kids encyclopedia robot

Dallas Children's Theater facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts

Dallas Children's Theater (DCT) is a professional theater organization based in Dallas, Texas, that focuses on producing theater for youth and families. It reaches an audience of 250,000 youth annually with its 9 main stage productions, national touring company, and education programs. TIME magazine named it one of the Top 5 theaters in the country performing for youth.


Robyn Flatt and Dennis Vincent founded DCT, a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization, in 1984. Since its opening, it has become the largest not-for-profit family theater in the Southwest, operating on an annual budget of more than $3 million. Its 11 annual productions are staged in the Rosewood Center for Family Arts. The Rosewood Center also houses its youth programming, including its theater academy and education programs such as “Curtains Up on Reading.”

DCT's staff works to increase the body of theater for youth. Its artistic staff has written, adapted, and/or staged more than 40 world premier plays and musicals since its opening in 1984. As of April 8, 2018 Dallas Children's Theater has presented 76 world premiers, performed 212 distinct tiles, 356 individual productions, 12,944 performances for 4,866,327 people. Notable productions include Yana Wana's Legend of the Bluebonnet, Teen Brain: The Musical, EAT (It's Not About Food), Treasure Island: Reimagined!, and Mariachi Girl. (All titles listed in “Production History.”) In addition to new works, its repertoire also includes well-known literary works, histories, biographies, fables, and other familiar stories.

DCT has been recognized by both TIME (magazine) and American Theater Magazines as one of the leading professional theaters in the United States. DCT is affiliated with the Actors’ Equity Association, the Theater Communication Group, ASSITEJ International (Theater for Young Audiences/USA), and the American Alliance for Theater and Education (AATE).

2019-20 Season Sponsors are: Texas Instruments, City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs, The Shubert Foundation, TACA, The William Randolph Hearst Foundation, Anonymous Family, The Carlson Foundation, March Family Foundation, and Hoblitzelle Foundation.

General Sponsors Include: The Rosewood Corporation, Vibeke Jarnum & Niels Anderskouv, Karen & Ken Travis, Anonymous Family, Lisa K Simmons, Elizabeth & Bart Showalter, Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau, The Theodore and Beulah Beasley Foundation, Inc., The Estate of Caroline Rose Hunt, and The Carl B. & Florence E. King Foundation.

Additional Support is Provided By: Texas Commission on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts, TXU Energy, Capital for Kids, Legacy Texas Bank, Frost Bank, Stephen M. Seay Foundation, Orien Levy Woolf & Dr. Jack Woolf Charitable Trust, The Eugene McDermott Foundation, Karen & Jim Wiley, The Hersh Foundation, Jennifer & Peter Altabef, Mickie & Jeff Bragalone, Holly & Tom Mayer and Maile & Charles Shea, Maintenance Inc., The Perot Foundation, Strake Foundation, Which Wich, and Green Mountain Energy, DCT's official renewable energy partner.

Sensory-Friendly Sponsors Include: The Melinda & Jim Johnson Family Charitable Fund, Fichtenbaum Charitable Trust, Chi Omega Christmas Market, The Sapphire Foundation, and DCT's Fall Family Party Contributors.

DCT's National Touring Sponsor is Neiman Marcus.

DCT offers educational and enrichment programs for children and teens in the Dallas Community. Programs include an annual national touring production that visits more than 50 cities every year; a student matinee performance series that allows underprivileged children and school programs to attend theatre performances at a reduced rate; an arts-in-education program entitled "Curtains Up on Reading;" academy classes for kids and teens; after school programs; and programs created for teens.

To engage young people in transformational theatrical experiences, DCT provides a professional season of diverse, quality productions for youth and families, year-round education and outreach programs, and a national touring company that travels to over 52 cities and 26 states each year.

DCT enriches the lives of over 250,000 children and families annually.

