City Lifestyle

Want to start a publication?

Learn More

Featured Article

Beyond the Stage

The Transformative Power of Investing in Arts Education

Article by Angi Burns

Photography by Magnolia Fire Photography, Serah Prince

Originally published in Plano City Lifestyle

Discover the Genesis Difference

Genesis Children's Theatre, located in the heart of Plano, has earned the respect of educators and directors all over Plano ISD, and acting professionals around DFW because they run the theatre in a professional, organized way, steeped in theatrical tradition that garners respect. Plano City Lifestyle sat down with the Founders, Neicole Woodall and Megan Demsky, to learn more about their program and how the community can support the organization. We are delighted to pass along the valuable insights gathered from our candid conversation.

Q: In what ways does the Genesis Children's Theatre contribute to the cultural fabric of Plano?

A: We have been proud members of our community for over 13 years. Our parents and families know that when they walk through the doors at Genesis, their student is going to be greeted by staff who know their child’s name, know who their child is, and are interested in their full well-being. Because we keep our class sizes small, intentionally, our students are more than just a dollar sign. Our families know that in this competitive world of children’s theatres, ours stands out because of the quality versus quantity mentality we have.

Q: How does investing in children's theatre contribute to the overall development and growth of young individuals?

A: Soft skills are becoming increasingly essential in the workplace and everyday life. Theatre provides an excellent way to develop them. Actors are constantly honing their emotional intelligence, and empathy, and learning how to work with all types of people from all types of backgrounds and world views. 

Successful theatre students also have great organizational abilities. Negotiating their schedules around rehearsals and performances requires exceptional time management.

Actors also have to think on a variety of different levels; embodying their characters while maintaining an external perspective demands high-level thinking. Actors are also exposed to new vocabulary, diverse perspectives, and challenging circumstances, requiring them to be well-rounded and adaptable.

We do a lot of “period pieces” so the students have to learn about history, from what they wore to how they would carry themselves physically, to colloquialisms, to political climates, all affecting what their characters are going through.

Q: Why do you think children's theatre plays a crucial role in enriching the cultural landscape of a community?

A: The arts help us to express ourselves, and more importantly, to FIND ourselves. Arts help to unify people. A playwright can start important conversations by putting a difficult subject into perspective by using comedy, a composer of a musical can unlock emotion just by creating that melody that strikes a chord inside you, a lyricist can write one line that is so poetic, and so accurate, it can blow your mind. It is the actor’s job to be able to get behind that line or lyric and bring it to life. Through that study, bringing truth to what is written on the page, these kids must look inside themselves to see what they relate to, emotionally or mentally. 

Q: What makes Genesis unique and so special?

A: There is something magical about our shows, our space, and the professional theatre makers we have on staff. Our directors are seasoned professionals and are unique because of their tenure in the business. 

I can’t tell you how many students have said, “Genesis is my second home.” So many kids find their “people” here and our kids are so great at welcoming new students to their second home. The most heartbreaking but beautiful thing we hear, and this is heavy, is “Genesis saved my life.” The impact of that statement is huge. We are a safety net, a place where all kids are welcome.

One hallmark at our theatre is our Ovation Award. This is given to any student who completes their sixth main stage show at Genesis. Our Executive Director, Neicole Woodall, gets up in front of the whole cast and their families and speaks to that student's transformative time at Genesis over those last 6 shows. It is a big honor for that student, lots of happy tears are shed, hugs are given, and pictures are taken. From then on, that student then has their picture on the wall and is recognized in our playbills. There is no cost or competition they must complete. It is our honor to recognize them on our wall. Our Standing Ovation award is for 20 main-stage productions. At the final bow for the show, Ms. Neicole comes out and addresses the audience and speaks to that student's growth over the past 20 main stage shows (which takes several years to complete) and the student is awarded with our Standing Ovation award. Their picture goes on our lobby wall, for all to see, and, as you can imagine, this is a big achievement, full of so much love and joy! 

Our MOST important tradition that we created and do for each show is called: Love Notes. This is the bow that ties up months worth of hard work and growth. At Genesis, we are a mentorship program disguised as a theatre, and love notes is one of our hallmark traditions. Before our closing show, we gather the whole cast and their families, and the director reads each student the handwritten Love Note they have prepared. These notes speak encouragement to our students, recognizing their growth through the show, and recognizing what specific things they have done on stage and off stage which deserve noticing and praise. We believe in the power of kind and encouraging words and that is how we run, not only our rehearsals, but also our theatre. We hold a high bar, but we hold it with respectful communication, always leading with encouragement and positivity. 

After seeing one of our student performances, many of our audience members remark: “That wasn’t just good children’s theatre...that was great THEATRE!”

Established in 2010, Genesis Children's Theatre started when the mother and daughter team of Neicole Woodall and Megan Demsky wanted to offer something new and exciting to the young actors in North Texas. 

Genesis produces around 6 to 7 shows a semester, and averages about 18-19 shows a year! Tuition covers everything the students need. No ticket purchase requirements and no costumes to purchase. As in the professional theatre, the job of costuming actors is the responsibility of the theatre and the director’s creative vision.

Funding is vital to maintain quality programming. Donors of all kinds are vital to the forward progress of these programs.

To support Genesis Children's Theatre please visit or call 972-599-3505.

  • Neicole Woodall and Megan Demsky, Owners of Genesis Children's Theatre

Businesses featured in this article