Children’s Theatre Company marks 20 years on the North Shore
What: Provides theater opportunities to youth throughout the North Shore
Who: Margo Proeh launched CTC in 1992
Contact: www.thechildrenstheatreco.com, or (847) 848-1555
Updated: August 22, 2012 2:54AM
This year marks two decades since the Children’s Theatre Company was established as an after-school outlet for North Shore-area children to engage in a mutual love of acting, singing and dancing.
Hundreds of children between the ages of five to 11 have come and gone through the CTC over the years, and many of them have gone on to pursue performing careers in their teenage and adult years.
Margo Proeh launched CTC in 1992 as the Lake Forest Children’s Theatre Company, and it has since grown to include locations in Winnetka, Hinsdale, Highland Park, Deerfield, Lake Forest, River Forest and Chicago.
The company has historically used the Winnetka Community House as a practice location for Winnetka students, but recently signed a deal to move to the Winnetka Congregational Church, 725 Pine St., this fall.
Proeh declined to mention specifics about why the company decided to leave its long-time home at the community house, but said the church was an attractive practice space because it offered plenty of classrooms and rehearsal space.
“We had a partnership with the Winnetka Community House that wasn’t working out, and we’re excited to start this year fresh with the show Hairspray,” Proeh said. “We’re very happy about moving to the new location.”
The next classes, which are grouped by kindergarten through first grade and second through fifth grade, start in September, and final performances take place in January 2013.
Proeh started the company with a friend after she graduated college and decided to pursue her who interest in performing arts.
“I wanted to perpetuate my love for music and theater, but my main goal has always been to help children’s self-esteem,” said Proeh, a Highland Park resident.
In contrast to most children’s theater groups, CTC accepts every child, regardless of ability. Rehearsals meet once per week for 12 weeks before the final full-stage production is presented to the community.
Proeh is sure to include every child in the final performance in one way or another, whether it’s set design or directing, and each participant gets a chance at becoming a shining star with a guaranteed appearance on stage during the final show.
“Kids learn that not everyone has to be a star because there are no stars when they work together,” Proeh said. “It’s a way for them to build relationships with each other and make new friends.”
CTC’s programs incorporate basic performing skills like dance, drama and music; using shared interests to bond students together while developing their social interaction and public speaking skills.
In addition to performing, students in the program also learn the basics of costume and scenery design.
The final productions take place twice a year, in spring and fall, and are presented at a variety of locations throughout the North Shore-area including retirement communities, park districts, schools, and community centers.
Proeh said opening CTC has turned into a rewarding career that has fulfilled her love of the performing arts and working with children.
“The best part is seeing how it changes kids’ lives,” Proeh said. “Some kids come in for the first time hanging onto mom’s leg and scared of their own shadow, and then you see this transformation where they grow from caterpillars into butterflies.”
She continued, “That’s what you want as a parent — to see them put their heart and soul into something and then see the results of what happens.”
For more information about CTC, go to www.thechildrenstheatreco.com.