CTA is Celebrating Our LGBTQIA+ Community!

Children’s Theatre of Annapolis (CTA) believes that celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community is important for several reasons:

  1. Visibility and Representation: Celebrating LGBTQIA+ individuals and their contributions to society helps increase visibility and representation. When people see others like themselves being celebrated, it validates their identities and helps combat feelings of isolation and marginalization.
  2. Fostering Acceptance and Inclusion: Celebrations provide opportunities for education and understanding. They allow people to learn about different identities, experiences, and challenges faced by the LGBTQIA+ community, which can lead to greater acceptance and inclusion.
  3. Promoting Equality and Rights: Celebrations serve as a platform for advocating for LGBTQIA+ rights and equality. They raise awareness about issues such as discrimination, violence, and legal inequalities, fostering support for legislative and social change.
  4. Building Community and Support Networks: LGBTQIA+ celebrations create spaces where people can come together, find support, and build community. They provide opportunities for networking, forming friendships, and accessing resources and services tailored to LGBTQIA+ individuals’ needs.
  5. Celebrating Diversity: LGBTQIA+ celebrations highlight the diversity within the community, including different sexual orientations, gender identities, ethnicities, cultures, and backgrounds. Embracing this diversity fosters a sense of belonging and empowers individuals to express themselves authentically.
  6. Honoring History and Achievements: LGBTQIA+ celebrations often pay tribute to the history of the LGBTQIA+ rights movement and the achievements of LGBTQIA+ activists and pioneers. This helps preserve collective memory, acknowledges past struggles, and inspires future generations to continue fighting for equality.
  7. Promoting Mental Health and Well-being: For many LGBTQIA+ individuals, celebrations can be affirming and empowering experiences that boost self-esteem and mental well-being. They provide opportunities for self-expression, validation, and joy, counteracting the negative effects of discrimination and stigma.

Celebrating the LGBTQIA+ community is important for promoting visibility, acceptance, equality, community-building, diversity, historical awareness, and mental health. It sends a powerful message of affirmation and solidarity, helping to create a more inclusive and equitable society for all.

Click here for more information on CTA’s Celebrate YOU! Day.

Exploring the World of Theater for Children and Teenagers

“All the world’s a stage” might be an oft-referenced quotation coming from Shakespeare, but for some children and teenagers, it can feel like a reality. Their schedule is made up of performances, rehearsals, and auditions, and their social circle is made up of current and former castmates. For these budding young performers, theater provides an outlet for them to grow not only in their talents but also as human beings.

And there’s no shortage of local opportunities for them to gain experience, thanks to a thriving community of children’s performing arts organizations. Children’s Theatre of Annapolis, the Talent Machine Company, Stage & Screen Studios, Compass Rose Theater, and many others make it possible for these youth to experience what it’s like to be part of a professional-quality production from start to finish.

While the thrill of singing or acting onstage in front of a live audience is rewarding in and of itself, theater teaches valuable life skills. Performers learn the power of experimentation and imagination. They get comfortable with speaking publicly or thinking creatively. The rehearsal process demands that they manage their time and multitask. Through all of it, they gain confidence.

But more than all of that, there’s one skill that might be most important of all—empathy. “When you truly inhabit a character and think about how to present another person outside of yourself, it encourages thought processes that are less self-centered and myopic,” says Michelle Bruno, president of Children’s Theatre of Annapolis (CTA).

Sounds exciting, right? But there’s a lot of work that goes into the theater process. Like any extracurricular activity, being part of a show requires dedication, but it pays off with big rewards. “I’d say be prepared for the time commitment, homework, sacrifice, and hard work,” says Lea Capps, president of Talent Machine Company (TMC). “With that comes many opportunities for making friends, learning new skills, and having a great time.”

Much of the preparation might start before the youth are even involved. These companies must select material that fits their program, often choosing shows they think will be interesting, challenging, appropriate, educational, and a good fit for their talent pool. They also must hire artistic staff—usually a director, music director, and choreographer—who can engage the cast and help foster an environment that’s productive and educational.

The production process starts for the youth with an audition, and every company has a slightly different approach. Audition notices break down what’s expected, often a short sample of a prepared song, followed by the opportunity to dance and read lines from the script. Although auditions can feel stressful, they’re an opportunity for performers to show off what they’re capable of doing. “Remember that an audition does not need to be perfect,” says Pete Garvey, owner of Stage and Screen Studios (S&S). “Members of the directorial staff will be there to observe, provide advice, and encourage.”

Bruno emphasizes that although preparation is important, it’s just as necessary for auditioners to be themselves. “Understanding of the show, and a clear understanding of the character you are auditioning for, if you are auditioning for a specific role, is critical,” she says. “The director and artistic staff should see what you would bring to the show and your take on the character.”

