About Dana Proulx-Willis

It was October 9, 1962 when the Cuban Missile Crisis ended and I began. As far as I know, the two items are unrelated. 

Dana Proulx-Willis I was born in Seattle Washington, far from Cuban Missiles. My father, Merle Proulx, was a pioneer in the computer field, and we moved a lot.

He wrapped up his position at Boeing and accepted one at Goddard Space Center in the other Washington—D.C., then later a programming position in Houston, Texas, and finally another in Dallas, Texas. By the time I was 8, we’d moved at least 6 times, and I just assumed that people weren’t allowed to live in any one place for longer than two years.

Imagine Dad’s surprise when, at 10, I asked him where we were moving to next. As it turned out, he’d been offered a position in Panama, but he turned it down. We ended up staying in Dallas and putting down roots.

When Mom didn’t have my brother and me already occupied, I spent a lot of time as a child watching movies, TV, and writing things; dreaming about someday. Someday I’ll be a famous singer and circus acrobat. Someday I’ll make movies with Robert Redford. Someday I’ll be a renowned martial artist, synchronized swimmer, naturalist, and world traveler… when I’m not making movies. With Robert Redford, of course.

Getting Serious

When I was 10, it hit me. When is someday? Isn’t today just yesterday’s someday? If I wanted any of these things to happen, I needed to get serious! Turn fantasies into plans, so plans could create my reality. The first thing I did was trim circus acrobat off my list—I still couldn’t turn a summersault.

I began taking classes in theater and dance, and sang with the school choir. In Jr. High I was active in speech and drama tournaments. My mother found The Arts Magnet High School at Booker T Washington in Dallas, and I was lucky enough to get accepted there. I majored in theater with an emphasis in mime, but took tap, modern and jazz dance and sang with the woman’s choir as well. We didn’t have a football team or cheerleaders at Arts, but we had a mime troupe, the jazz band, the lab singers… I knew I’d finally found my people!

I worked my way through college delivering singing balloon-o-grams in a chicken suit. My sense of humor had a huge growth spurt during that time, and I learned a lot about the roads and drivers of Dallas. Look for my memoirs as a singing chicken in an upcoming book, “Chicken Suit for the Soul”. I auditioned for every show and musical around, college and community theatre—I was even cast in some! 


One of my favorite memories of performing was the Foxtales tour in 1984-5. We went to schools all over Texas and performed in the Wolftrap International Children’s Festival at Wolftrap Farm Park in Virginia. No, it’s not about capturing small furry animals—it’s a wonderful theatrical venue in the woods with indoor and outdoor theaters. Their Children’s Festival is the Mecca of children’s theater!  Foxtales at Wolftrap—it seemed to fit. 

Dana form the Renaissance FestivalAfter college, I spent a year at the Bastrop Opera House where I performed in their Summer Stock shows and helped to create and open a new children’s theater program called First Act. I then relocated back to Dallas and began teaching after school drama clubs with the Dallas Theater Center and the Jr. Players Guild, and fell in love with igniting the theater torch of the next generation. 

I had trouble finding good children’s theater scripts, and began writing my own for many of my projects. I also supplemented my income by writing for magazines occasionally over the years. I headed up the children’s area at Scarborough Faire Renaissance Festival for five years, which included casting, writing, directing, performing and lots of improvising. The Trial of the Big Bad Wolf, part of Fairy Tale Courtroom, premiered at Scarborough Faire.

I continued to act in Dallas, everything from Shakespeare in the Park to Industrial films, and continued to do mime, creating both solo and mime troupe shows. I worked with several children’s theater groups in Dallas, including Capers for Kids, the Dallas Children’s Theater, and Young Audiences. I also continued to write, creating Cinderella vs. the Step Family and Shakespearian Shorts and launching those projects. I married my husband John in Autumn of 2000, and gave birth to our daughter Lauren in Summer 2002. 

Arts in Education, a Renewed Perspective

Having a family gave me renewed perspective on arts in education, and the lack thereof. My husband is active in local politics, and is an all-purpose Mr. Fix It. Whether it’s repairing a house, a car, restoring old antiques, revitalizing a city or creating an amazing meal, he can fix it! My daughter is into everything, and has that youthful enthusiasm for life that makes me smile.

They are both a source of inspiration to my writing, and continued motivation for me to grow in my field.

