Located at:

75 Mary Street, Unit #11

Aurora, ON, L4G 1G3

Tel.: 416-995-4486

Email: jennifer.martin@childrenstheatre.ca

ABOUT US

The Canadian Children's Theatre Co. has been a community staple in York Region for over 20 years. CCTC is dedicated to the continual development of quality, recreational, performing arts programs for children and teens aged 18 months to 18 years. With programs in theatre, musical theatre, dance, and music, all young people with a desire to become involved are accepted, engaging them in lively and fun, high-quality productions to be performed for and within the community. Our passionate and professional staff, led by Artistic Director Jennifer Martin, foster a safe space for students, with an emphasis on equality, inclusion, and a sense of community. Unlike other programs of its kind, CCTC prides itself on cultivating meaningful relationships while training with students, focusing on the process over the final product.

Remarkably, only one rule of conduct has ever been needed at the CCTC, for students and staff alike: “No upstaging.” And by never stealing someone else’s spotlight, CCTC participants soon learn the power and joy of treating everyone with respect, dignity, and integrity – a certainty that extends beyond the walls of the CCTC studios and stages into the students’ homes and schools and communities. It is no wonder that families return year after year to the CCTC. Over 7000 child and youth participants have attended CCTC classes during Jennifer’s tenure, a singularly impressive number for any recreational program. 

 

Why has Jennifer chosen to maintain the CCTC as a quarterly recreational program and not a year-round company?  The recreational format gives children a chance to explore their personal fit with the theatrical arts at different ages and stages as they explore their world, to discover their ideal fit without making an expensive year-long commitment ahead of discovery.  Parents are often surprised by Jennifer’s enthusiastic response to children’s choices to study arts not available at the CCTC -- karate, for example -- celebrating a child’s opportunity to find their passion at any age and stage.

MEET OUR TEAM

Jennifer Martin, Artistic Director

Known affectionately by her students and around the community as “Miss Martin”, Jennifer began her life in the performing arts at the tender age of 3, studying ballet, flute and choral music in Newmarket until her late teens.

In her seventeenth year as Artistic Director (AD) of the Canadian Children’s Theatre Co. (CCTC), Jennifer has been an essential part of the company for over 20 years, since its second year of operation. As well as AD, Jennifer is the company’s advocate, costume and prop designer/creator, dramaturge, and registrar.  

 

Jennifer values and is most grateful for the sense of community and family that is the hallmark of the CCTC.

“Every child deserves the chance to shine, to be heard, to be the star of their own life”, said Jennifer in a recent interview. “For our staff, I look for people who share my understanding and respect for children’s unique importance and style. We value each and every child. We see their potential; we know how to inspire them, to motivate them and allow them to go beyond anyone’s expectations – their own, their peers’, and their families’. We create a mood of discovery, of joy, wonder and safety” in the magical world of storytelling through drama, music and dance and in the technical arts of set and prop design/build and staging that is the CCTC experience.

Jennifer and her CCTC staff push their students to have a sense of ownership in their final production: “It is all about them”, said Jennifer. “The children hear and understand when we say, “You did this”. They know it’s not “We did this for you”. Her instructors become the instruments of the creative process, not the owners of the successful production, and they stay as loyal to the CCTC as do her students. As one of her staff recently wrote to her, “Working for you is the best thing I do.”

 

The transformation of the CCTC children and youth is visible to all. The changes that the children predictably exhibit are impressive: they move from being shy to confident, from being uncertain to “Being comfortable with others and in their own skin”, said Jennifer. “They find their voice. They find their rhythm. They find their place.”

 

And the place for Jennifer’s students and staff is not solely in the CCTC’s studios and on her stages. Every year, the CCTC participates in the Santa Claus Parade, The Haunted Forest, and the Tree-Lighting Ceremony. The latter two events made the Top Festivals and Events of Ontario (TFEO)’s highly prized list of the Top 100 Events in Ontario. This year, Jennifer received the TFEO’s Outstanding Volunteer Award – an impressive achievement in this province where volunteerism is the vibrant engine of community life.

Heather LeBlanc

Starting at the age of three, Heather trained extensively in ballet, tap, jazz, lyrical, hip-hop, singing and acting in both Kingston and Toronto, including classes with the National Ballet School of Canada and tap instructor Shawn Byfield. She completed her Triple Threat Training Certificate at the age of 13 with the Mind, Body and Soul Performing Arts Company. After dancing in the stage productions “Our” Moulin Rouge and 42nd Street, Heather went on to complete her Associate’s qualifications with the British Association of Teachers in Dancing, qualifying her as an instructor in ballet, tap and jazz within the association. She has used these qualifications to teach it all--from caregiver and tot free movement, to beginner pointe, to school hip-hop clubs, to competitive level classes, to adult tap. Heather graduated from Wilfrid Laurier University with a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Contemporary Studies and from Nipissing University with her Bachelor of Education (Primary/Junior). Heather has been a valued instructor of the Canadian Children’s Theatre Co. recreational dance programs and summer camps since 2013.

Michelle Cutts

Michelle has been working for the Canadian Children’s Theatre Co. For over 15 years directing some of her all time favourite stories such as Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland. Michelle holds a Bachelor’s Degree from University of Toronto in Theatre and English Literature. After graduating from U of T she then went across the pond to London U.K where she received a post graduate degree in Theatre Directing from Central School of Speech and Drama. While over in the U.K. Michelle worked professionally for Lions Part Co. And Hoop Theatre. Currently Michelle directs the Canadian Children’s Theatre Co. Showtime for Teens class, where she is looking forward to directing Sherlock Holmes a Comedy Trilogy, to be performed in April 2018.

Angie Van Delft

Angie is thrilled to have been working for the Canadian Children's Theatre Co. for over 6 years. She is currently a teacher with the YCDSB, after spending a year teaching high school English and Drama in England. Angie is a Queen's University Alumni, where she completed her Bachelor of Education degree with a focus on drama, history, and special education, and obtained a Bachelor of Arts (Hons.) with distinction in drama. Throughout her schooling as Queen's, Angie participated in many productions, coached a competitive Improv team and strengthened her interests in stage make-up and costume design. She was even able to dabble in a playwriting role, co-writing both a children's play and two sketch comedy shows.

Britton Mehew

Holding a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Music Performance, and a Bachelor of Education, Britton has shared music with children in a variety of settings over the years. Also holding a specialist certification in Children & Family Yoga, Britton blends movement with music, creating an environment where children can develop emotionally, socially, intellectually and physically in their own unique way. Britton is continually inspired by young people and their creativity, playful imaginations and zest for life and is devoted to assisting children in developing their love and appreciation for music.

Heather Eugene

Ms. Heather Eugene has been a professional dance instructor and educator for over three decades. Her passion for dance has inspired children and adults of all ages and levels from beginner to advanced; one student in particular furthering her career as a professional ballerina with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet.

Throughout her career, Ms. Eugene has performed on stages and television throughout Ontario and Internationally.  She was privileged to have study advanced tap dance with the Tony Award winning Choreographer, Henry Le Tang, took a master class with the multiple award winning Actor/dancer, Gregory Hines and had a personal meeting with the legendary child star, Shirley Temple Black.

Ms. Eugene was the organizer and producer of Toronto’s “International Tap Dance Day” held annually at  Nathan Phillips Square proclaimed by then Mayor, Barbara Hall. She owned her own dance studio for many years and taught at the prestigious Randolph College for the Performing Arts.

Ms. Eugene is an associate member of the Canadian Dance Teachers’ Association and a member of SOCAN (Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada).

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