The Willow Bend Center for the Arts home of North Texas Performing Arts and Plano Children’s Theatre breaks ground at the Shops at Willow Bend on Wednesday, March 15th, from 5-7 p.m.  In summer 2017, The Plano Children’s Theatre, the flagship of the North Texas Performing Arts family of theatres, has announced that it will be moving its operations to The Shops at Willow Bend, Plano’s premiere shopping experience. The theatres will be located on the upper level near Dillard’s. The Plano Children’s Theatre is scheduled to open at the mall June, 2017 and will be offering a full program of art, drama, dance and vocal classes and performances for youth ages 3 to 18.

The “Willow Bend Center of the Arts” will house two “mainstage” theatres, two “black box” theatres, and five rehearsal studios, and a dance studio as well as a set build and costume shop and NTPA offices in the approximately 22,000-square-feet of space.

The groundbreaking event takes place at the Dillard’s Court (on the Lower Level in the Mall in front of Dillards) and will feature a very special sponsorship announcement, as well as an announcement of a very special recognition of national prominence that is being awarded a PCT sponsor in support of this project.  The program will feature comments from City of Plano City Council Members and representatives from the Shops at Willow Bend, Starwood Retail Group and Neiman Marcus.  The event will kick-off with a short reception beginning at 5PM with short program to begin at 6PM.  There will be two very special performances from casts of past and future Plano Children’s Theatre shows.   

“The level of support from our friends with The Shops at Willow Bend and the Starwood Retail Partners has been phenomenal, and we could not be more pleased with all they have done for us” says Darrell Rodenbaugh, President of the Governing Board of Directors.  “This move will fundamentally change the impact of NTPA and the performing arts for the North Dallas region.”

“With the additional space, NTPA will be able to offer a variety of programs here that are currently not possible because of lack of space,” says Founder and Executive Director, Sara Akers. “New programs will include advanced training for a career bound students, a season of Repertory Theatre Company productions featuring adults and youth in age appropriate roles, therapeutic dance, art, and a full dance program. “

The Plano Children’s Theatre is a not-for-profit Plano institution with a history of twenty-six years of fulfilling a mission to develop the character of youth through the performing arts.  Last year the North Texas Performing Arts trained over 4,000 students and is the largest youth arts organization in North Texas.  NTPA, the NTPA provides arts opportunities for ages three to 18 years old with a mission of developing the character of youth through arts education and family entertainment. NTPA and PCT use the arts to help youth develop the character of youth’s life-long traits including confidence, creativity, communication skills, teamwork, integrity and good citizenship. The organization currently has offerings in Plano, McKinney, Frisco, Fairview and Dallas and the mall facility will become its new headquarters.

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Cori Baker

Cori Baker is the former creative editor at Local Profile. She is an alumna of Plano Senior High School and graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a Bachelor's in Journalism and a minor...