Dallas Children's Theater Blog

Astonishing Kids And Families With The Fun of Broadway-Like Plays and A Lot More!

Robyn Flatt Honored by American Alliance for Theatre and Education for Contributions to Theatre for Young Audiences

RobynHeadshot'11Robyn Flatt, Co-Founder and Executive Artistic Director of Dallas Children’s Theater (DCT), has been awarded the prestigious Orlin Corey Award for Artistic Excellence from the American Alliance for Theatre and Education (AATE). Flatt has directed and championed the development of over 200 productions of plays for young people, a milestone artistic achievement and contribution to theatre for young audiences. She will be presented with the award at the AATE National Conference in Boston in late July 2016.

“It’s an honor to be recognized for my work in the arts community, and my work with children in particular,” said Flatt. “Inspiring young people through different theater experiences has been a gift to me, and I am truly proud to be able to use my love of this amazing art form to inspire creativity in children.”

Flatt has extensive experience with both theater and education.  She was the Assistant Artistic Director and Director of Theater-in-the-Parks during her tenure as a member of the resident company at Dallas Theater Center from the early 1960’s to the early 80’s. in the 70’s and early 80’s. For more than 30 years at DCT, she has fostered a close relationship between theater and education by making both a priority in all of the theater’s programming.

Most recently, Flatt has been championing DCT SHOWTIME, a program made possible by a grant from the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs Cultural Vitality Program. This program is an opportunity for kids who have had scarce experience with the arts to meet and learn from professional actors and get a preview of an upcoming show.  DCT staff and actors go on the road to area Dallas Public Libraries and other community meeting places. Actors arrive in costume with props from a DCT mainstage production and perform selected scenes before encouraging children to touch and ask questions about props, costumes, and things they noticed the actors say and do.

Flatt also developed Curtains Up On Reading, a highly successful program for integrating the arts into core curriculum in Dallas area schools. As part of this immersive program, DCT teaching artists travel to local elementary and middle schools to use elements of the arts to help children who may be struggling with the traditional teaching of math, history, English or other subjects. Research wholeheartedly supports such an approach, particularly for children of color and those with learning differences.

As a professional actor, director, and lighting designer in Dallas, Flatt has directed many major works in the youth theater canon including To Kill A Mockingbird, And Then They Came For Me, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and The Miracle Worker. She has also pushed for creation of five world premiere musical adaptations of books by internationally renowned author/illustrator Steven Kellogg, including his popular titles The Island of the Skog, The Three Sillies, and Pinkerton!. To increase appreciation and understanding of the racial diversity in Dallas, she has encouraged the development of and directed new scripts including Mariachi Girl, Anansi the Spiderman, Mufaro’s Beautiful Daugthers, and The Rememberer.

Flatt served on the board of AATE (Vice President/1998-2001) and ASSITEJ/USA (TYA/USA) from 1995-2001. She was inducted into the college of Fellows for the Southwest Theater Association in 1999 and the College of Fellows of American Theater in 2007 (serving on its Executive Committee for two years). She joined the Board of the Children’s Theatre Foundation of America in 2003 and served as Treasurer for six years.

Orlin Corey Award for Artistic Excellence

This award celebrates the full spectrum of artists in the field, including, but not limited to, directors, designers, actors, choreographers, composers, puppeteers and videographers. It honors  a particular artistic achievement or a unique artistic contribution to theatre for young audiences. It can be presented at any time in an artist’s career.

About AATE

AATE, among the most recognized arts education organizations, works to ensure that every young person experiences quality theatre arts in their lives provided by proficient, talented artists and educators. AATE is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Through its membership of theatre artists, inservice and pre-service teachers, professors, directors, scholars and playwrights, AATE serves more than a million students in 48 U.S. states and 19 countries worldwide.

About Dallas Children’s Theater

Dallas Children’s Theater features professional actors performing for an annual audience of 250,000 young people and their families through mainstage productions (12 in the 2015-16 season), a national touring company, and an arts-in-education program.  As the only major organization in Dallas focusing solely on youth and family theater, DCT builds bridges of understanding between generations and cultures, instilling an early appreciation of literature, art and the performing arts in tomorrow’s artists and patrons.


A Dramatic Summer For The Kids Thanks To Dallas Children’s Theater

As a mom, I have a very intimate love/hate relationship with summer break. I’m glad my kids have time to recharge for the next school year, but they also need a place to unload all their energy! Finding valuable experiences in places around the neighborhood is important to me, and I want it to be worth my kids’ time. This summer, Dallas Children’s Theater has a brand new opportunity to do just that, so I have to share with fellow parents.

