Vision: To be the premier theatre for children and by children in East Tennessee.

Mission: To cultivate a love for theatrical arts in East Tennessee through professional production, advanced instruction, and community outreach.

Knoxville Children’s Theatre, an education-based non-profit, is a local theatre company producing professional plays for children, by children. KCT is committed to providing children opportunities to acquire and hone skills that enhance creative thinking, public speaking, project management, personal responsibility, leadership, and team work. All of these opportunities occur in a creative outlet where imagination thrives, self-esteem develops, and students learn the many life lessons that creative dramatics can teach.


 Zack Allen (Executive Director) has a thirty-year history with theatre in east Tennessee.  He is a co-founder of KCT, for which he has written 18 full-length plays, and directed 28 productions.

As a UT student and subsequent 7-year member of the Clarence Brown Theatre Company, he performed in over 30 shows in twelve years. As a company member of the Actor’s Co-Op from 2001-05, he directed and acted in numerous shows at their Black Box Theatre.  During that time, he won the Best Supporting Actor award from the Knoxville Area Theatre Coalition for his performance in The Importance of Being Earnest.  From 2003-07, he was Executive Director of Rose Center, where he administered Tennessee Arts Commission grants in an eight-county area east of Knoxville, among other duties.

Zack also directs for other local theatre companies, including Shakespeare On The Square (Othello, Much Ado About Nothing), Tennessee Stage Company (The Foreigner), and Theatre Knoxville Downtown (Driving Miss Daisy, The Trip To Bountiful, Blood Relations, Picnic, Bell, Book and Candle, Heroes, Absurd Person Singular).

Dennis headshotDennis E. Perkins (Academy Director) has been a director, writer and instructor for KCT since 2011.  Credits include The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; The Legend of Sleepy Hollow; A Bridge to Terabithia; The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; Shrek, Jr; The Giver; and To Kill a Mockingbird among others.  In addition to directing many of his own adaptations, he has written and directed two original scripts: Quoth the Raven and Quest for the Grail. In addition, Perkins teaches Scene Study, Audition Technique, and Introduction to Shakespeare acting classes at KCT.  In 2013 he had the pleasure of directing a staged reading of Nobel Laureate Roald Hoffman’s play Something That Belongs to You produced by UT’s College Scholars Program. He has directed and performed at the Actor’s Co-op and Black Box Theatre, has twice directed at Hungary’s Csokonai Theatre, and shared a Joseph Jefferson citation for Best Ensemble with the cast of Corpus Christi at Chicago’s Bailiwick Theatre.  He is a Phi Beta Kappa and Summa Cum Laude graduate of the University of Tennessee’s College Scholars program.

Michelle Fratus (Instructor) teaches musical theatre and other acting classes at KCT. Stage roles include Madame Pernelle in the Clarence Brown Theatre’s production of Tartuffe, The Wife in CBT’s The Music Man, Vicki Nichols in The Full Monty at Oak Ridge Playhouse, and Peggy in the WordPlayers’ Godspell. She performed for eight years with Knoxville Opera and UT Opera. She musically directed KCT’s Annie, Jr., and assisted with the musical direction of CBT’s A Christmas Carol. Fratus received her Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Tennessee where she studied voice with Andrew Skoog.  She has studied acting with Jayne Morgan and continues to act in local films, TV and commercials.  Michelle works full-time at Knoxville Opera and maintains a private teaching studio in her home.

Deanna Surber (Instructor / Director) once enjoyed a professional career in New York theatre, including playing Laurey in a National Tour of Oklahoma! Deanna is now teaching private voice using the Somatic Voicework ™ The LoVetri Method with a focus on Musical Theatre style as well as Performing Power, a technique designed for opera and musical theatre students. Deanna has an MFA from Cincinnati Conservatory of Music.  She was the Musical Director for KCT’s Disney’s Aladdin and Director of Seussical: The Musical.

Ashlee Headshot Fall 2013

Ashlee Latimer (Visiting Director) is a senior at the University of Tennessee, majoring in Theatre. She recently returned from a summer internship in the Education Department at the Roundabout Theatre Company in New York City. She has also worked with Disney Theatrical and the Berkshire Theatre Group, and spent the Spring 2015 semester studying abroad and working with slum children in Bangalore, India. During her eight years with the Knoxville Children’s Theatre, Ashlee has served as KCT’s inaugural intern, directed seven KCT productions, and is a lead instructor for KCT’s Academy classes, two of which she developed. She will direct Cinderella for KCT this Christmas.