BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Wade Dunford - President
Carilion Clinic LifeGuard 10
Jon Cornett-McKee - Vice President
Bank of America
Bruce Swanson - Treasurer
Portfolio Design Services LLC
Amber Lowery - Secretary
Roanoke Public Libraries
Virginia Western Community College
J. Thomas Bass
CITGO Petroleum Corp.
Caroline LaRocca Hammond
Caroline LaRocca Event Design
Youth Board Member, Student
Virginia Tech-Carilion School of Medicine
Independent Communications Consultant
Producing Artistic Directorbrett@virginiachildrenstheatre.org
Brett is thrilled to be entering his 6th season with VCT as we celebrate our 15th year of award-winning, professional theatre in the Valley! Before becoming P.A.D. in 2019 he served as Assistant Artistic Director & Director of Education since 2017. Brett is an experienced Musical Theatre professional (Producer, Music Director/ Conductor/ Pianist/ Vocal Coach, Theatre Educator and Performer), administrator and business person. He prides himself on inspiring his team to create an outstanding, top-notch theatrical experience for his students, collaborators and all involved. He currently resides in Roanoke full time, after moving to the area in 2017 from upstate New York. He received his Bachelor of Arts at SUNY Potsdam and The Crane School of Music, through the (SIIM) Student Initiated Interdepartmental Major, with a degree in Musical Theatre Arts with an emphasis in Music Direction. Brett has served as music director, vocal coach and teaching artist for the Tony Award-Winning Barrington Stage Company, Redhouse Arts Center, Syracuse Children’s Theatre, Bogardus Performing Arts Center, SUNY Potsdam’s Creative Arts Camp, PHCC Patriot Players, Roanoke City Schools and a variety of school systems throughout New York. Brett also served as the Educational Outreach Coordinator for The Award Winning Crane Opera Ensemble at SUNY Potsdam for two seasons. He also enjoys singing professionally throughout the Roanoke Valley and beyond!
Jeanne is a native of Charlottesville, Virginia and after traveling and moving all over, she embraced Roanoke as her home in 2008. Having worked in the non-profit industry for more than 20 years, she is well and truly dedicated to helping others and promoting arts & culture as an important method of educating our youth and adding benefit to our communities. She loves sharing the fabulousness of Virginia Children’s Theatre and helping families and children experience the joys of live arts. In addition to her non-profit work, Jeanne is an active community volunteer and serves as Vice President of the Kiwanis Club of Roanoke, the Roanoke City Library Foundation, and Greenvale School Foundation. In her off-hours Jeanne can frequently be found puttering in the garden, attending concerts, or drinking a glass of wine on the patio.
Director of Marketing & Public Relationspr@virginiachildrenstheatre.org
Lindsay is a Roanoke native and thrilled to be back in the Valley after living in Northern Virginia for the past 7 years. Prior to working with RCT, Lindsay was the publicist for the Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, D.C. While there, she managed all media outreach and coverage on both a local and national scale. Her greatest professional achievement to date was playing a part in clinching the Regional Theatre Tony Award for the Shakespeare Theatre Company in 2012. Before heading to D.C. she was the Public Relations Coordinator with Mill Mountain Theatre. When Lindsay isn't promoting and enjoying theatre, she runs the lifestyle blog Pursuit of Pink. Lindsay holds a Bachelor of Arts in Drama from UNCG.
Assistant Director of Educationassistant.email@example.com
Lana Huffington is a director, dramaturge and actor holding both Drama and History degrees, with a minor in American Sign Language, from the University at North Carolina at Greensboro. She has worked with various theatre companies throughout her educational career including SoHo Rep, Peppercorn Children's Theatre, and Springville Center for the Arts. She is incredibly excited to join the Virginia Children's Theatre team and get to know more about the Roanoke community.