Kids with Kevin Pellicone; photo by Craig LynchThe program is called DCT SHOWTIME. It’s an opportunity for kids to experience a special brand of theater at a location that is hopefully right in your own neighborhood or nearby. They’ll be at select branches of the Dallas Public Library and other community meeting locations here in Dallas, throughout the entire summer. Yes—they will be hosting DCT SHOWTIME until September!

Actors from their shows PINKALICIOUS, THE MUSICAL and MUFARO’S BEAUTIFUL DAUGHTERS: AN AFRICAN TALE will come in full costume to teach about theater. They’ll act out a few scenes from the show (as a preview of what kids will see when they actually come see the full play), and then the session will morph into a completely interactive experience. Kids will work with the actors to learn a song and dance from the show; they’ll have the opportunity to touch and actually use some of the props; and they’ll even create their own story with the help of the professional actors. After the program ends, all the kids who participate even get a voucher for a free ticket to the show!

For years, DCT has provided a similar program called DCT Storytime. This program also takes place at local libraries and guides kids through a different kind of “page to stage” learning experience. Graduate-level theater students who intern at DCT over the summer are tasked with reading a storybook to kids. Then the entire group talks about and dissects the book, before creating an all-new story as a group. Interns take costumes along for this program so kids can really get into character. It’s pretty special seeing shy kids or those who haven’t been around theater suddenly coming out of their shell.

Interested crowd; photo by Craig Lynch

Believe me, I know activities have to be fun to really pull my kids away from this game or that device. DCT knows this too, so that’s why they wanted me to share a little information on why they started these programs.

According to their website, DCT SHOWTIME and DCT Storytime are all about exposing kids to the arts in general, and theater in particular. Robyn Flatt started the theater and is their Executive Artistic Director. She says that participating in the arts is important for kids because it inspires curiosity and learning in all other areas of their lives. Theater teaches our kids skills like sharing emotions in different ways, being able to focus for long periods of time, team building, and decision making. As a parent, these are absolutely the kinds of skills I want my kids to be learning because those are the ones that will help them succeed later in life when I can’t be there to remind them about stuff like their homework.

Kids with Faye Austin; photo by Craig LynchAs it turns out, the new program is funded by the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs. DCT has a grant from the Cultural Vitality Program that is making all of these promotional appearances and this teaching possible. The city’s Office of Cultural Affairs is focused on building new audiences, and DCT SHOWTIME is helping to increase access to theater for a much broader range of children and families in our city. I think by making sure this program happens in easily accessible locations, like libraries, that DCT is doing right by those who haven’t ever been able to attend a full-length musical.

Planning summer activities can be time consuming sometimes, but I would really like my kids to try out DCT SHOWTIME or DCT Storytime for that matter. I love how interactive they are meant to be, and that my boys will be exposed to something they haven’t tried out yet. I’ll definitely follow along with DCT as the summer progresses, and they host more and more of these sessions.

If you’re interested in learning more about DCT SHOWTIME or DCT Storytime as an activity for your family to participate in, look for updates posted to dct.org/summershowtime. But for your convenience, I’ve added a list of all their dates below.




Sherry Ward is a mom and actress living in DFW. She has two boys, ages 9 and 7.


DCT SHOWTIME promotional appearance dates


Date Time Show Location Address
6/21/2016 3:00pm Pinkalcious, the Musical Highland Hills 6200 Bonnie View Road, Dallas, TX 75241
6/22/2016 3:30pm Pinkalcious, the Musical Bachman Lake 9480 Webb Chapel Rd., Dallas, TX 75220
6/30/2016 3:00pm Pinkalcious, the Musical Audelia Rd (Large Meeting Room) 10045 Audelia, Dallas, TX 75238
7/1/2016 3:00pm Pinkalcious, the Musical Hampton-Illinois (Black Box) 2951 South Hampton, Dallas, TX 75224
7/5/2016 2:00pm Pinkalcious, the Musical Lochwood (Black Box) 11221 Lochwood, Dallas, TX 75218
9/2/2016 6:30pm Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale Townview School 201 E. 8th Street, Dallas, TX 75203
9/8/2016 10:30am Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale Highland Hills 6200 Bonnie View Road, Dallas, TX 75241
9/20/2016 3:30pm Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale Audelia Rd 10045 Audelia, Dallas, TX 75238
9/21/2016 4:00pm Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale Lochwood 11221 Lochwood, Dallas, TX 75218


