Foster Billingsley joined the Virginia Commission for the Arts in 2001 as its Deputy Director and later was appointed by the Governor as Executive Director.He has extensive experience in theatre, working as an Actors’ Equity Association Stage Manager for Broadway and Off-Broadway productions and Regional Theatre Companies. He has been the co-chair of the Deputy Director Peer Group and on the Audit Committee for the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies. He is a native of Virginia and graduate of Old Dominion University – GO MONARCHS! His love of theatre, Norfolk, Keith Stava and Chris Hanna brought him home to work with the best theatre company in Virginia.
Patrick Mullins is the Interim Artistic Director at Virginia Stage Company where he most recently directed The Taming of the Shrew at the Wells, The Taming of the Shrew: Workshop Edition at American Theatre, Moon Take Thy Flight in Town Point Park,TheHonky Tonk Angels at The Wells Theatre, and Swingtime Salute on board the USS Wisconsin. He holds an MFA in theatre from the University of South Carolina and especially enjoys directing and adapting work that empowers community growth and interaction. Some projects of late include a video heavy Romeo and Juliet that integrated area high school students with professional actors, an R&B fueled tour of Julius Caesar, and a reworking of A Christmas Carol that celebrated the music and instruments of Dickens’ period. In addition to work at VSC he recently directed shows at Capitol Repertory Theatre in Albany, NY and Ensemble Theatre Company in Santa Barbara, CA. He is also an adjunct professor at Old Dominion University and was recognized by the Hampton Roads Cultural Alliance with the Bettie Minette Cooper Arts Educator award in 2010.
Ron Newman - Director of Education and Community Engagement
Ron Newman has been a theater educator for nearly 40 years, and has made it his life’s mission to create and foster innovative cross curricular arts education programming. He holds an MS in Education from Old Dominion University and did his theater graduate studies at the University of Delaware and American University. His actual career path began at the age of 5, designing and creating neighborhood backyard plays with friends; Saturday mornings was all about reenacting ‘Our Gang’ productions and heroic adventures. Ron loves gardening, bon fires, sipping wine on the dock, and collecting Disney.
Brad Tuggle comes to Virginia Stage Company with 10 years of experience in theater and arts management. As a manager, he has done stints with Yale Repertory Theatre, Virginia Rep, SPARC and the I-Park Foundation, and has worked on multiple world premieres including Pop!, Compulsion and Austin’s Bridge. In the room, Brad most frequently works as a director, but has also acted, stage managed, designed lights, and written for more than a dozen companies. When not at the theatre, he is inevitably playing or designing a board game or finger picking a guitar. He is inspired by the passion that everyone at Virginia Stage Company has for the work and for the city. The opportunity to join such a renowned company is an honor and privilege that he does not take lightly.
Keith Stava is starting his twelfth season at VSC and brings over thirty-eight years of experience from both the nonprofit and the commercial theater to Virginia Stage Company. Locally, Keith has also served as the Executive Producer of the Commonwealth Theatre Company and Executive Director of Virginia Opera. Nationally he served as the Producer/Manager of the prestigious Los Angeles Civic Light Opera as well as the San Bernardino and Long Beach Civic Light Operas, where he successfully eliminated over $2.5 million of cumulative deficits. Keith is the recipient of the Actors’ Equity Association Lucy Jordan Award and the 2013 American Federation of Musicians Local 125 Arts Supporter of the Year Award
Chris Hanna - Director of Artistic Vision, Emeritus
Chris Hanna has dedicated over 30 years to balancing the overlapping missions of developing new plays, breathing fresh air into dramatic classics, and engaging communities in the power of live theater.Career highlights before arriving in Virginia include serving as Resident Director at the Juilliard School, working with the play development staffs of London’s Royal Court Theater and the New York Shakespeare Festival, and eight seasons as Artistic Associate for the Chautauqua Theater Company in New York. He holds an MFA from the University of California at San Diego (UCSD). In addition to serving as Artistic Director of Virginia Stage, Chris is an Associate Professor of Theatre Arts at Old Dominion University. Between the two venues, he has staged over thirty productions for Hampton Roads audiences and looks forward to many more.