Resident Stage Managerproduction@virginiachildrenstheatre.org
Emily is a Kansas and Oklahoma native who graduated from Oklahoma City University in 2021 with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre and Performance and minors in Stage Management and Directing. She found her love for theatre at a young age by performing in children’s shows at Topeka Civic Center and practicing scenes from Hannah Montana in her living room. In high school, she had the opportunity to perform in the 2016 Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Scotland in a show titled Dark of the Moon. That experience solidified her dream of pursuing theatre as a career and now she gets to live that dream as the Resident Stage Manager for VCT! Amidst her Type A personality and being the hangout scheduler of her friend group, Emily fell into her love for stage management her sophomore year of college. Since then, she has stage managed for shows such as Art, Clean Slate, Clowns, Lovers, and Women in Pants, and most recently, A Christmas Carol at Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma, whose production was recognized by the New York Times and the BBC. She also served as the Production Manager for the Festival of New Works 2021 at OCU. When she’s not doing theatre, she loves spending time with her rescue cat, Mocha, creating new spreads for her bullet journal, and watching Pixar movies.
Group Sales Managergroupsales@virginiachildrenstheatre.org
Laura grew up in Southern California and started her theatrical career at the age of 11 in OKLAHOMA! For the next 25 years, she performed professionally in musical theatre productions in CA, AZ, MT, and NV. With a BA in Education from Arizona State University and a MA in the Humanities from Cal State University Dominguez Hills, she began a new career in arts administration. Laura served as the Director of Arts Education for the Nevada Department of Cultural Affairs. In 2001, accepted a position as an Arts Education Specialist at the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington D.C. In 2007, Laura and her husband Stuart moved to the Roanoke area. Since then, she has served as Director of Development for the RSO, Roanoke College, and Goodwill Industries of the Valleys. Laura is delighted to return to her theatrical roots and be part of the Virginia Children’s Theatre team.
Education Outreach Coordinatoroutreach@virginiachildrenstheatre.org
Bethany Costello (she/her) is a NC native teaching artist, educator, actress and musician. An avid traveler and lover of wellness, Bethany is a proud graduate of The South Carolina School of the Arts (2019) and holds a BFA degree in Musical Theatre. Bethany has served as a Musical Theatre Artist (music director, educator, assistant director, performer, vocal coach and accompanist) with companies including The REV Theatre Company, Florida Repertory Theatre, Lexington Children’s Theatre, Missoula Children’s Theatre, CentreStage and Anderson University.
Favorite artistic credits include: JUNIE B. JONES: THE MUSICAL, SISTER ACT, TWELFTH NIGHT, ALICE IN WONDERLAND, ALABASTER (THE WORLD PREMIER), ROMEO AND JULIET and INTO THE WOODS. She aspires to foster accessibility and joy for the arts to students of all ages and can’t wait to bring that passion to Roanoke!
Administrative Assistant to the Producing Artistic Directoradmin@virginiachildrenstheatre.org
Kaitlin Pennington is a Roanoke native and is a graduate of James Madison University where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Dance. After graduating, she moved to Washington, D.C. to work with Dance Place as their Youth Programs Intern. While living in DC, she performed, taught, and worked with multiple arts organizations throughout the city, most notably Imagination Stage and District Dance Arts. Kaitlin is also a co-founder of Coalescence, a platform for emerging interdisciplinary artists to network, create, and show work. She is currently continuing her education at the University of Kentucky to receive her Master’s degree in Arts Administration. Kaitlin started working with VCT in April 2021 when she choreographed Mary Poppins Jr. Since then, she has had the joy of choreographing Peter Pan Jr., serving as a Teaching Artist for multiple classes, and getting to work with many of the talented youth at VCT!
Brad Ogden is a theatre director and graphic designer based in Brooklyn, New York. With a specialty in branding and marketing for the performing arts, Brad has collaborated with a wide range of design clients, from non-profit theatre companies to Broadway artists. His work as a director has been seen at festivals, universities, and regional theatres from Philadelphia and New York to the Czech Republic — and includes five large-scale musicals on the mainstage of Maine's historic Ogunquit Playhouse with their company of teenage actors. Brad is drawn to developing, devising, and directing projects that unravel the past, speak to the present, and move us toward a more progressive future. He is thrilled to join the VCT team and contribute to the exciting, meaningful work happening in Roanoke! www.brad-ogden.com / www.ogden.design
David is thrilled to return to VCT after previously creating the branding and website for Roanoke Children's Theatre. He is a Roanoke native and obtained his degree in Communication Design from Virginia Western Community College. He has previously worked on design projects with several other area nonprofits including Roanoke Pride and the Roanoke Diversity Center. He currently works as an appraiser for Goodwill's Ecommerce department helping identify and authenticate valuable donations for auction. He also enjoys designing greeting cards on the side, gaming, and cuddling with his cat.