June Podagrosi is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Child’s Play Touring Theatre. She is a magna cum laude graduate of Brooklyn College and received a Master's degree in Dance at the University of Illinois, where she was a featured soloist with the Beverly Blossom Dance Company. She founded the Downtown Performing Arts Center in Champaign and served as its Executive Director for three years. An advocate for children's theatre, June served on the Board of the Illinois Theatre Association as Children's Theatre Chairperson. She has sat on many arts-in-education panels for various conferences, including chairing the panel for the Midwest Arts Conference in Minneapolis. June has served as a Peer Review Panelist for both the National Endowment for the Arts Professional Theatre Program and the Illinois Arts Council's Arts-in-Education Program. She has also developed several strategic alliances on behalf of Child’s Play, including: “Kids For President” with the League of Women Voters; “Do the Write Thing!”, a violence prevention program with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office; and “Writing Our World!” (WOW!), a partnership with PovertyFighters.com that connected children around the world and benefitted micro lending in developing nations.
Victor Podagrosi – A Creative Legacy
Victor Podagrosi, the driving force behind Child's Play Touring Theatre, died of a heart attack on September 24, 1995 during a company board meeting. He was 41.
Victor dedicated his life, his art to validating the “voice” of children. Today, his voice lives on in these, his own words, which capture the magic of what was, is, and will continue to be Child’s Play:
“I think the heart of what we do is encouraging kids to view themselves as writers. Some times they pour their heart into what they write, and it turns out to be just one more piece of paper they bring home. The work chosen for one of our plays may be the first time a child’s work is chosen as exceptional. Schools have not been set up to achieve creative imagination. So much emphasis in school is on reading, but writing is just as important. This is a life’s work for us. It just doesn’t get boring. It is wonderful.”