Executive Artistic Director Robyn Flatt

Robyn Flatt has served as the Executive Artistic Director of DCT since she co-founded the organization in 1984. In November 2008, she established the Baker Idea Institute, which holds annual symposia to address creativity and artistic expression in education.

Mrs. Flatt earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from Baylor University. She served as a member of the Resident Professional Company of the Dallas Theater Center for twenty years before founding DCT.

Flatt has served on the boards of the American Alliance for Theatre Education and the USA branch of the International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People (ASSITEJ/USA). She has received many honors and awards, including induction into the College of Fellows of American Theatre in 2007.

DCT Programs

DCT's Production Season offers plays (9 this season) for family audiences on an array of topics and themes, from favorite stories as Disney's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST and SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK LIVE! to work based on time-honored children's literature such as THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE. DCT opens the holiday with the favorite THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR CHRISTMAS SHOW and the charming classic LITTLE WOMEN. DCT offers musicals, dramas, puppet theater and everything in between to delight audiences of all ages. DCT also presents plays featuring issues of particular relevance to teens and their families, and reaches out again to the youngest audiences with BALLOONACY.

DCT on Tour travels throughout North America presenting the professional company to over 100,000 students and families in 60 cities coast-to-coast. The tour went international in 2006 when they represented the U.S. at the International Children's Arts Expo in Shanghai, China and in 2014-2015 when they had four stops in Ontario, Canada. OCT On Tour has played the JFK Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC and the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts in Santa Rsa, CA The tour has reached many under served children in rural and hard-to-reach places, such as Joplin, MO; Topeka, KS; Waco, TX; Klamath Falls, OR; Everett, WA and Anchorage, AK, to name but a few. Its first touring production premiered in 1996. Popular touring productions include "Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters", "Diary of a Worm, A Spider & a Fly", and "Flat Stanley." In 2009, "Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters" was designated as an NEA (National Endowment for the Arts) American Masterpieces Touring Artist for that year.

DCT's Student Matinee Performance Series annually reaches 50,000 students and teachers with weekday performances of DCT mainstage productions. While tickets are regularly anywhere from $15 to $30 each, schools pay no more than $9.50. Free online study guides help teachers to link students' theater experience with curriculum-related activities. DCT provides free and deeply discounted tickets to low-income "at-risk" children and families and to Title I schools. This year, DCT will also present matinee performances of DIARY OF A WORM, A SPIDER & A FLY at Moody Performance Hall. For the third year in partnership with DISD Fine Arts, the program has included 35 performances designed to ensure all 14,000 second graders are guaranteed a live theater experience at DCT.

The DCT Academy for Theater Arts offers year-round classes to over 2,000 young people, ages 3 1 /2 to 18. The spring and fall sessions last 11 weeks, with 350 students in 20 classes per session each. Classes include beginning to advanced theater arts and are taught by theater professionals with a focus on the development of imagination, communication skills, collaborative problemsolving and performance techniques. "Showbiz Summer offers over 50 classes. "The Teen Conservatory" offers exciting opportunities for older students. Scholarships are available.

Curtains Up on Reading is an in-school residency that integrates drama, literature, language arts, social studies and history. DCT artists collaborate with teachers in DISD elementary schools (up to 2,000 students) to incorporate drama into the core curriculum. Interdisciplinary units are designed and taught using a hands-on approach to enhancing students' understanding of the material, build enthusiasm for learning, and develop self-confidence. This is particularly effective in working with low-performing youth impeded by language barriers and learning difficulties. History comes alive through characterization and students' role development.

Curtains Up on Literacy is a partnership with Literacy Achieves (formerly VMLC-Vickery, West and Elm) that links adult literacy and pre-K children's classes with creative drama and professional theater performances in a free, cross-generational program for 30 to 40 families.

Teen Scene nurtures theater audiences and professionals of tomorrow by opening communication among teens, theater professionals and the community at large. It also provides teens with points of access to DCT productions and opportunities to engage in professional theater experiences. As a forum for young adults to collaborate and create together, the Teen Scene initiative provides a home base for lifelong learning.

