The History of Nashville Children's Theatre

In 1931 Nashville Children’s Theatre was formed by the Junior League of Nashville as an amateur theatre. At that time, the Junior League was fulfilling a commitment to establish children’s theatre in many U.S. cities. For years, NCT performed in numerous local landmarks, including Belcourt Theatre, and at Vanderbilt and Belmont Universities. In the late 50’s, Ann Stahlman Hill undertook the monumental task of creating a permanent home for NCT. Hill had designed sets and costumes for NCT and also served on the theatre’s board for years in the various positions of secretary, treasurer and president. She organized a collection of like-minded individuals, and with her leadership they petitioned legislatures, talked with families in the neighborhood, and persistently fundraised, until NCT had a home beside the Howard School building and Lindsley Hall, opening in 1960.

In the wake of Nashville’s desegregation of schools, NCT was asked to consider programming during school hours so that children could have a shared space to explore what they had in common. NCT’s volunteers decided to reinvent the institution as a professional company in order to serve that need. By the late eighties, it became obvious to the now professional theatre company that further reinvention was required to meet the needs of a family audience. That change called for a more ambitious approach to programming, and eventually, a reconfiguration of NCT's space to facilitate that programming. Aside from the addition of a scenery shop, a black-box theatre called the Ida Cooney Playhouse, and the rearranging of some office space, NCT’s building had remained much unchanged since its creation in 1960. 

In 2005, NCT launched its first-ever Capital Campaign to renovate and expand the theatre. Mayor Bill Purcell and the Metro Council were encouraging, providing leadership and support to NCT's efforts. Our Board of Trustees, lead by Capital Campaign co-chairs Monica Flynn-Urness and Julia Polk, (who both displayed the same passion and dedication that Ann Stahlman Hill had carried decades prior), rose to the challenge and raised more private money than anyone at NCT might have thought possible only a couple of years before. With those resources, we were able to redesign, reconfigure and expand our facility to make it possible for us to better serve the community. A renovated NCT was opened with a celebration in December of 2007.

NCT’s story is one of continual reinvention to meet the expanding needs of the community that it has consciously endeavored to help build.

Our Performance History

1930s

1931-32
Aladdin
Alice in Wonderland

1932-1933
The Patchwork Girl of Oz
Marionettes

1933-1934
The King of Camarand
A Musical Circus
The Magic Tinder Box

1934-1935
The Secret Garden
The Wizard of Oz

1935-1936
Cinderella
Marionettes
Tattercoats and
the Black Prince

1936-1937
Jack and the Beanstalk
Heidi
Peanuts in a Striped Bag
The Marionette Show

1937-1938
The Indian Captive
Hans Brinker or The Silver Skates
The Patchwork Girl of Oz
Tom Sawyer

1938-1939
Rip Van Winkle
The Christmas Nightingale
Seven Little Rebels
The Emperor's New Clothes

1939-40
Young Hickory
The Ghost of Mr. Penny
Oliver Twist
Hansel and Gretel
Pinocchio

1940s

1940-1941
Titian
Sleeping Beauty
Toad of Toad Hall
Emil and the Detectives
The Bumble Bee Prince

1941-1942
The Five Little Peppers
Marionettes
Tom Sawyer's Treasure Hunt
Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp

1942-1943
No Performances
(World War II)

1943-1944
Tattercoats and the Black Prince
Rumpelstiltskin
The Garden Circus

1944-1945
Cinderella
The Sapphire Signet
Wizard of Oz

1945-1946
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Jack and the Beanstalk

1946-1947
The Indian Captive
Snow Maiden
Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater
Pinocchio
Marionette Show

1947-1948
The Princess and the Swineherd
The Tempest
Tom Sawyer
Simple Simon

1948-1949
Daniel Boone
The Emperor's New Clothes
Sleeping Beauty

1949-1950
Hans Brinker
Peter Pan
The Patchwork Girl of Oz
Bridle-Boy

1950s

1950-1951
Treasure Island
The Clown Who Ran Away
Rumpelstiltskin
Puss in Boots

1951-1952
Panda and the Spy
Alice in Wonderland
Marco Polo

1952-1953
King Arthur and the Magic Sword
The Magic Turquoise
Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater

1953-1954
Tom Sawyer
Land of the Dragon
Simple Simon

1954-1955
Buffalo Bill
Jack and the Beanstalk
Mr. Dooley, Jr.

