Children’s Theatre of Maine, beginning in 1924, is America’s oldest continuing children’s theatrical company. Some of their earliest performances were at the Elm Theatre which stood where the eastern portion of the Portland Public Library now stands! Children’s Theatre has a history filled with colorful highlights and milestones, and these are preserved in the Archives in the Portland Room and in the Library’s Digital Commons digitized collections.
CTM is now part of the Children’s Museum and Theatre of Maine, on Free Street.
The image below shows a poster from a Children’s Theatre play in 1954, performed at Deering Oaks park.
The pictures immediately above and below were taken in 1948 (on Kodachrome film), at Redbank Village. The Children’s Theatre trailer stage even drew the attention of Life Magazine, and it was towed to Central Park for performances by the kids from Portland to New York audiences!
The above image shows a captivated audience in the 1940s, and the image below shows a Children’s Theatre member named Tony Shalhoub, helping a younger actor in 1975. Children’s Theatre history includes many celebrity actors and supporters- the latter including Bette Davis and Tony Randall.
Two images from the late 1990s – early 2000s: Above: an outdoor performance in Falmouth; Below: “The Emporer’s New Clothes,” performed at Nathan Clifford School.
Through their continuing history, Children’s Theatre has benefited from its energetic mentors. Below is an image from the early 1990s, as two young actors review a script with Lisa DiFranza.