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The History of San Diego Junior Theatre

Junior Theatre originally began as a community program by San Diego’s Old Globe Theatre. Today, San Diego Junior Theatre operates as an independent, nonprofit organization for the benefit of children throughout San Diego County, and is the oldest youth theatre program in the country — its productions have entertained well over a million theatregoers since 1948!

In 1948, the Junior Theatre Workshop of the San Diego Community Theater (now, the Old Globe Theatre) was established at the suggestion of Artistic Director, Craig Noel. With instructors and facilities provided under the Old Globe’s stewardship, founders Irma Fraser McPherson and Mary Corrigan directed a group of students, ages eight to eighteen, in what became the first of many San Diego Junior Theatre productions.

As Junior Theatre continued to flourish, it moved to Balboa Park’s old Food and Beverage building for its new rehearsal space. Early productions were held in Falstaff’s Tavern at the Old Globe Theatre, Wegeforth Bowl in the San Diego Zoo, Roosevelt Junior High School auditorium, and the Marie Hitchcock Puppet Theater stage.

By 1953, the San Diego Park and Recreation Department took over sponsorship of the program, and San Diego Junior Theatre moved to its current home in the Casa del Prado Theatre in its 1971-72 Season. Today Junior Theatre operates as an independent, non-profit organization and is the oldest youth theatre program in the country.

“Junior Theatre holds a very special place in my heart.  The lessons I learned there, both onstage and offstage, have been invaluable throughout my career.”

Jessica Sheridan

Actress, The Producers, Footloose