Sara Egelston Akers headshot
Picture of Darrell Rodenbaugh, CEO, and Sara Akers, Vice President of Development and Founder of Plano Children's Theatre.
Darrell Rodenbaugh and Sara Akers pose with an awarenesses recipient at Celebration of Champions
NTPA staff pose for a picture at NTBCA Obelisk Awards Ceremony

It is with great gratitude that North Texas Performing Arts announces the retirement of the Founder of Plano Children’s Theatre and its Vice President of Community Outreach, SaraEgelston Akers.

Sara founded Plano Children’s Theatre over three decades ago and upon that foundation NTPA has become the become the largest youth theatre in the country. She was a visionary, employing the arts as a means to teach new lessons and life skills. Her work to employ drama as a means of therapy for students with disabilities made her a pioneer in a study that has since become mainstream, and through the Starcatchers program, a foundational element of NTPA. Sara oversaw the operations of the theatre from its founding through 2015, and has since been responsible for NTPA’s highly successful fundraising, community outreach and diversity efforts.

We will celebrate Sara through a series of events honoring her achievements and contributions including our upcoming AMP Award Ceremonies and a special event the evening of May 21 at Willow Bend Center of the Arts.

NTPA has established the “Sara Egelston Akers Legacy Fund” which will provide support for NTPA’s needs-based scholarships, enabling youth from all backgrounds and abilities to have access to the best-in-class performing arts experiences provided by North Texas Performing Arts. Contributions to the Legacy Fund will help ensure that Sara‘s legacy continues for years to come. Visit our website for more information and an overview of benefits and contribution options.

Donate to the Sara Egelston Akers Legacy Fund

Sara’s impact on the performing arts in North Texas has been profound, and her work has ignited the passion for the arts for tens of thousands of children for over thirty years. Her soft touch, ready laugh and heartfelt love for her students impact all that know her, and we are forever indebted to her for the legacy she has created. 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.”

– Darrell Rodenbaugh, NTPA Chief Executive Officer & Eight-Term Governing Board President

Sara’s heart and soul have created a stage that has been a home for so many of us over the last 30 years, where our children shine, our families grow, and our community flourishes. Her legacy will continue to inspire generations to come. Sara’s enthusiasm, love and grace have personally touched my family. We thank you, Sara, and we are looking forward to your next chapter!”

– Elly Marsh, Longest-Serving Board Member & Former Governing Board President

Sara’s passion for the arts and commitment to developing characters has had a profound impact on our NTPA community over the past 30 years. Growing up, she was my beloved director and role model, and I feel humbled to have had the opportunity to be in her shows as a child and also work for and alongside her for the past 10 years. Thank you, Sara, for your mentorship and for creating a “home” for me and so many families. I look forward to seeing where this next chapter in life takes you!”

– Lindsey Lederer, NTPA Vice President of Youth Theatres

Sara’s commitment to make the performing arts accessible to all families, regardless of their social or economic situation, has had a positive impact on many families, including mine. I am fortunate to have shared this incredible NTPA journey with Sara as she brought her vision to our stages. Happy Retirement and a job well done. You have secured a legacy for generations to come.”

– JoAnn Rodriguez, NTPA Governing Board Member, NTPA Diversity Equity & Inclusion Task Force Chairperson

“It’s been a true joy to work for and with Sara over the past 5 years. Since the day I met her, I have been in awe of the joy surrounding her presence. Nearly everyone who has been involved with NTPA has heard Sara‘s famous and infectious laughter. Her love for students is unmistakable and has driven her to build an incredible legacy that will go on to touch generations upon generations of young actors and families. Happy retirement, Sara! Thank you for your love, your joy and your legacy.”

– Lauren Boykin, NTPA Vice President of Sales & Marketing

“It has been such a gift to work with and learn from Sara Akers! Her commitment to making sure our shows are truly open to all speaks to our mission and our 10 Characters. Of all the things I have learned from Sara, the most lasting is her belief that theatre is not just a form of art, but an integral part of a community. Sara has made sure that everyone in the region knows and values what we bring to our community, and that is a great legacy.

– Mike Mazur, NTPA Plano Managing Director, Vice President & Head of School, NTPA Academy

Sara, on behalf of the tens of thousands of children across North Texas impacted by your vision, the over 115 currently serving members of our Board of Directors across our family of theatres, a loving staff, and a grateful community, thank you for your service, your dedication your leadership and your love!