Sata Egelston Akers, the founder of Plano Children’s Theater is set to retire and current officials gave their praise according to a Local Profile article from February 25 which reports
“Sara’s impact on the performing arts across North Texas has been profound, and her work has impacted thousands of families,” says NTPA’s Chief Executive Officer Darrell Rodenbaugh who has managed NTPA’s operations since 2015. “Sara is a gifted educator, counselor, leader, artist and dear friend. We wish her the very best of happiness as she moves into this next phase of her life.”
“Sara Akers has been a vital and creative contributor to Plano’s performing arts landscape, and we are so thankful for her leadership and impact over the past three decades,” said Plano mayor John Muns. “The city and entire North Texas region owe Sara a debt of gratitude for the many gifts she has shared with us. We are thrilled to honor her as she moves to the next chapter in her life.”
“Sara Akers has made an indelible impact on the arts in North Texas during her thirty-year career. She has ignited a passion for the arts within tens of thousands of children, encouraging them to reach their full potential.” says Katherine Wagner, Chief Executive Officer of the Business Council for the Arts. “There is no doubt that Sara has made our families and communities stronger and better through her vision, inspiration, determination and hard work. She is much loved for her heart and her contributions.”
Sara Akers’ wonderful and inspiring story that led to the creation of PCT is recounted in a Plano Magazine article from February 24. They say,
“After a successful production of “A Wizard of Oz” at Grace Presbyterian Church, Akers founded Plano Children’s Theatre in 1991 along with founding board members Rebecca Egelston Caso, Dick Anthony, and Lanny Wren.
After two years at Grace Presbyterian, the theatre opened a permanent facility at 15th Street & Custer Road. That facility was later expanded to incorporate two performance theatres and rehearsal studios.
In 2005, Plano Children’s Theatre began offering productions in McKinney. Later, it added productions in Fairview, Frisco, Dallas and Southlake. In 2017, thanks in large part to the fundraising and development efforts Akers collaborated with Rodenbaugh, the theater moved to Willow Bend Center of the Arts.
Plano Children’s Theatre was one of the first places dedicated to putting children on stage. It adopted a casting philosophy that any child could play any role. This included children from diverse backgrounds and those with disabilities.
Akers was one of the first to use drama as a therapy for students with disabilities. It has since become common practice across the country. Today her work continues through NTPA’s Starcatchers troupe, which offers adaptive performing arts programs for students with disabilities.”
Despite her retirement in PCT, Akers will be serving on NTPA as one of the board directors who is set to teach and direct in different branches of the NTPA.