The Canadian Children's Theatre Co. has been a community staple in York Region for 25 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.


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.”

Anissa Gregorio

Anissa is currently a 4th year dancer at Ryerson University. She will be acquiring her BFA in Performance Dance in April of 2020! Since she was  6 years old she has been in love with dance and musical theatre.  This love of performing flourished as she started working with talented contemporary choreographers such as Alysa Pires, Peter Chin and Roberto Companella, and through on-camera work (degrassi and happy town). As she turns performance art into her career, she hopes to use this platform to educate others on mental health and social justice issues. Anissa hopes to share her love of dance with the future generations and grow this wonderful community!

Vanessa Lisi

Vanessa Lisi has been dancing since the age of three years old. She has studied many dance styles such as tap, jazz, musical theatre, ballet, contemporary, acro and more. Vanessa started off as a competitive dancer then became a professional dancer in her adult years. She performed at various events learning new dance genres and techniques. Now Vanessa is putting her creative art form into her dance teaching.
Vanessa knew at a young age that she wanted to become a teacher. Vanessa went on to receive her Honors Bachelor of Applied Science in Early Childhood Studies Degree as well as her Bachelors of Education. Vanessa has utilized her dance experience in every aspect of her teaching career. Vanessa is working on building her career in the dance industry. She has gone on to receive awards for her dance choreography at competitions.
Vanessa has a wide range of experience in teaching dance. She has worked with the City of Vaughan creating and implementing different arts programs for youth. She has gone to elementary schools to run dance programs that correspond with the Ontario curriculum guide. Vanessa has worked with different dance companies throughout her years of teaching and is excited to be joining the Canadian Children’s Theatre Company!

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.

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