Annapolis theatre honors late founding member Bill Smith and encourages continued support from members
Founded in 1959, Children’s Theatre of Annapolis (CTA) is proud to be the longest-running youth theatre program in Anne Arundel County. However, few of the people who attend or participate in productions and education programs at its Bay Head Park theatre complex remember that, for 49 years, CTA was an acclaimed performing arts program without a home to call its own.
From the very first production of “Hansel and Gretel” in 1959 to “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” during CTA’s 25th anniversary season in 1984 to “Annie, Jr.,” the final show produced without an official venue, CTA operated out of schools, basements and Anne Arundel Community Colleges’ Pascal Center for Performing Arts.
That all changed in 2008, when the team at CTA was thrilled to produce its first mainstage show, “Peter Pan,” in its very own theatre. While it took a great many people to turn the dream of a theatre into reality, perhaps no one was more influential than William (Bill) Smith (pictured above during the construction of CTA's facility) an architect and long-time member of the CTA family, and his wife Kathy, who first saw an ad featuring the abandoned federal Nike Missile Site for rent on Bay Head Road. Using his professional experience, Smith designed CTA’s theatre and played an integral role in seeing it built.
Smith passed away in 2013 after a battle with cancer, and in his eulogy, past CTA president Cathy Hollerbach noted, “Bill was not just a dreamer, he was a doer.” Later that year, the CTA Board of Directors honored Smith, who was vice president and treasurer at the time of his death, with the perpetual title of Founding Vice President, Buildings and Grounds (In Memoriam).
On Thursday, September 27, 2018, CTA will celebrate the anniversary of the theatre’s dedication a decade ago with a by-invitation-only event that will include the family of the late Bill Smith, as well as members of the Board of Directors and staff over the past 10 years, and donors and supporters who were an instrumental part of the building process. The event will include a dedication of a memorial garden in his honor.
From November 2-18, 2018, CTA will mount an anniversary production of the musical “Peter Pan,” complete with “flying” cast members. Tickets are on sale now at cta.ticketleap.com, and more information can be found at www.childrenstheatreofannapolis.org or by calling the Box Office at 410-757-2281.
The Journey Isn’t Over
CTA’s theatre complex couldn’t have been built without the generous support of its donors, and it won’t last without their support, either. Over the years, CTA’s staff and volunteers have made continuous repairs and improvements to the theatre complex, including a 2017 renovation of the dressing and makeup rooms in honor of alumna Jessica Wintermute Gold.
Despite constant maintenance and care, the buildings have shown their wear, including roof leaks and system failures. As part of its 10-year celebration campaign, CTA’s Board of Directors and staff encourage members of the theatre’s family, both past and present, to donate to keep the buildings safe, as well as to improve the space, so the nonprofit organization can continue to provide top-notch productions and education for central Maryland’s youth.
To make a tax-deductible donation of any amount, please visit www.childrenstheatreofannapolis.org and click on “Make a Donation” in the upper-right corner. CTA also welcomes donations from corporations and businesses, as well as sponsorships for the season, a specific production, or events. To arrange a sponsorship or corporate donation, contact CTA’s Executive Director Michelle Lucente at 410-757-2281 or firstname.lastname@example.org.