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Join the Plano Children’s Theatre as they celebrate its 25th Year and Silver Anniversary this year. A Plano institution and a not-for-profit 501(c)3, the theatre was founded in 1991 when it performed its very first production of Wizard of Oz at the Grace Presbyterian Church.

With a $1,500 donation from her parents and a dream, Founder and Executive Director Sara Akers fulfilled her mother’s dying wish that she “go start that little theatre.” Today, that theatre has grown beyond Plano, with operations in McKinney, Frisco and Dallas. Plano Children’s Theatre is the fastest growing theatre in Texas.

“My theatre classes as a child helped me learn and stay focused in school, and I wanted every child to have the same opportunity ” says Sara, “When we created this vision twenty five years ago, our hope was to allow any child anywhere the opportunity to learn and grow through the arts.”

The Early Years

In 1992, the founding board members included Sara’s sister, Rebecca Egelston Caso, Dick Anthony, and Lanny Wren. The first spring semester saw 50 students. By the summer there were 175, and by 1994, PCT was renting rehearsal space at 15th Street and Custer.

Space was tight in the early years. Parents had to wait outside and dance number were taught out in the parking lot. As the theatre expanded, it partnered with Plano Parks and Recreation in 1995, offering acting classes for youth and adults with special needs. To this day, it has remained the leading theatre in North Texas for children with special needs.

Today

The Plano Children’s Theatre focuses on developing the character of youth through experiential involvement in the production and performance process, and together with stage and performance skills, promotes life skills through its “10 Characters” including Teamwork, Respect, Leadership, Confidence, Discipline and Love for one another.

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With a generous grant from the City of Plano and other sponsors, Plano Children’s Theatre produced over thirty productions last year. Production titles included a rich tradition of family favorites such as: Disney’s Little Mermaid, Mary Poppins and Beauty and the Beast, and–courtesy of the older teens– Les Miserables, Romeo and Juliet, Julius Ceasar, and Urinetown. It all started with Sara Akers.

Sara Akers’ positive effect on the youth of our community has been recognized. Plano Children’s Theatre had the joy of announcing that Sara has been awarded the “2016 Athena Award” from the Plano Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, October 6th. The Athena Award is a high honor given to a woman who demonstrates outstanding service and dedication to the Plano community.

Silver Anniversary Celebration

planochildrenstheatre.org/special/25th-anniversary-havana-nights-gala

Wizard of Oz
Since it was created on the “Yellow Brick Road” some twenty five years ago, the Plano Children’s Theatre is producing Wizard of Oz, November 17-20, at the Plano Courtyard Theatre. The show features Founder and Executive Director, Sara Akers as “Auntie Em” and PCT’s new Managing Director Mike Mazur in the role of “Uncle Henry”. There will also be a special performance by PCT’s innovative “Therapeutic Drama” program made available for special needs children to help foster life skills.

Scrooge- The Musical
In December, PCT will present its annual gift to the community, Scrooge – The Musical to take place at the Courtyard Theatre December 15-18. In its sixth year of production, this program will feature professional and community talent and will be directed by Managing Director Mike Mazur who received his Masters in Musical Theatre from NYU before working on Broadway. A special Christmas musical with a heartwarming and entertaining message of rebirth and the lesson of kindness and generosity, PCT offers this production each year with reduced ticket pricing as its gift to the Plano community.

The Plano Children’s Theatre’s mission is to develop the character of youth through quality performing arts education and entertainment, and it has a vision to make the arts available to any child, irrespective of race, color, creed, sex, height or weight. It is a community theatre at its very best, made possible by volunteers and managed by professionals.

Happy Anniversary, PCT!

planochildrenstheatre.org

Alexandra Cronin

Alexandra Cronin is Local Profile's senior editor. She has been with the company since 2016. She loves great coffee, good food, and average wine.