From there, the fun and hard work begin in equal measure. Once the cast list is announced, rehearsals begin. “I know that most outsiders don’t realize the amount of rehearsal time it takes to put on a production,” Capps explains. “I’ve had people ask, ‘Can’t you just do a couple of numbers real quick?’ A ‘couple of numbers’ takes several hours of rehearsals.”

Garvey also sees many people who are surprised by what goes into a rehearsal. It requires actors to connect with the material as they learn it. “Someone new to the theater might be surprised by the intensity and duration of rehearsals where we thoroughly explore various choices, emotions, and interaction of characters throughout each scene,” he says. “It’s not just singing, dancing, and saying lines.”

Though the kids will be the ones who ultimately end up onstage, the rehearsal process is often a collaborative one that involves the whole family. Garvey explains, “We highly encourage parents to actively support their child’s involvement in the theatrical journey. Whether their student is a newcomer or a seasoned performer, parents play a crucial role in the process. This includes assisting with learning lines, engaging in conversations about each rehearsal’s process, and providing encouragement as their child tackles new character development challenges.”

Parents also fulfill a vital need as volunteers who help build sets, create costumes, collect props, publicize the show, and work on the tech elements like lights and sound. “I love to have the parents participate,” says Capps. “As with any community theater, we need many volunteers to make our shows go. Many of them are parents.  Some come in early on in the process and help with rehearsal monitoring or costuming or props, and others come in later for set building, set decoration, and tech.”

Many students get theater experience through schools, either by taking music and acting classes or by participating in the school musical or school play. But these youth-centered community theaters offer a unique experience to connect with fellow thespians from other schools in an environment that’s focused on their area of interest.

“I think it’s creating more opportunity and diverse experiences when you work with a community theater,” Bruno explains. “This allows children to work with other children that they normally would not interact with. This is especially expansive for home-schooled children. It allows children to gain more experience and development opportunities as well.”

Community theater participation also takes the experience up a step. “School drama programs offer invaluable benefits to students, while organizations or companies dedicated to the theatrical process possess more concentrated resources, often closely resembling professional theaters,” explains Garvey. “Given the uniqueness of each student’s journey, some may prefer participating in a school drama environment within their familiar peer group.

Meanwhile, others may opt for increased diversity, seeking to establish new friend groups and acquire more professionally oriented theatrical skills and experience in an established theater company. In either scenario, students derive significant benefits on multiple levels while engaging in performing arts.”

Some parents might find themselves asking, “Is theater the right pursuit for my child?” For younger, less experienced children, it never hurts to enroll in a workshop, class, or summer camp—such as those offered by any of these three organizations—just to get a sense of how much they enjoy the challenge before they audition for a mainstage production.

And if they do decide to get involved? Get ready for something special. “The process is challenging,” Bruno says, “but the ability to take a thought, a vision, and then come together as a theater family and create something so beautiful is the true magic.”

Theater Programs in Central Maryland

Children’s Theatre of Annapolis (CTA)


CTA provides a wide range of theater arts education. These programs give each participant the opportunity to learn the basics of theater, expand their imagination, develop voice, dance and performance techniques, and much more. All training, workshops and camps are aimed to specific age and skill groups. Shows throughout the year.

Compass Rose Theater


Compass Rose Theater offers summer camps, workshops and theater classes at The Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts. Classes are taught by accredited teachers with a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in theater, have teaching experience, and work in the professional theater world. Multiple shows per season. The Young Actor’s Studio at Compass Rose is for students who want to pursue theater skills and possibly go pro.

Stage & Screen Studios


Stage & Screen Studios offers a safe, creative environment for students to learn and explore all aspects of theater and television performance and production. Lessons cover introductory acting through advanced performance for students at any age and any level! Multiple shows throughout the year.

The Talent Machine Company


The company was founded with the purpose of giving young people the chance both to spread their theatrical wings and learn the value of dedication, commitment and teamwork. The Talent Machine produces three full-length, professional-quality musicals each year, and is committed to bringing the joy of musical theater to audiences everywhere, fr

By Dylan Roche

February 2024 President’s Letter

February 2024 President’s Letter

As we get through the winter season together, what can warm your heart and soul like the Children’s Theatre of Annapolis! First, I want to congratulate our lovely cast and crew of A Midsummer’s Night Dream! A beautiful, magical experience, audiences loved it. Congratulations, team, on a job well job.

Sixty-five years means it’s our Blue Sapphire anniversary! Celebrate with us on March 2nd, 2024, at the Graduate Hotel in downtown Annapolis. This event will be a key fundraiser for CTA.  As a mainstay in the Annapolis community, CTA supports arts education, providing production and education opportunities for children ages 5-18. This is a critical year for CTA, as we will break ground for our facility expansion, allowing CTA to increase capacity, extending our outreach. CTA is also a key member of the Annapolis and larger Maryland community. 

