3611+ Cast Members
1 Constantly Growing
Community Theater Family
* Indicates a date we believe to be accurate but is not confirmed
1993 - From 1993 to 2003, the majority of CCT productions are performed at the Farmington High School (now Boeckman Middle School) Little Theater.
The Theater had stadium-style seating with bright orange cushions, a raised stage and a tech counter in the back. The wings were basically non-existent and the backstage area was a hallway. Dressing rooms consisted of a men's and women's bathroom, each with 2-3 stalls. CCT continued to perform in the space even after it was converted into a conference room (replacing the raised seats with a multi-level floor and lowering the height of the stage). CCT performed its final production in the space during Fall 2004.
1991 - Wendy Turner directs her first production; The Wizard of Oz with a script donated by Pete Martin. The show is funded in part by a grant from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council. Farmington Community Education acts as the fiscal agent.
Wendy is soon joined by Rob Knowles, Karl Wicklund and Mona Miller.
1992 - The organization is given the name Children's Castle Theater and the original logo (depicting a young girl dancing inside a castle) is designed by Karl Wicklund.
May 1995 - CCT rehearses The Wind In the Willows in the ballroom of the Farmington Exchange Bank Building.
The Hardees just down the street is a popular location for actors to stop before and after rehearsal.
*Nov. 1995 - CCT rents a year round rehearsal and storage space in the TownsEdge Mall off of Hwy 3 in Farmington. CCT operates out of the location for a couple years until a dentist office moves in which requires CCT to move out. Read an article about what CCT was doing in 1995 by clicking HERE.
At this point in time CCT has acquired a large amount of set and costume pieces with (now) no place to store them - but the parents of CCT actors step up. Over the next few years, set pieces move to the basements of River's Edge Dental Clinic (courtesy of Jim and Kim Harms) and Farmington Clinic (courtesy of Souheil and Mellie Ailabouni). They remain their until the owners step down from the companies in the '00's. Costumes are stored in the home of Gordy and Janel Schmidt - they are still stored there till this day.
1996 - CCT performs on the stage of the new auditorium in the Farmington High School (now Boeckman Middle School) for the first time. The cast refers to the space as the "Big Theater". The performance was done in conjunction with an art show that featured a variety of acts. The scene is one from Baba Yaga.
1997 - CCT opens up auditions to adult actors for its production of Third and Oak, 12+ adults participate. The idea sticks and CCT becomes a truly intergenerational theater organization. Click HERE to read newspaper articles about the production.
The production of Third and Oak was produced in partnership with the City of Farmington for its centennial (or 100 year) celebration. The script highlighted historical events that occurred in Farmington. The production marks the first full-length show that CCT performs in the Farmington High School (now Boeckman Middle School) auditorium.
1998 - CCT holds rehearsals for its production of The Wizard of Oz in a vacant building in downtown Farmington. The building later becomes Farmington Tap House and Grill.
1999 - CCT holds an in school performance of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory that students from the Farmington elementary schools attend.
2000 - Zack Ailabouni, takes over management of CCT from Wendy Turner while still a student at Farmington High School. He also takes on the roles of lead director, tech director and set designer, managing the organization until 2006.
Prior to emerging as CCT's new lead director, Zack worked as stage manager on several CCT productions, assisting in both set and tech design.
August 2003 - CCT performs its summer production of The Jungle Book in the most obscure place yet; the vacant hospital at Trinity Care Center.
A stage is built in a large empty room and chairs are lined up in rows in front of it. Lights are brought in. Patients from Trinity Care Center venture to the make-shift performance space to enjoy several performances.
2004 - CCT Performs for the first time in Lakeville. The show is Peter Pan. Performances are held at Kenwood Trail Middle School.
May 2006 - Kayla (Schmidt) Yaeger and Heidi Schmidt take over management and director duties for CCT.
Zack remains on staff, assisting in the transition and acting as lead tech director and set designer through winter 2013. Prior to heading up the organization, Kayla and Heidi worked in assistant director and stage management roles under the direction of Zack.
July 2006 - CCT performs its first production at the Lakeville Area Arts Center. The production is Baba Yaga. After completing its run at the LAAC, the show is performed at the Dakota County Fair Free Stage for one performance.
CCT performs all full-length productions at the Lakeville Area Arts Center through June 2016.
