ages 4-18 range from beginning exploration through advanced training in acting, musical theatre, improv, and more. Extended care and scholarships are available.
    Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • All
  • Ages8+
  • Everyone
  • Preschool+
  • Four musicals, two world premieres plus international and local partnerships.
    Read More
  • April 18 – June 18, 2017. This unforgettable and tuneful musical is back on
    Read More
    • Everyone
  • Sep. 12-Oct. 15, 2017. Rink rats, hockey moms, tournament weekends and the quest
    Read More
    • Ages8+
  • Nov. 7, 2017-Jan. 7, 2018. Whoville is experiencing a seemingly unstoppable crime wave—and
    Read More
    • Everyone
  • Oct. 3-Nov. 12, 2017. Imagine a single balloon changing one person’s life forever.
    Read More
    • Preschool+
  • Jan. 23-Mar. 18, 2018. Ease on down the road with Dorothy and her
    Read More
    • Everyone
load more / hold SHIFT key to load all load all

Newsfeed

  • Behind the Scenes Spotlight: Rick McAllister, Run Crew +

    Theatre audiences see scene changes occur, trap doors open and close, and Read More
  • Barry Kornhauser & CTC +

    Part two of our interview with playwright, Barry Kornhauser, continues as we Read More
  • Mentor Month Spotlight: Savannah +

    It’s National Mentoring Month. According to Mentoring.com, young people who have a Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18
  • 19
  • 20
  • 21
  • 22
  • 23
  • 24

Home | Children's Theatre Company

Photo featuring Traci Allen Shannon by Dan Norman.

A Partnership with North Academy of Arts & Communications Theatre Program

Clare Dickey, Theatre Program Director at North Academy of Arts and Communications, brought her students to a technical rehearsal of Akeelah and the Bee, where they were given backstage access and presentations from CTC Technical Director Adriane Helfin, CTC Production Manager Ellen Baker, Akeelah and the Bee Director Charles Randolph-Wright, and more. In this essay, Clare describes her history with CTC and the performing arts as well as her hopes for the new arts focus of North Academy of Arts and Communications, formerly North High.


“By late August, the first week of school was in full swing and on the first Friday of the school year, seventeen students from North stepped into the wild world of tech week at CTC.”

The Art of Belonging

An essay by Clare Dickey

In the dark shadowy seats of first balcony, high above the UnitedHealth Group Stage, I used to rest my arms on the bar that separated my seat from the air. I would peer down at Dean Holt, Reed Sigmund, Gerald Drake, and Autumn Ness, mesmerized by their chameleon-like ability to blend into new worlds, new ages, and new people; to tell stories with the kind of fervor that made me think, made me hungry for more. I began to create my own art, to tell my own stories and I haven’t stopped since. As the new Theatre Program Director at North Academy of Arts and Communications in Minneapolis, I proudly take on the responsibility of telling a new story, one that I believe is vital to the success of Minneapolis as a booming cultural hub.

Throughout the end of the 20th Century, North High was known for its strong partnership with Jazz 88 KBEM radio station, a high performing dance company, a strong athletic program and student-run theatre productions that elementary and middle school students came to see for field trips. North’s heyday lasted for some time until Minneapolis Public Schools shut down North’s feeder schools, Franklin Middle School in 2007, and Lincoln Elementary in 2008, diverting families from North. In the aftermath, North received a great deal of criticism from the public. Many Minnesotans unjustly faulted the community and the teachers for the downfall of what was once a great school. Despite the board’s intention to “phase out” North High in 2010, the local community fought to keep the school open. Today, North stands strong, newly established as North Academy of Arts and Communications. In addition to partnering with the Institute for Academic Achievement, for the first time in many years North now offers courses in the fine arts including dance, studio art, performance theatre, radio, film, and music. North’s new Fine Arts Department seeks to inspire students, to catalyze self-discovery and to promote the development of a voice that demands to be heard, whether it be in writing, on stage, in a painting or on the radio.

I grew up in “the 612,” riding my bike along the parkways, going to coffee shops, museums, art shows and plays. Not only did I feel my voice was heard, but art was everywhere and my own experiences as a young, white, American female were reflected in that art. I came to believe that art belonged to everyone and therefore everyone had access to it. While I thought this belief was justified, I did not know it was naive, and came from privilege. My parents and the schools I attended provided me with the means to experience art as a part of life, not as an extra endeavor that took time and money. As an adult, I realized art may indeed belong to everyone, but not everyone is given such ease of access. At North, a large part of my job is to ensure all students not only have access to theatre but experience the same sense of belonging that I felt as a child peering over the stage from first balcony.

In July of 2015, CTC’s former Arts Administrative Fellow Tevin Giddens and I started to plan for the implementation of a new partnership between North and CTC. I would begin by incorporating this season’s premiere of “Akeelah and the Bee” into my teaching curriculum and Tevin would begin by setting dates and preparing for visits. We hoped that by actively engaging students in the production process of “Akeelah,” students would not only gain further appreciation of the art form but would reconcile their understanding of who theatre belongs to.

By late August, the first week of school was in full swing and on the first Friday of the school year, seventeen students from North stepped into the wild world of tech week at CTC. I watched eyes open wide and necks tilt backward as students looked up at the hundreds of ropes and pulleys holding thousands of pounds in weight hanging over the stage. I listened to them listening, teenage mouths unmoving, as Adriane Heflin, CTC’s Technical Director, explained how she had to use physics, bicycle mechanics, and her experience as a ballet dancer to make the bookshelves on set turn seamlessly on stage. I saw them smile at the Beyoncé poster the props artisans had recently made for Akeelah’s room. I heard a student asking the Costume Director, Deborah Shippee, question after question about sewing and design and pattern. I felt a shared sense of joy and belonging when award-winning Broadway director, Charles Randolph-Wright, came over in the middle of rehearsal to tell my students that the most important lesson “Akeelah” teaches us is to never doubt ourselves and our right to reach our greatest potential. These moments are only a few of many that continue to fortify my confidence in rebuilding North’s theatre program and confirm my belief that partnering with CTC will be invaluable to the overall growth of both organizations.

