Theatreworks History

Theatreworks, Inc. was established in 1979 as a not-for-profit organization for the purpose of bringing quality professional, educational touring theatre to the schoolchildren and families of Northeast Florida. Each season we present new performances beginning in September with two to three live theatre productions a month, followed every summer by two weeks of Free Summer Theatre.

 Theatreworks provides four programs in Jacksonville and its surrounding counties:  (1) in-theatre performances, which schoolchildren attend on field trips; (2) in-school performances at school auditoriums; (3) Sunday Family Series at the Florida Theatre; and (4) Free Summer Theatre presented at Jacksonville’s Main Library.  The outreach mission of Theatreworks is to provide the disadvantaged schoolchildren in our community with the opportunity to experience the amazement of live theatre, free of charge!  All Theatreworks productions are curriculum-based, conservative in content and relevant to young lives.  Teachers are provided with study guides for each presentation, which assists in satisfying the benchmarks of the Sunshine State Standards of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT).

In the 2017-18 season, Theatreworks served over 47,000 children and families, with 33 percent of that audience attending at reduced or no charge due to underwriting and sponsorships.

Theatreworks is a very small organization and relies largely on grants, corporate and private donations.  As a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, all contributions to Theatreworks are tax deductible.  Donations are used strictly to underwrite the programs we offer to the young people of our community.


● Founded in 1979, Theatreworks was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) organization providing the best national and international educational touring theatre for children and families.
● In November 1979, Theatreworks brought “New York Theatre on Tour” to the students of Duval County with four staged productions at the Little Theatre of the Civic Auditorium.  In School performances (onsite at local school auditoriums) were also made available to expose students to professional musical and performing artists.
● The Florida Theatre became the main venue of the “tour” in 1984 and this historic theatre has continued to be the main venue of Theatreworks’ season to the present day.
● September of 1988 brought an expansion of the offerings to seven productions due to popular demand.  This expansion has continued to the present twelve productions each season.
● Sunday Family Series was introduced to widen the audience to children and families outside the school setting.
● Free Summer Theatre was launched in the summer of 1995 as Theatreworks’ gift to atall the children of the First Coast and is now in its 18th season.
● An alliance with the downtown public library began in 2006.  Theatreworks’ staff works closely with library staff in order to provide free programs and workshops that are open to everyone.
● A third week and venue for Free Summer Theatre was added in the summer of 2011.  In order to offer more opportunities in varied locations for our gift to the children of Jacksonville, Theatreworks collaborates with the Friday Musicale to offer a third show title in the Riverside area as part of our annual Free Summer Theatre.