Dana and her friend the skeletonIn 2003 I had the opportunity to work with a Young Audiences and Wolftrap partnership and help begin the Dallas Wolftrap chapter. For me, this was coming full circle in many ways. I continued receiving training annually and became a Wolftrap teaching-artist trainer myself in 2008. They specialize in early childhood education through the arts.

Since then, I have also focused on the 21st Century After-School Programs, Every Child Ready To Read Initiative, the Dept. of Education’s Theater Project, SLANT 45, I have written theater curriculum for Dallas ISD, worked as an Integration Specialist in after-school programs, and I continue to foster arts in education in every way I can. 


And Now...

Today I spend my professional time teaching, writing, performing and directing, and my personal time with my family, traveling, reading, swimming, and balancing those lives. But if any of you who are reading this happen to know Robert Redford, tell him I’m still available to work on that movie project with him!

Dana Proulx-Willis


Fairy Tale Courtroom, published by Baker’s Plays,
   distributed also by Samuel French.
Shakespearian Shorts, Published by Player’s Press,
   Empire Publishing Co.
Cinderella vs. The Step Family, Published by Player’s
   Press, Empire Publishing Co.
Poem “Why Hurt?” published in anthologies Of Sunlight
   and Shadow and America at the Millineum

Study Breaks Magazine 1997
Itta:San Magazine 1996
Internal Arts Magazine Fine Arts columnist,
   Yoga columnist 1989-90

Professional Affiliations

Member: Texas Storytelling Assoc. 1988-1992
Member: Southwest Children’s Book Writers and
Member: Texas Educator’s Theater Assoc. 1999-present


• Bachelor of Fine Arts in Theater/ Secondary Education
   Certificate. English Minor. Southwest Texas State
   University, San Marcos, Texas 1986  
• Associates Degree in Music 1983, Brookhaven Community
   College, Dallas, Texas
• Arts Magnet High School at Booker T. Washington,
   Dallas, Texas 1980

Professional Experience

Performer: Mime, storytelling, artist in residence programs
Master Artist Trainer: Every Child Ready to Read Initiative
Master Artist Trainer: Wolftrap Early childhood education
   thru the arts
Integration Specialist: Working with Dallas ISD teachers
   and local working artists to teach core curriculum in
   Summer School programs
SLANT 45: Working with students to implement community
   outreach projects.
Dept. of Education Theatre Project: Working with DISD
   teachers and students to create student written shows
   integrating arts in education.
Thriving Minds Afterschool Programs: Using music,
   video, theater, writing, art, and curricular tie-ins to create
   student written final projects.
May- December 2007: Dallas ISD
Chairperson and writer for theater curriculum, writing for ages
   Kinder-5th Grade.
1988-1995: Scarborough Faire
Director of Children’s Theater, Performing Company Member,
May 1986- May 1987: Bastrop Opera House
Summer Stock Musical Theater actress, created children’s
   theater program First Act.

Awards, Certificates

Winner in Southwest Festival of New Plays at Stages Rep
   Theater of Houston 2000.
Certified Wolftrap Teaching Artist 2003, Master Trainer 2008

Theatrical Experience

• Toured with Mimeworks “What’s Yours is Mime” 1998-2001
Caper’s Studio Theater, Dallas Texas: Peter Cottontail-
• Toured Texas with the Southwest Renaissance Theatre
: Renaissance Dancer, improvisational actor,
   swordfighter, Madrigal singer
Six Flags over Texas (Dallas): Mime
Six Flags Astroworld (Houston): Mime, actress, dancer in
   the Feast Hall show
Shakespeare Festival of Dallas: Romeo and Juliet, dancer
Scarborough Faire Renaissance Festival 1988-1995
Bastrop Opera House, Bastrop Texas: Dracula- Mina
  Seward 1986
Wolftrap Farm Park, Virginia: Foxtales- Sonny Fox 1985
Texas Tour Foxtales: Sonny Fox 1984-85
Festival Theatre Dallas: Equus- Nurse, horse
Into the Woods, Garland Civic Theatre: Cinderella's Stepmother 2015
Mary Poppins - FUMC Garland: Mrs. Corey
Oral Fixation, Storyteller: "Partner in Crime" 2016


• Art Institute of Dallas 1999
• Astroworld, Houston 1994
• Brookhaven College 1983
• State Fair of Texas 1980
• Pepsi 1979
Kenneth Copeland Ministries 2001
• Literacy Now Campaign 1998
“Cotton Candy” 1979
• “White Lions” 1980
• “Tough Enough” 1981
“Dallas” 1978
• "Crisis at Central High"