The Lion King on Stage in Olympia

by Ned Hayes for OLY ARTS

In summer 2017, Creative Theatre Experience will showcase two mainstage productions among other experiences for young performers. CTE first offered an engaged introduction to theater for first-through-12th-grade students in 1981 and is now in its 37th year. The dates are the six weeks from June 26 to August 5. CTE offers four opportunities for youth to participate:

  • Arts Festival is for students in first through seventh grade. This workshop teaches dance, music, theater and visual art and culminates in stage performances.
  • Spotlight is for students in sixth through 12th grade and yields a non-musical production.
  • Showcase is for students in sixth through 12th grade and yields a musical production.
  • Production Crew is for students in sixth through 12th grade who wish to work behind the scenes on costumes, lighting, sound and building and painting the sets.

Disney’s The Lion King Jr. is this year’s mainstage, musical showcase for older students and features direction by local, professional actor and director Jason Haws. Two non-musical plays will also be staged, Qui Nguyen’s She Kills Monsters and Jonathan Rand’s Crazytown.

Dorgan has led the CTE team as artistic director since 2003, joined each year by directors Haws and Paul Purvine plus a talented staff and paid summer interns. They produce a quality, artistic-learning experience that teaches skills for use both on and off the stage. Over 200 children are part of the program every summer. “What I love about it,” says Dorgan, “is that it is not about putting on shows. It’s a full day of arts immersion for kids from first to 12th grade. They take classes in art, music, theater and dance. They take master classes, have recitals — and oh, yeah, they also get to be in a show. It’s unlike any program I know of, and with the youth-mentoring-youth philosophy, it builds leadership and interpersonal skills, too. I’m so proud of CTE.”

NOTE: CTE has changed Lion King performance times, due to the heat wave. See below. 

What: Creative Theatre Experience

Where: Olympia High School, 1302 North St. SE, Olympia


Arts Festival 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, July 20 and 21, 1 p.m. Saturday, July 22;
She Kills Monsters and Crazytown 7 p.m. Thursday – Saturday, July 27-29;
The Lion King Jr. 8 p.m. Thursday – Saturday, Aug. 3-5 and 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 5

How much: $10-$15

Learn more: 360-836-0283 |


Skip to content