The first week of school has come and gone now, and the Fine Arts department has accomplished much. We produced the first formal Homecoming coronation to take place at North since the late 1990s. We got the old clay kiln working. We had students give their first company dance performance. We began teaching a college-level film course and we are planning a Winter showcase for December. Despite a nearly $0 budget, outdated technology onstage and off, limited classroom materials, and large workloads, the arts program is making great progress. On Thursday October 8, all the students in my theatre classes attended “Akeelah and the Bee.” Although they will not get to chat with Charles Randolph-Wright this time, his message to us will be echoed by a quote from Marianne Williamson that Akeelah recites in the play: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?” Some of my students will hear this and it will inspire them. Others will not hear it because they will have closed their eyes or let their minds wander. Regardless, all will be closer to that sense of belonging everyone deserves to experience, sitting in the dark, shadowy seats of first balcony, watching a show.

Make a donation to Children's Theatre Company

Give Online Today

Plays in Development

Plays in Development

Expanding the World of Children's Theatre

Read More

Plays in Development

Expanding the World of Children's Theatre
Espanol

CTC en Español

¡Bienvenidos!

Read More

Español

¡Bienvenidos!
Auditions

Auditions

Join the Show!

Read More

Auditions

Join the Show!
ACT One

ACT One

Access, Connect, Transform

Read More

Privacy Policy

Thank you for reviewing the privacy policy and disclaimer.

Children’s Theatre Company (“CTC”) is committed to providing a safe online experience. We collect no personally identifying information, unless you choose to provide us with that information. This statement of Privacy applies to the CTC website and governs data collection and usage. By using the CTC website, you consent to the data practices described in this statement.

COLLECTION OF PERSON INFORMATION
If you visit our site to browse, read, watch videos or download, we automatically collect and store only the following information about you:
  • The IP address from which you access our Web site (an IP address serves two principal functions: host or network interface identification and location addressing.)
  • The type of browser and operating system used to access our site
  • The date and time you access our site
  • The pages you visit
  • and The Internet address of the Web site from which you accessed our site

This information is used to improve the functionality of the website—to learn about the number of visitors to our site and the types of technology our visitors use. We do not track or record information about individuals and their visits. We may compile and report aggregate statistics about our users — numbers, traffic patterns, and related site information — but these statistics will include no personally identifying information. CTC is not responsible for privacy statements or other content on websites outside of CTC, including those linked from CTC’s website.

USE OF PERSONAL INFORMATION

If you identify yourself by submitting mailing list, donor or ticket request forms contained in the site, we use that information only to respond to your message and to help us provide you with the material you have requested or to send you a written acknowledgment of your donation as required by law, or to verify and/or mail purchases and/or to process your ticket order.

You have the option to contact us by phone or by email (web@childrenstheatre.org) to request that we remove your name from our mailing and/or calling and/or trade list. If you opt to be taken off our mailing list, you will receive no mail from us, including publications or special notices. If you opt to be removed from our calling list, you will receive no calls from us except when a performance is canceled. We will not sell, trade or share a donor’s personal information with anyone else, nor send donor mailings on behalf of other organizations. If you are not a donor and you opt to be removed from our trade list, we will not provide your name to other arts organizations that might be making special offers or anyone else.

USE OF COOKIES

CTC’s website uses "cookies" to help you personalize your online experience. A cookie is a text file that is placed on your hard disk by a web page server. Cookies cannot be used to run programs or deliver viruses to your computer. Cookies are uniquely assigned to you, and can only be read by a web server in the domain that issued the cookie to you.

The purpose of a cookie is to tell the web server that you have returned to a specific page. We and our advertising partners, including advertising networks, use information gathered through cookies and other similar technologies, as well as other information we or they may have, to help tailor the ads you see on our sites and to help make decisions about the ads you see on other sites. To opt-out of targeted adversity from many ad networks visit: http://www.networkadvertising.org/choices

You have the ability to accept or decline cookies. Most web browsers automatically accept cookies. Please be aware that some web pages may not work correctly if cookies are disabled. More information is available here: http://www.aboutcookies.org.

CREDIT CARD SUBMISSION

All credit card transactions including ticket purchases and donations is processed on a secure server. Credit card information is protected by encryption technology, such as the Secure Socket Layer (SSL) protocol. This helps to assure information is protected from unauthorized access.

CHANGES TO STATEMENT

CTC may occasionally update our Statement of Privacy to reflect customer feedback or changing technologies. CTC encourages you to review this statement periodically.

CONTACT

CTC welcomes comments and questions about or Statement of Privacy. If you believe CTC has not adheared to this statement, please contact us at web@childrenstheatre.org.

DISCLAIMER

Under no circumstances shall CTC, its employees or contractors be liable for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, punitive or consequential damages that may result in any way from your use or inability to use the information provided on this or any other web site supported or maintained by CTC or from your reliance on or use of information, services or merchandise provided on or through the web site or that result from mistakes, errors, omissions, interruptions, defects, deletion of files, delays in operation or transmission or any failure of performance. If you are dissatisfied with the information provided on this web site, or with any of the practices of the CTC in the operation of this web site, your sole and exclusive remedy is to discontinue using the web site.