1955-1956
Hansel and Gretel
Once Upon a Clothesline
Robin Hood

1956-1957
The Snow Queen
Young Hickory
Mr. Popper's Penguins

1957-1958
The Enchanted Box
(The Puppet Prince)
The Magic Born of Charlemagne
To the Moon

1958-1959
Seven At One Blow
(Brave Little Tailor)
Young Ben Franklin
Panda and the Spy

1959-1960
Puss in Boots
Captain Kidd's Treasure
Land of the Dragon

1960s

1960-1961
The Twelve Dancing Princesses
Tom Sawyer
Alice in Wonderland

1961-1962
The Ghost of Mr. Penny
Johnny Moonbeam
Cinderella

1962-1963
Pinocchio
The Clown Who Ran Away
The Blue Bird

1963-1964
King Midas and the Golden Touch
The Clown and His Circus
The Wizard of Oz
Love Rides the Rail or Will the Mail Train Run Tonight

1964-1965
The Panda and the Sky
Jack and the Beanstalk
The Man in the Moon
Instant Clowns
It Says Here

1965-1966
Reynard the Fox
Treasure Island
Beauty and the Beast

1966-1967
The Emperor's New Clothes
Alice in Wonderland
Robin Hood
I Sincerely Doubt That This Old House is Very Haunted

1967-1968
Androcles and the Lion
The Thirteen Clock
Don Quixote of La Mancha
The Golden Goose

1968-1969
Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp
King Arthur's Sword
The Dancing Donkey
Good Grief, A Griffin

1969-1970
Sinbad the Sailor
The Snow Queen and the Goblin
The Invisible People
Three Actors and Their Drama
Aria da Capo
Hello Out There

1970s

1970-1971
The Tinder Box
The Clown Who Ran Away
Aesop's Fables
Wilder and Wilder

1971-1972
The Land of the Dragon
Indian Captive, the Story of Mary Jemison
The Changing Times of King Cornelius
Just So Stories

1972-1973
The Mystery of the Alhambra
The Adventures of Harlequin
Beauty and the Beast
Tarradiddle Tales
The Jar

1973-1974
The Miracle Worker
Jack and the Beanstalk
Young Mozart
The Pied Piper
The Marvelous Adventures of Tyl

1974-1975
As You Like It
Hansel and Gretel
Animal Farm
The Wind in the Willows

1975-1976
The Diary of Anne Frank
Tom Sawyer
The Bald Soprano
Young Abe Lincoln
Man in the Moon Marigolds
Winnie-the-Pooh
Summertime Monster
Fonzie Goes to Nashville
In One Basket
The Golden Bird

1976-1977
Our Family Trouble - The Legend of the Bell Witch
Sylvia
The Little Chimney Sweep
Dark of the Moon
The Mikado
Pinocchio
Prayers from the Ark

1977-1978
1984
The Mummy Market
Ten Little Indians
Once Upon a Mattress
Really Rosie
Bananas (SET)
Summer European Tour of Really Rosie & Prayers from the Ark
Sing a Song of Sixpence

1978-1979
The Rhymers
The Innocents
Cinderella
Moby Dick
Beans (SET)
Caves, Cages, Condemnations
A Time for Tales
 

1980s

1979-1980
Nearsighted Knight & Farsighted Dragon
Inherit the Wind
Androcles and the Lion
Adventures of Paddington Bear
Step on a Crack

1980-1981
The Tavern
Mime Show
The Emperor's New Clothes
Treasure Island
The Boy Who Talked to Whales

1981-1982
Dinner at Belmont
The Arkansaw Bear
Jim Thorpe, All American
Beauty and the Beast

1982-1983
Alice in Wonderland
Dracula
Rumpelstiltskin
Wiley and the Hairy Man

1983-1984
Hansel and Gretel
The Miracle Worker
The Wind in the Willows
Tom Sawyer

1984-1985
Winnie the Pooh
Code Breaker
Rapunzel
Ransom of Red Chief

1985-1986
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
OPQRS, Etc.
Diary of Anne Frank
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

1986-1987
Robin Goodfellow
Cinderella
Odyssey
Charlotte's Web

1987-1988
Treasure Island
Tales from Hans Christian Anderson
Rags to Riches
The Arkansaw Bear