DCT Storytime promotional appearance dates


Date Time Event Location Address
6/13/2016 11:00am Canterra Park Apts. 9750 Royal Lane, Dallas 75231
6/13/2016 1:30pm Arcadia Park 1302 N. Justin Ave., Dallas 75211
6/14/2016 11:00am Audelia Rd 10045 Audelia, Dallas, TX 75238
6/14/2016 1:30pm Timberglen 18505 Midway, Dallas 75287
6/15/2016 11:00am Jonsson Central Library 1515 Young, 2nd Fl, Dallas 75201
6/15/2016 1:30pm White Rock Hills 9150 Ferguson Road, Dallas, 75228
6/16/2016 11:00am Kleberg-Rylie 1301 Edd Rd., Dallas 75253
6/16/2016 1:30pm Skillman/Southwestern 5707 Skillman, Dallas 75206
6/20/2016 11:00am Greenville Apts. 5759 Pineland Dr., Dallas 75231
6/20/2016 1:30pm Heart House Wildflower 8515 Park Lane#307, Dallas75231
6/21/2016 11:00am Regal Villa Apts. 9501 Brockbank Dr., 75220
6/21/2016 1:30pm MLK Branch 2922 MLK Jr. Blvd., Dallas, TX 75215
6/22/2016 11:00am North Oak Cliff 302 W. 10th St.,   Dallas, TX 75208
6/22/2016 2:00pm Park Forest 3421 Forest Lane, Dallas, TX 75234
6/23/2016 11:00am North Oak Cliff 302 W. 10th St.,   Dallas, TX 75208
6/23/2016 1:30pm Polk Wisdom 7151 Library Ln., Dallas, TX 75232
6/24/2016 11:30am Dallas West 2332 Singleton Blvd, Dallas 75212
6/24/2016 1:30pm Skyline 6006 Everglade Rd. Dallas, TX 75227
6/28/2016 11:00am Prairie Creek 9609 Lake June Rd., Dallas, TX 75217
6/28/2016 1:30pm Pleasant Grove 7310 Lake June Rd., Dallas, TX 75217
6/29/2016 11:00am Forest Green 9015 Forest Ln., Dallas, 75243
6/29/2016 1:30pm Mountain Creek 6102 Mountain Creek Pkwy., Dallas, TX
6/30/2016 1:30pm Renner Frankfort 6400 Frankford Rd., Dallas, TX 75252
7/5/2016 11:00am Dunbar Lancaster-Kiest 2008 E. Kiest Blvd., Dallas, TX 75216
7/5/2016 1:30pm Fretz Park 6990 Belt Line Rd., Dallas, TX 75254
7/6/2016 11:00am Hampton-Illinois 2951 S. Hampton Rd, Dallas 75224
7/6/2016 1:00pm Trinity River Mission 2060 Singleton Blvd., Suite #104, Dallas, 75212
7/7/2016 11:00am Oak Lawn 4100 Cedar Springs Rd., Dallas, 75219
7/7/2016 1:30pm Lochwood 11221 Lochwood, Dallas 75218


Nancy Schaeffer’s Love of Pink…and Green

Nancy Schaeffer; image courtesty of DCT

For the past decade Pinkalicious, the sassy and outspoken character created by sisters Victoria and Elizabeth Kann, has been entertaining young girls through her antics and imagination. Through her love of pink and many hard-learned lessons, Pinkalicious Pinkerton constantly reminds readers why it is important to think before you act.

cut Brussels sprouts; image courtesy of DCTShow Director Nancy Schaeffer is a big fan of the joy in Pinkalicious’ heart, but knows that a balanced diet beats eating too many of Pinkalicious’ pink cupcakes any day. As Schaeffer is prepping veggies, she talks about the importance of everyone eating a rainbow of colorful food. She said, “One of DCT’s doctor friends suggests putting it in these terms: If you have a pet, you want to feed your pet healthy food, and occasionally a few treats.  So do the same for yourself—healthy food and a few treats.”

She knows dessert is great, but doesn’t like eating sweets when she’s too hungryNancy Schaeffer chopping sweet potato; image courtesy of DCT because it upsets her stomach. The fix? “I’d rather eat something healthy then have some treats,” said Schaeffer.