This highly anticipated event will feature CTA alumni performances, messages and appearances from local government dignitaries, an auction with amazing items, dancing, and more!!

Order your tickets now here! We currently have a flash sale ongoing. Use code 50percentoffjewel

Facility Update: Our seat sale is still ongoing! Own a part of CTA with a seat naming opportunity! Pick your favorite seat and/or row and get your name on our new theatre seats. Questions? Want to buy your seat now? Contact our executive director, April Forrer, at aprilforrer@childrenstheatreofannapolisBuy quickly! Installation to happen Spring/Summer of 2024!! https://childrens-theatre-of-annapolis.square.site/

We love our surrounding and local community! We have over 6,000 people come through our doors annually. With the annex buildout, this number will only increase! Sponsorship with CTA is a great idea for any local business or business that is child-focused. See the link below for sponsorship opportunities. https://www.childrenstheatreofannapolis.org/get-involved/

Stay up to date with everything CTA by following these links: 

News and Events: https://www.childrenstheatreofannapolis.org/shows-and-events/

Further Programming and Education: https://www.childrenstheatreofannapolis.org/education/

Click to Donate

2023-2024 Season

A Season of Magical Mayhem!

The Little Mermaid, October 20th to November 5th, 2023

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, February 2nd to the 18th, 2024

The Descendants, May 3rd to the 19th, 2024

From our Family to yours,

Michelle Bruno, President, Children’s Theatre of Annapolis https://www.childrenstheatreofannapolis.org/

Congratulations to the Cast of The Descendants!

Addi Bartels, Audrey

Nilsson Benil, Royal Guard

Leila Bennett, Grimhilde

Chloe Bennett, Ensemble

Adalynn Corn, Ensemble

Madison Creese, Cruella

Jackson Cuniff , King Beast

Gabriella Dillenback, Snow White

Ashley Earp Fairy, Godmother

Imani Gikuuri, Ensemble

Israel Gilbert, Carlos

Briella Hogue, Ensemble

Austin Johnson, Jafar

John L. Lyons, Doug

Josie Mays, Evie

Caeden McConnon, Ben

Brayden McDowell, Chad

Piper Pipkin, Ensemble

Tabitha Popernack, Ensemble

Lauren Queen, Queen Belle

Asher Schropp, Coach

Luke Severson, Jay

Grayce Wanner, Mal

Madigan Ward, Jane

Harper Wright, Ensemble

Teagan Yokanovich, Maleficent

4 Reasons All Actors Should Work Behind The Scenes

Spending time as part of the crew is a great way to pick up new, practical skills that will help you in your career. Whether you’re gaining experience in sewing costumes, building sets, fixing wigs, or actually running the show from the desk, you are building your portfolio of skills. It’s worth remembering also that many summer stocks or small theatre companies will hire an actor with backstage or technical experience as they will be more useful than those without. Here are four good reasons to work backstage while you’re studying your craft.

LINK: https://blog.stageagent.com/actors-get-backstage/

CTA Presents Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Annapolis, MD – Children’s Theatre of Annapolis (CTA), a beacon of creativity and education, is thrilled to announce a magical and whimsical production of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, performed entirely by a talented cast of children aged 12 to 18. This enchanting event is set to captivate audiences of all ages with its imaginative portrayal of one of Shakespeare’s most beloved comedies.

Date: February 2 – 18, 2024

Time:  7 p.m. Fridays, 11 a.m.  &  4 p.m. Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sundays. ASL and sensoryfriendly performance on Saturday, February 10, 2024 at 11:00am.

Location: Children’s Theatre of Annapolis, 1661 Bay Head Road, Annapolis, MD 21409

In this unique adaptation, the timeless tale of love, mischief, and transformation comes to life through the eyes and voices of our young performers. The production showcases the boundless creativity and enthusiasm of children, offering a fresh and delightful perspective on Shakespeare’s classic work.

Audiences can expect a night filled with laughter, wonder, and a touch of magic as the young actors bring to life the iconic characters of Puck, Oberon, Titania, Hermia, Lysander, and more. The imaginative direction and vibrant costumes will transport the audience into the enchanting realm of the fairy-filled forest, where love takes unexpected turns and dreams come to life.

“We are immensely proud of the dedication and talent displayed by our young performers,” said Ally Tierney, the visionary director behind this captivating production. “A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a celebration of the magic that unfolds when children embrace the world of Shakespeare and storytelling. It’s a testament to their creativity, teamwork, and the transformative power of the arts.”

This family-friendly production is not only an entertaining experience but also an opportunity to support and celebrate the performing arts within our community.

Don’t miss the chance to witness the magic unfold on stage as the young stars of Children’s Theatre of Annapolis present A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

For more information, please visit www.childrenstheatreofannapolis.org or contact April Forrer at aprilforrer@childrenstheatreofannapolis.org. CTA welcomes all inquiries about interviews with the director and cast.