Ryan Clemens is very proud to work with VSC on the main stage and, as Resident Theatre Artist, in a variety of VSC touring shows, classes and workshops. VSC patrons may remember Clemens as Vinnie inThe Odd Couple, Fezziwig and Old Joe in A Christmas Carol, Mortimer in The Fantasticks, or his famous relative Sam Clemens in his one-man show Meet Mark Twain. Originally from Wyoming, Ryan began his career in a travelling Wild West show. He has worked at theaters around the country, including three seasons locally with the Virginia Shakespeare Festival. Clemens holds a BA in Theatre from Western Washington University and an MFA in Acting from Regent University. Favorite past roles include Charlie in The Foreigner, Captain Von Trapp inThe Sound of Music, Dr. Larch in The Cider House Rules, Arnold in The Boys Next Door, and Shecky in some outrageously fun, VSC galas. Many thanks and a huge heap of love to his wonderful wife. www.clemensistwain.com
Kat Martin - Resident Teaching Artist
Kat Martin is a graduate of the University of South Carolina Graduate program. She received her MA in Theatre History, Dramaturgy and Critical Theory. While at USC, Kat, served as a stage manager, dramaturge, teacher, and assistant director. Recently she wrote and directed her own show Status Update an Ethnodrama. Kat is grateful for the opportunity to work as an assistant director, dramaturge and actor with this talented company.
Tommy Coleman - Teaching Artist
Tommy Coleman enters into his second season with VSC after serving as a Cultivate Intern last year having performed as Lester in X-Out Bullying which toured to schools around Hampton Roads. He also co-produced and served as a director for the inaugural season of the “Voices From the Margins” play reading series. As a Teaching Artist, and the Director of the new Urban Theater Program at Renaissance Academy, he is glad to serve the students of his hometown by empowering them and helping them find their artistic voices. He looks forwards to affecting a positive change in the lives of others through art. Tommy holds a B.A. in Theater from Temple University and an M.A. in Musical Theater Performance from The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Patrons may have seen him last as Fred, Scrooge’s nephew, in A Christmas Carol.www.tommycoleman.net
Grace Davis - Teaching Artist
Grace Davis is an artist, designer, actor, teacher, and pancake enthusiast. She has worn many hats at Virginia Stage from Props to House Management, but is thrilled to return to her old/new home in education. She looks forward to performing in and the production design of both Cultivate tours this season. Additional recent design credits include an installment for “Light Seeking Light” and Production Design for “Moon, Take Thy Flight” in Town Point Park, costumes for the workshop of VSC’s “Taming of the Shrew”, and several lobby installments in the Wells. Grace received a Bachelor of Arts in Theater with a concentration in Acting from Christopher Newport University in 2010 and a Doctorate in Smooth Talking and Sassy Walking. She is trained in Rapier and Dagger, Quarterstaff, and Unarmed Stage Combat and can breathe under water. A native to Hampton Roads, Grace is passionate about seeing the burgeoning local art community thrive, fighting crime, and watching cat videos. She loves cheese, her ornery feline, her deaf dog, and her husband. “Now comes good sailing. Moose. Indian.”
Michael Mast – Education Stage Manager
After spending one season as Assistant Stage Manager for VSC, Michael Mast has now shifted gears to collaborate with the Education Department. He received his MA in Theatre Studies from Regent University, where he discovered his interest in Stage Management and Running Crew. Around VSC you will see him driving the Education team to local schools to perform, running sound, and occasionally saying a line or two. The joy of contributing to a theatre experience from the behind-the-scenes view is what keeps Michael functioning.
Jenny de Jaager - Teaching Artist
Jenny de Jaager is proud to be a teaching artist with the Virginia stage company. She is happy to get the opportunity to tour and bring theatre to the community as well as participate and lead workshops and residencies. Jenny received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Old Dominion University with special focus in visual arts and theatre. A few of her theatre credits include A Christmas Carol, Little Shop of Horrors, The Idiots Karamazov, Moon Take Thy Flight, and aDream Play. Some of her other skills include oil and watercolor painting, jazz singing, visual and audial design, puppeteering and puppet making, and reaching things from high shelves.
Jeff Gallo - Box Office Manager
Jeff Gallo is a photographer, actor, writer of poems, and taster of delicious martinis. A native of New York, he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from Christopher Newport University and returned to Virginia in 2013. After 4 years working in technical support Jeff has returned to the theatre to press power buttons as Box Office manager with VSC. This has been a homecoming, but Jeff isn’t much for nostalgia. He is currently wakefully dreaming the future of ticketing at the Wells and for all the world.
Madeline Dummerth - Education Assistant
Madeline hails originally from Northern Virginia and has a BFA in Scenic and Lighting Design from Shenandoah University. She has worked professionally as a carpenter at various theaters in the DC Metro area. After moving to Norfolk in 2013, because of her husband's job, she has landed in the Education Department at VSC! She loves being able to share the gift of theatre with students across Hampton Roads through the many different programs offered.