About Us

About Us: “Theatre By Kids, For Kids”

Our Mission

Our mission is to build life-long appreciation for live theater by involving young people in all aspects of theater arts — onstage, backstage, in the classroom, and in the audience.

Our Vision

Encore Stage & Studio is the artistic home for young people in the Washington, DC area, and a national leader in children’s theatre. We are an incubator of young talent providing challenging and diverse opportunities in the arts.

Our Values

We Love Theatre. Theatre has the unique power to enrich the lives of young people by using imagination to explore big ideas. We strive to be an ambassador for the arts in our community, by providing wholesome, family entertainment at affordable prices. We are cultivating the next generation of artists and patrons.

Kids Come First. Children are at the heart of our mission, and we believe they have a vital role to play in the larger artistic community. Encore empowers, respects, and mentors children, offering them opportunities for artistic expression and growth in a safe and nurturing environment.

We Expect Excellence. We are professionals onstage and off. Encore acts with integrity and produces quality productions and classes. We expect 110% from everyone, every time. We teach our participants the life skills they need to succeed as citizens.

We Encourage Inclusiveness. We value unique perspectives and believe that an artistic community is enhanced through diversity of all types. Encore is a safe place where children can express themselves.

We Connect Communities. We are a hub of excitement with the goal of connecting our participants and our audiences with the community at large. Alliances with other organizations strengthen the fabric of our community.

Education Empowers. Theatre is the medium we use to foster creativity and promote reading and critical thinking. We believe our classes and productions complement and enrich in-school learning.

We Build Leaders. We know that leadership makes a difference. We give our participants the poise and confidence to develop as leaders, while encouraging peer mentorship and teamwork.

Our History

Encore Stage & Studio was founded in 1967 as The Children’s Theatre of Arlington. The organization was run by a team of dedicated volunteers for over 40 years before hiring a professional staff beginning in 2010. Over the course of our nearly 50 year history, Encore has produced almost 200 shows. During the 2015-16 season, over 14,000 young people and their families enjoyed Encore’s performances, over 200 participated as cast or crew members, and nearly 1,500 were involved in education programs including classes, camps, and workshops. Encore is excited to celebrate our 50th anniversary during the 2017-18 season!

Encore Today

In 50 years, we’ve grown a lot.

Encore produces eight fully-staged productions each year under the guidance and direction of experienced theatre professionals. These productions include musicals and straight plays, and run the gamut from classic stories to brand-new commissioned works. Encore is unique in offering dramatic productions in which every actor and every backstage crew member is under 18 years of age. You’ll even find middle and high school students on our front-of-house team! We truly believe in our motto of “theatre by kids, for kids” and know that our structure promotes mentoring and role modeling between younger and older participants. We love watching students develop lasting friendships while building theatre and life skills.

Another unique feature of Encore is that participation in our productions is entirely free. We want to share the magic of theatre with everyone, and believe that a no-cost program is the best possible way to do that.

In addition to our productions, Encore offers a robust and ever-expanding year-round series of theatre classes, workshops, and summer camp programs for children ages 4—18. At Encore, students can learn everything from stage combat to makeup design to playwriting to advanced acting skills. All of our classes are taught by professional educators and artists with a passion for working with children, and are designed to help build new skills and supplement students’ onstage and backstage experiences. Classes are offered at locations throughout Arlington, and we frequently partner with local schools and PTAs throughout the northern Virginia area to bring programs directly to their students.

Encore is also invested in training the next generation of theatre artists and educators. We offer a year-long apprentice position as well as multiple summer internships for college students and recent graduates. Many of our interns have continued to work with us as teaching artists, production designers and directors, and even full-time staff members after completing their internships.

Encore has been recognized as an outstanding organization in the Washington, DC area. We were a featured non-profit in the 2010-11 and 2014-15 Catalogue for Philanthropy: Greater Washington and have been accepted as part of the federal government’s Combined Federal Campaign. We receive grant funding from the Virginia Commission for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Arlington Cultural Affairs division of Arlington Economic Development, and the Arlington Commission for the Arts. During the 2016-17 season, we are excited to begin forming more extensive partnerships in our community, including partnering with the Arlington Food Assistance Center (AFAC) on their Healthy Play Initiative.

Encore Stage & Studio is committed to promoting inclusion and equitable access to all of its programs. We believe that an artistic community is enhanced through diversity.

Our 2015-2020 Strategic Plan

View Encore Strategic Plan in pdf format.

Special thanks to Our-Task Inc. and Tania Eldin for the video.