children's theatre of elgin / fox valley theatre company

About Us

Children’s Theatre of Elgin and its affiliate Fox Valley Theatre Company are not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organizations based in Elgin, Illinois. Together they form one of the oldest, largest, and most exciting children’s theatre companies in the state.

At CTE, we develop 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.

Our Mission

Children’s Theatre of Elgin/Fox Valley Theatre Company exists to…

  • Provide high-quality theatrical experiences for children & young adults…by children & young adults
  • Encourage family support and participation in theatre
  • Make excellent live theatre affordable and accessible to the community

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 make up for the community’s lack of 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 using scripts based on fairy tales, literature and historical stories, including original scripts written by CTE board members and alumni.

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.


  • 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

Board of Directors

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


Steve Olson, President
Amy Zapata, Vice President
Dawn Bushaus, Secretary
Peter Akemann, Treasurer


Jamie Cisco
Greg Cherry
Catie Early
Bob Krabbe
Jessica Yeska

Artistic Directors

Andy Bero
Allison Cherry
Chris Cherry
Tish Lyon

Director of Operations

Susan Heaton


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 and Jodi Knieriemen, Assistant Costume Shop Coordinators
  Jen Ellett, Group Sales Coordinators
  Rachel Bard, Outreach Coordinator
  Karen Karner, Publicity Coordinator
  Ron Martin, Set Shop Coordinator