children's theatre of elgin / fox valley theatre company

About Us

Children’s Theatre of Elgin / Fox Valley Theatre Company is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization based in Elgin, Illinois. Its two troupes form one of the oldest, largest, and most exciting children’s theater companies in the state.

We develop fun and exciting programs that offer a maximum number of children, youth, and young adults an affordable opportunity to experience the performing arts, either as participants or audience members.



  • Tours to southern Illinois, New Mexico, Louisiana, and Hawaii
  • Helped establish a children’s theatre troupe on the island of Oahu, Hawaii
  • 1991: Received the Illinois Community Education Association Award
  • 2004: Named one of 150 Things that Make Elgin Great
  • 2006: Listed among favorite destinations in the book Kids Love Illinois by George and Michele Zavatsky
  • 2007: Received an Elgin Image Award for helping promote a positive impression of Elgin
  • 2014: Created an anti-bullying resource film for upper elementary students
  • 2019: Produced our first-ever sensory-sensitive performance

Our Mission

Children’s Theatre of Elgin/Fox Valley Theatre Company is a place where all individuals have an equitable opportunity to learn, grow, and enrich their lives through theatre.

Our Troupes

CHILDREN’S THEATRE OF ELGIN (CTE) is for children and youth in 2nd through 9th grades.

CTE was founded in 1988 by brothers Peter and David Akemann to provide performing arts opportunities for their children and others. The goal?  Cast everyone who auditioned and provide meaningful live-theatre instruction and experiences for all.

CTE produces two large-scale shows each year at Hemmens Cultural Center. Cast sizes can often exceed 100, and over the years the company has provided performance opportunities to over 10,000 young people.

FOX VALLEY THEATRE COMPANY (FVTC) is for youth and young adults in 9th grade through 20 years.

In 1993, FVTC was added as a CTE subsidiary as a more advanced option for older students. This troupe presents a full-length Broadway-type musical each year at the Elgin Community College Arts Center’s Blizzard Theatre.

The two troupes combine whenever a script calls for it, such as Annie or CTE’s 20th anniversary original musical Placing Out.

To supplement and enhance skills as well as help prepare beginners, theatre workshops provide lively educational experiences.

Over the years, more than 9,000 cast members have performed for audiences of almost 400,000 people since the curtain went up on the first performance of Snow White in 1988.

Board of Directors

A single board of directors governs both CTE and FVTC with board members acting as show producers.



Catie Early, President
David Comings, Vice President
Jessica Yeska, Secretary
Cindy Kline, Treasurer



Larissa Catalano
Jennifer Dienelt
Melissa Downey
Smooch Medina

Artistic Directors

Allison Cherry
Chris Cherry
Matthew Bishop
Dr. Rocio del Castillo – Artistic Director of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Director of Operations

Elizabeth Niemeier


Auxiliary Board

CTE/FVTC auxiliary board members help organize and maintain theatre properties as well as reach out and inform the community about our programs.


Fran Mitchell, Costume Shop Coordinator
Ginny Comings, Assistant Costume Shop Coordinator
Claribel Lascano, Outreach Coordinator
Lindsay Coats, Publicity Coordinator
Don Schulz, Set Shop Coordinator
Sabrina Heck Merena, Alumni Coordinator


We love our family volunteers! Our organization relies on our amazing team of volunteers that help make every show come to life. From box office, to set painting, to publicity, there’s something for everyone! Interested in learning more about volunteering? Contact us at 847-214-7152 or! All purchases made by committee members for a CTE/FVTC production are fully reimbursed by CTE.