9 Benefits of Introducing Children to William Shakespeare

Introducing children to the works of William Shakespeare can offer several educational and developmental benefits. While the language may seem odd and challenging at first, there are compelling reasons why Shakespeare is considered good for kids:

  • 1. Cultural and Literary Heritage:
      • Exposure to Shakespeare introduces children to a significant part of literary and cultural heritage. His works are considered timeless classics, and understanding them can provide a solid foundation for appreciating literature.
  • 2. Language Skills:
      • Shakespeare’s language is rich and complex. Reading his works can help improve vocabulary, comprehension, and language skills. Although the language may be challenging, it encourages students to develop critical thinking and analytical skills.
  • 3. Complex Characters and Themes:
      • Shakespeare’s plays often explore complex characters and universal themes such as love, jealousy, friendship, and the consequences of actions. Exploring these themes can help children develop empathy, emotional intelligence, and a deeper understanding of human nature.
  • 4. Creativity and Imagination:
      • The vivid imagery and poetic language in Shakespeare’s works stimulate creativity and imagination. Children can benefit from the opportunity to engage with stories that require them to use their imagination and think critically about the characters and plot.
  • 5. Diverse Range of Genres:
      • Shakespeare wrote tragedies, comedies, and histories. This variety allows students to explore different genres and gain exposure to various literary forms, broadening their understanding of storytelling.
  • 6. Performance and Public Speaking:
      • Many of Shakespeare’s plays were intended for performance. Studying and performing scenes or plays can help children develop confidence in public speaking and acting. It encourages teamwork, cooperation, and a sense of accomplishment.
  • 7. Cognitive Development:
      • Wrestling with the complex language and intricate plots of Shakespeare’s works can enhance cognitive development. It challenges children to think critically, make connections, and analyze situations from different perspectives.
  • 8. Relevance to Modern Themes:
      • Despite being written centuries ago, Shakespeare’s themes and characters remain relevant today. Many of the issues explored in his works, such as power, love, and justice, are still pertinent, allowing for meaningful discussions about timeless human experiences.
  • 9. Preparation for Future Study:
    • Exposure to Shakespeare lays a foundation for future studies. As students progress in their education, they will encounter references to or adaptations of Shakespearean works in literature, theater, and other arts.

While Shakespeare’s works may initially seem challenging, adapting them to suit the age and comprehension level of children, through abridged versions or interactive activities, can make them more accessible and enjoyable. And CTA is doing that with their production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Ultimately, introducing children to Shakespeare can foster a lifelong appreciation for literature and the arts.

December 2023 President’s Letter

December 2023 President’s Letter

It’s the holiday season! We closed out the fall with the inaugural Halloween Extravaganza and a beautiful, well-received Little Mermaid, then started the holiday season with the inaugural DFC’s Holiday Cabaret – even Santa could not stay away from CTA! 

We are so excited to present our A Midsummer Night’s Dream, opening February 2nd. Be prepared to be transported and immersed in magic and whimsy! This production is not to be missed. 

Sixty-five years means it’s our Blue Sapphire anniversary. Celebrate with us on March 2nd, 2024, at the fantastic hotel, The Graduate. This is going to be an amazing event with food, drink, and entertainment. Keep your eyes and ears open for your invitation and information about this exciting event.

Our seat sale is still ongoing! Own a part of CTA with a seat naming opportunity. Pick your favorite seat and/or row and get your name on our new theatre seats. Questions? Want to buy your seat now? Contact our executive director, April Forrer, at aprilforrer@childrenstheatreofannapolis.orgBuy quickly! Installation to happen spring/summer of 2024!!


We love our surrounding and local community. We have more than 6,000 people come through our doors annually. With the annex build-out, this number will only increase! Sponsorship with CTA is a great idea for any local business or business that is child-focused. See the link below for sponsorship opportunities. 


Stay up to date with everything CTA by following these links: 

News and Events: https://www.childrenstheatreofannapolis.org/shows-and-events/

Further Programming and Education: https://www.childrenstheatreofannapolis.org/education/

Finally, the holiday season is when we reflect on our loved ones, the cherished moments, and our higher callings. I cannot be more appreciative and honored to have your support – your support that brings joy to so many.  Thank YOU. 

Our family here at CTA wishes you and yours a wonderful, safe, healthy, and joyous holiday season and new year.

Click to Donate

2023-2024 Season

A Season of Magical Mayhem!

The Little Mermaid, October 20th to November 5th, 2023

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, February 2nd to the 18th, 2024

The Descendants, May 3rd to the 19th, 2024

From our family to yours,

Michelle Bruno, President, Children’s Theatre of Annapolis https://www.childrenstheatreofannapolis.org/