CATS | Our Mission & History PDF Print E-mail

Creative Arts Theatre & School is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit Texas organization. Donations may be tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law. Please check with your tax preparer for details.  The National Center for Charitable Statistics (NCCS) is the national clearinghouse of data on the nonprofit sector in the United States. Click here for our NCCS Organization Profile.

Mission Statement:

CATS' mission is to develop the potential of young people from diverse backgrounds through performing arts training and performance opportunities. CATS is devoted to training, enriching, and inspiring all youth by igniting within them an enduring passion for the arts.


The history of CATS is an extraordinary story of dedication to the goal of bringing performing arts training and live family-oriented theatrical productions to young people and their families in the Arlington-Fort Worth-Dallas area. Under the direction of Zachary and Kathey Ward, both professional performers and educators, a ten-week pilot program during the summer of 1978 offered a limited selection of classes in creative dramatics and acting. Community response was so positive that CATS relocated from its temporary quarters at an Arlington private school to a leased facility where year-round activities began in June of 1979. During its four years there, CATS experienced tremendous growth in both its class enrollments and audience attendance at performances.

In December of 1982, CATS' Board of Directors, along with interested parents and citizens, formed the Arlington Arts Associates, Ltd. to purchase an empty church building at 1100 West Randol Mill Rd. in Arlington in an effort to insure the institute's ability to continue and expand. In August of 1983 CATS moved into its new headquarters—a facility five times larger than its previous home.

On July 4th, 2012, the building that has housed CATS for almost three decades, located at 1100 W. Randol Mill Rd. suffered a devastating fire. The flames destroyed the stage where so many young people realized their performing arts dreams.  The blaze went to three alarms before firefighters could get it under control and the building has suffered extensive smoke and water damage.  It is hard to see the extent of the damage from the outside of the building, but the inside is a horrible mess. No one was inside the building and no firefighters were harmed as they battled the fire, which was difficult to reach.  CATS staff, students and alumni and their families supported one another into the night as smoke billowed from the building. Investigators have not yet determined the cause of the fire.

Undeterred by this tragedy, on Saturday, July 7, the prestigious CATS SummerStars program, an intensive musical theatre camp for teens,  began as originally scheduled, and culminated in a fully produced musical production of  "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee."  CATS received production support from the community, including Theatre Arlington, SCM Real Estate Services, The Rotary Club of Arlington, and United Methodist Church.

CATS has set up offices and classrooms in a wonderful downtown Arlington building at 602 E. South Street.  CATS has signed a temporary lease to the building, with negotiations underway to secure the building for our long-term use.
Our summer schedule of camps and classes has continued without interruption, and our Fall schedule of classes is online, with registration beginning August, 10, 2012.  We will produce our 2012-2013 season of family friendly shows in rented and borrowed facilities.  Our intention is to continue serving our community for decades to come!

Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 January 2013 14:48