After School and Summer Drama Classes benefit "at-risk" youth through after-school satellite programs. Students learn the creative process, teamwork and communications in an arts educational format taught by professional theater artists. A semester ends with a play written and based on the group's shared life experiences.

Community Engagement has grown DCT's audiences of color by 19.5% as a direct result of deliberate efforts such as DCT SHOWTIME (excerpts from the current mainstage lineup at 14 public libraries, 2 DISD schools and one City Park, totaling 17 performances) and our Neighborhood See-A-Play Date initiative which directly targets people living within our 10 mile radius who perhaps have never experienced live theater or appreciated its benefits. Combined with another program, DCT STORYTIME, DCT made appearances at 41 libraries and community groups in 2016-2017 alone. All of these programs are presented at no cost to participants.

Because 175,000+ DFW children with autism and other developmental disabilities struggle with sitting still, crowds, loud noises, darkness, and flashing lights, most can't access live theater. So, Dallas Children's Theater offers sensory-friendly play performances that feature a relaxed, welcoming environment; friendly, trained staff; affordable pricing; special pre- and post-show activities; reduced sound; increased lighting in seating area; and custom lighting plans to reduce harsh stage lighting. DCT also offers and specialized drama classes with low student-to-staff ratios and customized curriculum for students with developmental disabilities. Dallas Children's Theater's sensory-friendly drama experiences are proven to increase understanding of emotion, learning, and positive peer interaction for children with developmental disabilities.

Kathy Burks Theater of Puppetry Arts

Founded in 1973, the Kathy Burks Theater of Puppetry Arts has been affiliated with DCT since 1996. It uses all styles of puppetry, including traditional bridge and cabaret marionettes, hand puppets, shadow puppets, and Black Theatre rod puppets. Kathy Burks’ puppets are often featured in other DCT mainstage productions.

The Kathy Burks Theater of Puppetry Arts stores its collection of over 1,000 puppets, both new and antique, at DCT's Rosewood Center for Family Arts.


DCT productions began running at El Centro Community College in 1984, and continued to do so continuously until 2003. In 1987, with the support of The Rosewood Corporation and the Meadows Foundation, they moved their administrative offices and some performances to the Crescent Theater in Dallas.

In 2003 DCT moved from the Crescent Theater into the 58,000 sq. ft. Rosewood Center for Family Arts with the Baker Theater (seats 400) and Studio Theater (seats 150), five classrooms, community gathering room and space for costume, scenic, shops and storage.

Awards and recognition

  • 1986: DCT is awarded Winifred Ward Award for “Outstanding New Children’s Theater” by American Association of Theater for Youth
  • 1992: DCT is ranked #1 among Dallas cultural institutions by Cultural Affairs Commission review
  • 1993: DCT is honored as Professional Children's Theater of the Year by the Southwest Theater Association
  • 1994: DCT is voted "Best Arts Group in the City" by DallasChildmagazine reader poll
  • 1995: DCT is named "Best Children's Theater" in both DallasChild and "Best Family Entertainment" by Dallas Observer
  • 1996: DCT is ranked #1 by Texas Commission for the Arts in both Institutional and Arts Education categories
  • 2000: DCT's Linda Daugherty, resident playwright, is awarded the Bondermann Award for her play Bless Cricket, Crest Toothpaste, and Tommy Tune.
  • 2004: DCT is rated one of the Top Five children's theaters in the nation by TIME magazine (Vol. 164, No. 20)
  • 2010: DCT is honored when Executive Artistic Director, Robyn Flatt, is among national and local nominees for Texan of the Year by The Dallas Morning News
  • 2011: DCT is honored when resident playwright, Linda Daugherty, is among national and local nominees for Texan of the Year by The Dallas Morning News
  • 2013: DCT is selected by DallasChild Magazine readers as the Best Theater for Children in "Best For Families 2013" feature
kids search engine
Dallas Children's Theater Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.