1988-1989
Frankenstein
Pinocchio
Mother Hicks
Wiley and the Hairy Man
Aladdin

1989-1990
Jungalbook
Puss in Boots
Peter the Postman
Steal Away Home
Androcles and the Lion

1990s

1990-1991
The Nightingale
Sherlock Holmes
Rapunzel
Most Valuable Player
A Trash Tale
The Mask Man
Brave Little Tailor
Rumpelstiltskin

1991-1992
The Tempest
Rumpelstiltskin
Hansel and Gretel
The Emerald Circle
Fool of the World
OPQRS, Etc.
The Pushcart War

1992-1993
Emperor's New Clothes
Cinderella
A Woman Called Truth
Tarheel Tales
The Reluctant Dragon
Summer Aladdin

1993-1994
The Prince and the Pauper
Aladdin
Cinderella
...and the Tide Shall Cover the Earth
Reasons to be Cheerful
The Ransom of Red Chief
Anne of Green Gables - TPAC

1994-1995
Peter Rabbit and Me
The Boy Who Left Home to Find Out About the Shivers
Ramayana
Androcles and the Lion
The Wind in the Willows
... and the Tide Shall Cover the Earth (TPAC)

1995-1996
Everybody, Everybody
Bambi: A Life in the Woods
Bridge to Terabithia
Col Tom Tennessee's Marvelous Medicine Show
Charlotte's Web
The Reluctant Dragon - TPAC

1996-1997
Goldilocks and the 3 Bears
The Odyssey
Pinocchio
Selkie
Nightingale
Robin Goodfellow

1997-1998
Won't Take a Bath
The Wind in the Willows
Little House Christmas
Anne of Green Gables
Just So Stories
The Hobbit

1998-1999
The Hat
Moby Dick
The Match Girl's Gift
Most Valuable Player
In My Grandmother's Purse

1999-2000
Jack and the Wonderbeans
A Wrinkle in Time
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
And Then They Came for Me: Remembering the World of Anne Frank
The Reluctant Dragon
Devon's Hurt

2000s

2000-2001
Trickster Tales
Nashville Ballet's Dracula
Rapunzel
Little Women
Sing Down the Moon
Winnie-the-Pooh

2001-2002
Androcles and the Lion
Sing Down the Moon
Gatherings in Graveyards
Beauty and the Beast
Franklin's Apprentice
Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters
The Fisherman and His Wife
The Arkansaw Bear

2002-2003
The House at Pooh Corner
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Charlotte's Web
Bridge to Terabithia
Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse

2003-2004
Little Red Riding Hood and The Three Little Pigs
A Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas
Treasure Island
Before the People Came
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

2004-2005
Puss in Boots
Alexander, Who's Not Not Not Not Not Not Going to Move
Jack's Tale
The Tempest
Bambi: A Life in the Woods

2005-2006
Holes
Seussical
A Woman Called Truth
The Wind in the Willows

2006-2007
The Shakespeare Stealer
Schoolhouse Rock Live!
Einstein is a Dummy
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing

2007-2008
The Witch of Blackbird Pond
Junie B. Jones and a Little Monkey Business
Most Valuable Player
Go, Dog, Go!
The Reluctant Dragon

2008-2009
Frankenstein
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
The Giver
Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse
Still Life with Iris
The Fisherman and His Wife

2009-2010
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
The Diary of Anne Frank
Miss Nelson is Missing!
Charlotte's Web

2010's

2010-2011
Bud, Not Buddy
Seussical
Jason and the Golden Fleece
Goodnight Moon
Robin Goodfellow
Jack's Tale

2011-2012
Holes
Junie B. in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells!
The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963
La Belle et la Bette
Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type

2012-2013
Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure
You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown
Don't Tell Me I Can't Fly
The Wind in the Willows
Go, Dog, Go!

2013-2014
A Wrinkle in Time
Schoolhouse Rock Live!
Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse
Number the Stars
Lyle the Crocodile

2014-2015
The Outsiders
Roald Dahl's James and the Giant Peach
Elephant & Piggie's We Are In A Play!
Jack's Tale - A Mythic Mountain Musical
Dr. Seuss's The Cat in the Hat

2015-2016
Einstein is a Dummy
Charlotte's Web
Scot Copeland's Cinderella
Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott
A Year with Frog and Toad