Creative Kids Playhouse Children’s Theatre of Orange County is a 501(c)3 federal nonprofit organization dedicated to providing quality theater education in a fun and encouraging environment. Every child can benefit from theater education, every child deserves a moment in the spotlight!
Founded in 2011 by CEO Elizabeth Ramirez and Artistic Director (and Equity Stage Actress) Michele Sheehy-Bowren with the vision that every child deserves a moment in the spotlight. Our mission is to provide children the opportunity to experience the exhilaration and educational benefits of performing, and to create entertaining productions for the community to enjoy. We strive to provide a quality theatre education for your child from audition through closing night, while drawing out your child’s inner star in a fun and encouraging environment. In February, 2019 we proudly executed our 200th production.
We offer a variety of programs throughout the calendar year, from big two-act productions with the 6-13 year olds (Mainstage Players), even bigger musicals with Broadway level scripts performed by our advanced troupes (Camelot Players, ages 10-18, and Excalibur Players, 7th-12th grade, Surf City Players, ages 10-18). We also offer smaller one-act musicals, workshops, camps and classes throughout the year. We have an adorable Tom Thumb Players program that produces age-appropriate musicals performed by 3-6 year olds. In January, 2016 we held our first annual Children Achieving Theatre Excellence (C.A.T.E.) Awards Show & Gala to recognize the achievements of our students. Standout students from each performance are honored each January at our annual CATE Awards.
We are an education-based program, and carefully consider the education of each individual actor in our program. We make sure that every child in each production has a meaningful contribution to the show, and a purpose on stage. This means that there is never a mob of kids on stage, or an actor that could miss a performance without being sorely missed by the cast. This also means that we move the leads around, and make sure that your actor receives a balanced education. The actress who just played Dorothy is unlikely to be immediately cast as Belle in the next production, rather, she will be considered for a villain, a comedy role, a dance role, a role in which she will grow in a different way. In the Mainstage Players, scripts are carefully selected and cast sizes are limited such that every actor has a speaking part. In the advanced troupes, the cast size is limited as well so that each actor can make a meaningful contribution. In all of our productions, the scripts are thoughtfully considered in order to have meaningful and character-building lessons for the actors. Age-appropriate material is a requirement for all of our productions. Childhood is such a short time in one’s life, we believe that childhood should be celebrated without adult material. At Creative Kids Playhouse, every child is welcome to enroll. We don’t expect actors to arrive to auditions with theater education, that is our job. Cast sizes are limited, and everyone who enrolls in a cast gets to be in the cast. We audition only the limited number of actors that are enrolled.
As a result of our extensive efforts of theater education, and the huge percentage of repeat customers, our advanced troupes’ shows represent a depth of acting demonstrated across all the roles that is seldom seen on a youth theater stage. We believe we are the best youth theater in Orange County. We encourage creativity, teamwork, empathy, responsibility, kindness, inclusiveness and volunteering in our actors, which has resulted in a community of youth that are some of the best people we know. We are not expecting them to all pursue the performing arts as a career, but we predict that they will each do great things with their lives!
Our staff is made up of professionals in drama, dance and voice. Our staff members regularly perform independently around Southern California as actors, singers, dancers, voice-over artists and comedians. They have a passion and skills in the performing arts that they are eager to share with your child. From those who’ve never been on stage to those preparing their college auditions for musical theater, our staff will meet you where you are and help you to exceed your expectations.
In every thing that we do, we strive to create a fun, meaningful opportunity for growth, and consider the individual needs and talents of each student.
In December, 2017 we had a celebration between our Willy Wonka performances in which the story of how CKP was founded, who we are and where we are going was shared. Even though that was a while ago, it still tells the story well. To truly understand who we are, take the time to watch this video of that celebration.
Or, just watch these testimonials from our 6th anniversary party