“Lunch is my favorite meal of the day. I love lettuce when it’s in a good salad, and I usually have one for lunch,” said Schaeffer, whose favorite foods include sweet potatoes, roasted veggies, and, yes, a piece of dark chocolate for that something sweet. While Nancy hopes everyone will come see PINKALICIOUS, THE MUSICAL (and enjoy a cupcake) while at the theater, she also wanted to share one of her favorite healthy recipes with you. Enjoy!


Nancy’s Roasted Veggies

Feeds family of 4

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes


3 heads broccoli

2 medium-sized sweet potatoes

1 pound Brussels sprouts

8 ounces sliced mushrooms (optional)

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

ingredients; image courtesy of DCTPreheat oven to 400°. Cover two (2) baking sheets in foil. Peel skin off sweet potatoes (optional) and cut into 1″ cubes. Rinse Brussels sprouts and broccoli florets in cool water. Cut Brussels sprouts in half. Trim broccoli florets into bite-sized pieces. Spread all across across baking sheets. Add olive oil, salt, and pepper, and mix. Cover with foil.



Roast veggies on baking sheet in 400° oven for 23 minutes. Take baking sheet finished veggies; image courtesy of DCTout of oven and remove foil. Add sliced mushrooms to veggie mix and stir. Recover baking sheet with foil. Cook for additional 7 minutes.

Remove baking sheets from oven, and let veggies cool for 5 minutes before serving.


275x275_pinkPINKALICIOUS, THE MUSICAL runs Now through – July 17, 2016. Recommended for ages 5 and up. Tickets and more information: dct.org/plays/

Show Title Sponsor, Children’s Health, Dishes About Ways to Promote Healthy Eating Among Children

Title-sponsor_childrens health_new

When kids get hungry and it isn’t meal time, what should they do?

First, it is important to identify if your child is actually hungry. Sometimes, we eat for reasons other than hunger. Sometimes, we eat out of boredom, stress, or celebration.

So, you can take several routes.

1) If it is close to meal time, you can explain that meal time is 30 minutes away and redirect the child to finish homework, help set the table, or play outside until meal time.

2) You can offer a healthy snack choice. If your child refuses the healthy snack, that could be a clue that your child wasn’t truly hungry.

As a parent, you know your child. You may be clued in to some hunger or boredom cues that they are not able to recognize. So, parents have a great opportunity to be healthy role models for their children. We get to teach our children about hunger cues versus eating out of boredom or emotion. You can also seek help with your child’s healthy eating by making an appointment with one of our Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) and visiting Children’s Nutrition Clinic. We have a helpful staff with RDNs that can help you and your family navigate eating in a healthy way. You can visit our website for more information.

What if a parent puts something on a child’s plate that looks scary and gross?

I would encourage parents to be role models and teachers. Take your child to the grocery store or farmer’s market. Let your children help select a food they want to try. Let your child help you prepare foods with age-appropriate kitchen tasks. Teach your children about the food, where it comes from, and how to prepare it. That makes new foods more familiar and less scary.

Secondly, be a healthy role model by enjoying the food with your child. All parents are role models for their children, so let your child see you eat the food and enjoy it.

Third, try offering new foods in different ways. Offer the food cooked in different ways: steamed, roasted, in a soup, with cheese, or raw. Then, you can have the child give their preference on how they most enjoy the food. This changes the question from if your child will or will not eat the food to how they prefer to eat the food. So, we still get the healthy behavior of eating a variety of healthy foods, and your child has a choice that honors their preferences.

Fourth, we want to make sure we are offering new foods in a neutral manner. We should avoid pressuring or forcing our children to clean their plate if they state they are full. Children are usually good at recognizing when they are full. Trying new foods should be a positive experience. Our goal is to encourage healthy eating in a pleasant environment.

What happens to the body when kids consume too much sugar versus what happens when kids eat healthy food?

When we eat foods high in added sugar or fat, we consume many “empty calories.” Empty-calorie foods are high in calories and low in nutrients like vitamins and minerals.

Food is our fuel. It gives us energy to grow, learn, and play. We want to fuel our bodies in a healthy way, so we can grow to be strong and healthy. Eating healthy means including nutrient-dense foods, which are packed with vitamins and minerals. We know that eating a healthy, balanced diet fuels our body in a healthy way and can prevent disease later in life.

What are some unexpected sources of too much sugar, fat, etc., something we might not realize is potentially bad for us?

