Stages Theatre Company (STC) was founded in Hopkins, MN in 1984 as Child’s Play Theatre. In 1997, the organization relocated to our current home inside the Hopkins Center for the Arts (HCA) and underwent a name change in 1999. STC partnered with Hopkins School District and the City of Hopkins in the effort to build the HCA, an award-winning 37,000 square foot facility that has played a large role in transforming Mainstreet in downtown Hopkins, a western Twin Cities suburb.
STC’s annual season inspires audiences with high-quality productions, including popular musicals, innovative adaptations of children’s literature and commissions of new, original work. Youth actors share the stage with professional adult actors, who serve as mentors. Since our inception, STC has commissioned over 120 new works with significant and meaningful roles for young actors. We believe in providing young artists with opportunities to learn from professional adult actors while performing in demanding roles that foster growth and are integral in conveying a story. STC has grown to be among the largest professional theatres for young audiences in the country and the second largest children’s theatre in Minnesota. STC plays an important role within the Twin Cities’ arts and culture community, as well as the state. Last year, we served 145,326 youth and family members through our theatre productions, educational workshops, conservatory classes, school-based residency programs, and intern/apprenticeship programs.
During the last 20 years, STC has increased its annual attendance from 20,000 to 130,000; grown its annual operating budget from $100,000 to more than $2.3 million; dramatically increased the size of full-time staff; and significantly expanded the theatre’s production, education and outreach offerings. In addition to its acclaimed main stage productions, STC also offers a vast Education Program that works to provide meaningful theatre curriculum that boosts creativity, bolsters confidence, and builds character. It is comprised of an Acting Conservatory Program; community education offerings; summer and winter theatre workshops; after school programming; long-lasting social service partnerships; CAST (Creative Accepting Sensory-Friendly Theatre) for ASD youth; Exposure residencies; and in-school curriculum programs like Perspectives on Peace, Theatre Arts & Literacy for pre-K-6th grade, and In My Own Voice: Responding to Life and Literature through Playwriting for Middle School grades. STC is proud to meet students where they are and help them find their unique artistic voice. Serving about 20,000 Minnesota students across the state annually, we are proud to provide our Open Door Program to assist with any barriers that may prevent youth, schools, or organizations from having access to a high-quality arts experience, whether that barrier is financial, developmental, social-emotional, or transportation.
Today, STC is recognized as a national leader in theatre, education and production programming for children and young adults, and has received a number of regional and national awards and grants. Both its productions and school outreach programming are supported by The National Endowment for the Arts and in 2017 was honored with the Harold Oaks Organization Award for Innovation for its Education Program Perspectives on Peace. In addition, the company was the recipient of the 2001 Award for Arts Organization Excellence in Educational Programming from the Minnesota Alliance for Arts in Education; was selected by the editors of MPLS.ST.PAUL Magazine in 2004 as the “Best Kid’s Theater” in the Twin Cities; was chosen in 2008 by Minnesota Parent Magazine voters as “Best Children’s Theatre” and was awarded “Nonprofit of the Year” in 2009. In 2013, STC’s original production, Owl Moon, was chosen as Most Innovative in Theatre by the arts critics on Minneapolis’s CBS network. As stated in all of our programs and collateral, Stages Theatre Company is dedicated to creating a space where diverse opinions, courageous dialogue, and local, national, and international community engagement is not only valued, but vital to our shared artistic and educational success. We make this pledge in the hope of curating a welcome home for all.