When Robyn Flatt founded Dallas Children’s Theater (DCT) in 1984, she envisioned a community of artists… actors, directors, designers, technicians and educators, all coming together to work toward the common goal of producing high quality theater. She wanted these artists to be able to flex their creative muscles, to be appreciated and to be nurtured. Over the past 37 years, that is exactly what has happened.
One such artist, who has been a remarkable team player for DCT since its inception, is Nancy Schaeffer. She has been recognized nationally as a strong director, teacher, actress, choreographer, and is a strong member of the senior staff. She is valued in the field and has been instrumental in shaping the vision and direction of the organization since its earliest days when DCT operated out of Withers Elementary. Now in 2020, Schaeffer formally steps into a new role as the organization’s Artistic Director.
Flatt recently shared the news with key stakeholders, “It is my delight to announce the promotion of our own multi-talented Nancy Schaeffer to the position of Artistic Director,” Flatt said.
Flatt added, “Nancy is an award-winning theatrical director who has mounted a wide variety of productions in the last 36 years, thrilling DCT audiences of all ages. She has charmed the very young with her productions of GO, DOG, GO! and SEUSSICAL THE MUSICAL. She has captivated elementary-aged children and their parents with the majesty and suspense of plays like Disney’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST; GOOSEBUMPS; and ELLA ENCHANTED: THE MUSICAL. She has challenged teen audiences with new works such as Linda Daugherty’s THE SECRET LIFE OF GIRLS and dont u luv me? Nancy not only directs, but she choreographs and coaches actors – whether seasoned professionals or student performers – melding them into powerful storytelling ensembles. She soars whether interpreting the production of a new script or breathing fresh life into a timeworn favorite. She truly stands tall with the best group of directors in the country.”
DCT Board President, Todd Ranta, agrees. “We are excited,” he said, “about the creativity, wisdom and energy that Nancy Schaeffer brings to DCT. I’ve had the honor of witnessing her talents over the many years. She is perfectly prepared to officially assume the role of Artistic Director, and we look forward to the imaginative journey that her leadership will take us on as we continue to advance forward.”
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Schaeffer’s association with DCT dates to its beginning days in 1984 when she was not only a leading actress in many productions, but also took on the administration of its fledgling school of theater classes.
With her energy and expertise, DCT’s school has grown to become a highly sought-after Academy serving up to 4,000 students a year, and now including a vibrant musical theater conservatory as well as the Blue Pegasus Players classes for children with sensory sensitivities. In addition to her new duties as Artistic Director, Schaeffer will continue to lead the Education Department while a search begins for her successor.
When the COVID crisis hit in 2020, Schaeffer immediately responded with a determination to continue to serve every child. By pivoting DCT’s entire Academy program into virtual experiences, Schaeffer made it possible for young theater students to sustain their creative growth by continuing their studies via ZOOM while remaining under the guidance of their original classroom teaching artists.
“I love Dallas Children’s Theater,” said Schaeffer, “and I love to create plays and programming for the young people and families of our community. I am so honored to be a part of an organization that highly values our most important citizens – our children.” Schaeffer continued, “What a joy to be able to work with such an amazing and dedicated group of artists and creators. Robyn Flatt has planted so many seeds of love and connection that will continue to grow and thrive for years to come. Thanks to her investment and care, our children and teens are will be able to take advantage of live theater at their DCT home for years to come.”
“There is no doubt in my mind,” said Flatt, “that Nancy Schaeffer, who has developed so many of DCT’s very successful educational programs, and who has tirelessly contributed to our growth and recognition as a national leader in theater for youth, has earned formal elevation to the role of Artistic Director.”
Schaeffer will assume her new role on December 1.