FUN FACT: Since its beginning, over 20 actors who performed with CCT as youth have held assistant and lead staff positions with the organization including those listed below. Many others not listed below have assisted on running-crew.
Zack Ailabouni, Lynea Behnke, Mikaela Behnke, Sara Bondus, Roxy Bondus, Nina Current, Brenna Deegan, Rachel (Schmidt) Eubanks, Brielle Franke, Lizzie Gray, Aili Hakala, Josh Hannaman, Tym Sauter, Colleen Stewart, Shane Martin, Ryan McAdam, Heidi Schmidt, Claire Vietti, Ann Wilhoite, Kayla (Schmidt) Yaeger, Rich Yaeger
*Notice an inaccuracy or someone we've missed. Let us know!
2010 - CCT commits to producing a minimum of two productions each year. The commitment still holds today.
2013 - CCT moves to 8 performances for its winter musical, Jack Frost. Part-time roles are offered for the first time. Read more about the show by clicking HERE.
Designed for actors 10 and under but available to all, these roles have a less strenuous rehearsal schedule and only perform in half the shows, allowing actors who are ready to be creative but not ready for late nights and two-a-day-performances an opportunity to participate.
February 2014 - Disney's Tarzan the Musical sets the ticket sale record for a CCT production at 1865.
FUN FACT: February 2014 - Jesse Schmidt sets the record for the most CCT productions performed in by an individual actor at 20. He currently holds the record at 24 full-length shows and 1 one-act.
September 2014 - CCT receives official 501(c)(3) non-profit status. Founding Board Members are; Heidi Schmidt (President), Tammy Nienaber (Secretary) and Jeff Carter (Treasurer).
October 2014 - CCT produces its first teen/adult centric production; Little Shop of Horrors.
May 2015 - CCT introduces a new brand called Plays for Large Casts.
This brand of CCT allows other theater educators to license scripts owned by CCT. The scripts feature roles for large cast sizes and are priced extremely affordably.
FUN FACT: June 2015 - Many actors have performed in CCT productions with minor injuries. In 2015 an actor in Baba Yaga suffered an injury that required hospital attention - meaning she could not make the afternoon matinee. A call was placed and Kim Lang (who had played the role in 2006) stepped in for the show with just a few hours notice! The injured actor returned in a sling for the evening performance.
June-September 2015 - CCT produces 18 performances of The Adventures of Little Daisy (a one-act melo-drama). The show is performed for free at Farmington Dew Days, Dakota County Fair and Eagan Kidspo.
May 2016 - CCT is awarded $21,100 in grant funds to be used over the course of three-five years.
September 2016 - CCT hosts its first ever fundraising "event" titled Chateau Cirque.
The idea comes from CCT actor/volunteer Amy LaVallie. The event includes a circus style production (produced in part by Gleason's Gymnastics) with an after-party host by Lakeville Brewing with music by The Dang Ol' Tir'ole
October 2016 - CCT produces Billy Elliot the Musical in partnership with Ballet Royale MN. The production is the first non-touring production of Billy Elliot in MN.
The show is funded with grant assistance from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council. It is the first time in 20+ years that CCT performs with a Pit.
January 2017 - CCT begins talks with Lakeville Area Community Education about a partnership which begins Fall 2017.
March 2017 - CCTs production of Disney's The Little Mermaid sets five new records.
-Ticket Sale Record for Run-of-a-Show at the Lakeville Area Arts Center (the show beat out the previous record by over 1100 tickets)!
-Ticket Sale Record for Run-of-a-CCT-Show (the show beat out the previous record by over 900 tickets)!
-Cast Size for a CCT production (with 153 actors)!
-Number of performances for Run-of-a-CCT-Show.
-Attendance Record for Run-of-a-CCT-Show.
June 2018 - CCT is awarded $35,000 in grant funds to be used during the 2018-2019 season.
August 2018 - CCT's production of Mary Poppins performs at Lakeville South High School and sets a new Run-of-a-CCT-Show ticket sale record at 3028 tickets. The record wouldn't have been possible without the change to a larger auditorium.
March 2020 - The COVID-19 pandemic causes the city of Lakeville to impose early social distancing guidelines which close the Lakeville Area Arts Center to performances for through July 2020. CCT's production of Matilda the Musical is cancelled five hours prior to curtain for its second weekend of (nearly sold out) performances. CCT vows to bring the show back in January 2021 pending COVID-19 conditions.