The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati Honored with SETC’s Sara Spencer Child Drama Award

TCTC_Sara Spencer Award

Spencer Burke (TCT Technical Director), Roderick Justice (TCT Producing Artistic Director), and Jeremy Kisling (SETC Board Member). Photo by Mark Mahan, Mahan Multimedia.

CINCINNATI:  The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati (TCT) has been awarded The Sara Spencer Child Drama Award, by The Southeastern Theatre Conference (SETC). The award recognizes the work of an individual or organization for dynamic and engaging work for young people. Nominees can excel in such areas as playwriting, performance, audience development, curriculum development, funding, scholarship, community programs, research, television programming, creative drama or other enrichment programs at their community, state, regional or national level.

This national award highlights children’s theatre pioneer and founder of the Children’s Theatre Press (now the Anchorage Press) Sara Spencer. The award was presented to Roderick Justice, Producing Artistic Director of The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati, at the Southeastern Theatre Conference Gala in Louisville on February 29, 2020.

“TCT is honored to receive this award during our 100th anniversary,” said Roderick Justice. “It is wonderful to highlight the work and significance our theatre for young audiences has played in the landscape of the local and national arts community. The life’s work of Sara Spencer is a direct parallel to the core mission and vision of TCT. We are poised and ready to take on another 100 years of storytelling with impact.”

The Southeastern Theatre Conference (SETC) is a membership organization with over 4,450 active individual members and over 450 active organizational members from across the nation.  SETC’s national convention includes actors, singers, dancers, designers, technicians, stage managers, directors, playwrights, teachers, students, professionals, academicians and others who gather to celebrate the art of theatre. SETC offers hundreds of workshops, keynotes, performance festivals, auditions, college recruiting, job interviews and more.  This year, the convention was held in Louisville, KY from February 26th though March 1st.

Sara Katherine Spencer (1908-1977) was an author, playwright and publisher of children’s plays.  In 1935, she founded the dramatic publishing house, Children’s Theatre Press (later, Anchorage Press Plays, and now part of Dramatic Publishing Company). The firm published 114 children’s plays, and she remained the editor there for over forty years. Spencer was also a major force in creating the Children’s Theatre Foundation, national and international children’s theatre associations, several community children’s theatres, and, through her work as a publisher, a new style of American play writing for children’s theatre. In the 1940s, together with Mary Tyler Dick, she formed the Louisville Children’s Theatre.

Celebrating its centennial anniversary, The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati (TCT) is the oldest children’s theatre in the nation, and the only professional theater in the region that devotes its entire MainStage season to children.  Its mission is to educate, entertain and engage audiences of all ages through professional theatrical productions and arts education programming. Its vision is to awaken a lifelong love of theatre in children and the young at heart. Today, The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati brings art to life for audiences through three key programs:  TCT MainStage at the Taft Theatre, TCT on Tour (including WorkShops) and TCT Academy. Each season TCT strives to reach more than 200,000 people in the Cincinnati region.  For more information visit


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