_KA16279I call these foods “sneaky foods.” We may think we are making healthy choices when we are consuming sneaky sources of sugar. I think most people are surprised that sports drinks, flavored waters, and juices are high in sugar. It is recommended that we limit sugary beverages, like juice, to less than or equal to 4 ounces per day. I encourage families to offer whole fruits and vegetables instead of juices because whole foods have fiber. Fiber helps with satiety (the feeling of fullness), can help lower cholesterol, and helps with ease and regularity of bowel movements.

What are some favorite foods of you and your doctors?

Since it is spring, I love to use the fresh, seasonal produce. I also love putting fruits in my salad. For people that have a sweet tooth adding fruits to salad can be an appealing way to enjoy eating your fruits and veggies! I really love putting strawberries and blueberries in a spinach salad. You can dress it lightly with a vinaigrette-style salad dressing. I like to add cheese, like feta. You can add protein by adding nuts or chicken, and your salad becomes a great, nutrient-dense meal.

How do you explain the idea of moderation?

I use the analogy of a stoplight to discuss moderation. There are some food choices that are high in added sugar, saturated fats, or trans-fats, and those are “red-light foods.” We stop at a red light, so we do the same with these foods. We stop eating these foods on a daily basis and choose these foods very rarely. The next category is “yellow-light foods.” They are foods that we eat occasionally. The third category is “green-light foods.” These foods are nutrient-dense foods that are high in vitamins and minerals. They are healthy foods that we should choose to eat daily. They are “go foods,” so eat and enjoy these foods every day!

If you want more information about the stoplight foods and other ways to eat in moderation and overall health, ask your doctor about referring your family to the Nutrition Clinic.

Denon Stacy, MS, RD, CSP, LD Clinical Dietician at Children’s Health

Denon Stacy, MS, RD, CSP, LD
Clinical Dietician at Children’s Health

Children’s Health is a proud sponsor of PINKALICIOUS, THE MUSICAL running NOW through July 17 at Dallas Children’s Theater. For ticket information, go to dct.org.

275x275_pinkAbout the show: When Pinkalicious doesn’t heed her parents’ warnings and indulges in too many pink goodies, she has to make some healthy choices to fight off a bad case of Pinkititis. Pinkalicious will finally eat a little green, her little brother will no longer be blue, and all kids will learn to show their true colors! The popular book pops off the stage in this high-energy musical treat that kids will love even more than pink cupcakes!



Young designers explore the power of pink!

“PINKALICIOUS is pure joy,” says director Nancy Schaeffer. In preparation for a pinkatastic run, DCT Costume Designer Lyle Huchton and Nancy workedimage 1 with a class of young designers to create the ultimate costumes for the characters representing the cupcake dreams of Pinkalicious as she is in the throes of Pinkititis.

Here’s how they recall the fun session:

Why do you think the young designers wanted to take the class? 

NANCY: There were kids in the class who had taken acting classes, and I think they wanted to try something new and to use their visual art creativity.  Some really loved the book and the characters and the concepts of PINKALICIOUS as well.  

LYLE: All the kids who took the class seemed really interested in costume design and learning how to sew. 

Describe the activity. 

LYLE: The challenge was to re-design the Dancing Cupcakes for image 2PINKALICIOUS. One cupcake was left as is with just some trim added to it. Two were designed from pictures I provided them of actual cupcakes. And one was a group design idea/concept.

NANCY: There was a great combination of individual and group ideas and sharing.  That is what theater is all about after all!

What do you think the participants got out of the class? 

LYLE: The designers were taught basic hand sewing techniques. They also were taught how to identify certain types of fabric, and the importance of idea collaboration.

Nancy: I think Lyle was inspired by the kids — as usual.  These kids have so much to offer us! 

Both agreed their favorite part was on the last day of the class. The students image 3gave their parents a presentation which included describing the cupcakes, sharing what they named the cupcakes and talking about what each one of them contributed to the end product. They sounded like little designers!

Lyle added, “The cupcake names are Cherry Vanilla Twist, Strawberry Rose Sparkle, Pink Velvet Glitter Surprise, and Pink Peppermint Polka-Dot Swirl.”

275x275_pinkThere’s no limit to young dreams and imaginations, and PINKALICIOUS packs a world of pink wonder into a musical that will be so much fun, you’ll never forget it or its life lessons. Check out PINKALICIOUS at DCT June 17 – July 17. For tickets, go to dct.org.