NTC is Turning 40!

It’s time to blow out the candles: The National Theatre for Children (NTC) is turning 40 years old! NTC began as Small Change Original Theatre in a Minneapolis apartment back in 1978. The idea was that companies and organizations could use live in-school theatre programs to entertain and educate audiences of all ages. Over the next four decades, NTC would develop educational programs about energy efficiency, financial literacy, health and wellness, and STEM subjects and careers for some of the biggest organizations throughout the country.

A lot has changed since the days of Jimmy Carter, Space Invaders and the first-ever mobile phone. NTC has kept up with the times, performing for over 30 million students since 1978 and visiting thousands of schools each year. We’ve been featured in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, performed at the White House, and even produced a nationally syndicated TV show – but nothing compares to the thrill of visiting a school and performing for a rapt audience of wide-eyed students.

NTC Timeline

And we owe it all to you: the educators who request NTC performances year after year and provide invaluable feedback to help improve our curriculum. As we celebrate our 40th anniversary, we’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of you who are dedicated to teaching students using inspiring and innovative methods. Here’s to the next 40 years – we hope you’ll join us as we continue to evolve and adapt to whatever the future has in store. Thank you for playing your part!

We’ve prepared a timeline in honor of our 40th anniversary, tracing our origins, rapid growth and the various forms our programs have taken since 1978. We invite you to take a trip down memory lane with us, and to relive some of your favorite moments involving NTC shows in the past. Do you have any stories or comments you’d like to share? Feel free to leave them below!

In the meantime, here are some of our favorite teacher comments we’ve received throughout our 40 years of bringing live educational theatre programs to schools:

The students really seemed to enjoy the program. It kept them entertained and I didn’t have any problem keeping students listening because the play was so engaging. It is almost a week later and the students are still talking about the play. I even saw students playing a game with the characters!

– Wisconsin teacher, Energized Guyz tour

I don’t remember the last time our kids have laughed so hard yet retained so much. They could remember the smallest details mentioned about money when asked questions at the end of the show. The [actors] were FANTASTIC!!!!! They were funny yet professional. Some of the students wanted to watch the show again. There were tears of laughter on the faces of the students and the staff.

– Texas middle school teacher

Once the show was over, I brought them back to the classroom and allowed them to get on the website to play the games. They had a blast! We write in our agendas every night and their assignment tonight is to write two things they learned about electrical safety! A job well done!

– Pennsylvania elementary school teacher