NWCT was founded in 1993 by three visionary leaders who saw a need for more arts and educational programming for youth in the Portland area. From humble beginnings lead by dedicated volunteers, NWCT began its first season by offering classes to a handful of students, and producing their first show, Winnie-the-Pooh. According to NWCT Founder and Managing Director Judy Kafoury, “We started with a desk, a phone, and $6000 in the bank.  By the end of the year, the company had grossed over $275,000.  We knew we were here to stay." Here is more about the NWCT founders:
Diane Carlsen (Founder, Board Member) holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and a Masters of Education. She taught 30 years at Parkrose School District where she served on district committees for strategic planning, multicultural awareness and early childhood education. She is a former site council member in her building, and has experience as a theater and education advisor for the PTA.
Judy Kafoury (Founder, Managing Director) holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and a Master of Social Work from Portland State University. She created child development specialist programs for Portland Public Schools, helped found the Multnomah County Child Development Center and the Youth Justice Clinic, and was director of marketing and development for the Portland Civic Theater.

Carolyn Newsom (Founder, Board Member) holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology from Warner Pacific College. An accomplished pianist, Carolyn has served as musical director for many NWCT shows and numerous local theatrical productions. She taught theater arts for Portland Public Schools, Portland Repertory Theater, and Portland Civic Theater.
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