Creative Arts Theatre Company

"We are in the business of changing lives, sometimes one person at a time."
-Virginia Rivers, Creative Arts Theatre Founder

Creative Arts Theatre is the City's resident, professional theatre company for young audiences dedicated to presenting outstanding theatre experiences that encourage a lifelong love of reading and the performing arts. A staff of four professional artists create and perform plays inspired by children's literature. Plays are drawn from traditional folktales as well as modern classics. Each year, Creative Arts Theatre Company presents over 200 performances at community centers, libraries, and schools throughout Hillsborough County. All performances are free to the public. Productions often incorporate puppets, masks, live actors, original music and dance. These powerful mediums strengthen the bonds between families, schools, and communities in the areas of education, literacy and the performing arts. Over the past 50 years, Creative Arts Theatre Company has performed for more than one million children and their families.

In addition, Creative Arts Theatre Company offers classes, camps, and workshops for children and adults throughout the year at the City's community centers. Topics include puppet making, storytelling, acting, improvisation and musical theatre. They are a member of the Theatre for Young Audiences/USA and the Educational Theatre Association.


Creative Arts Theatre Company was founded in 1968 by Virginia Rivers. It began as a part of the Tampa Library system, but in 1978 Creative Arts Theatre found a new home with the City of Tampa Parks and Recreation Department. The vision from the very beginning was to encourage literacy throughout Hillsborough County through the magic of live performance.

Virginia Rivers served as the artistic leader until her death in 2003. During her tenure, Creative Arts Theatre was recognized throughout the United States for their innovative programming and won many awards, including The Outstanding Contribution to the Arts of Puppetry Award from the Puppeteers of America; the Arts Education Award from the Hillsborough County Arts Council; the National Recreation and Parks Association Southeastern Arts and Humanities Award for Innovative Programs; and the Betty Miller State Library Award for excellence in children's programming.

For more information about Creative Arts Theatre Company, please contact Supervisor Meg Heimstead by email or phone at (813) 613-4700.