Virginia Stage Company’s engagement initiatives use theatre as a catalyst to foster public discourse. We believe that theatre is more than a play, place, or product - it is a living process that can expand thinking and offer fresh perspectives. Learning, critical thinking, and self-confidence all grow as we sit together in one space to contemplate our shared world. Acknowledging and embracing differences in identity is essential to a dynamic cultural conversation - and theatre has just the tools to do that.

Virginia Stage Company is thrilled to present a series of community engagement events in support of the upcoming production of Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye. Produced in collaboration with Norfolk State University Theatre Company, and supported by the National Endowment for the Arts, Virginia Stage is committed to continuing the dialogue that springs from the topics highlighted in The Bluest Eye both at the Wells Theatre and in our greater Hampton Roads community. These in-school and in-community conversations include panel discussions and talk-backs with the actors and director, Khanisha Foster, as well as the activists and scholars that lead Hampton Roads.



March 9, Opening Night Talkback
Khanisha Foster, The Bluest Eye Director
Tom Quaintance, VSC’s Producing Artistic Director

March 10, “Colorism & Prejudice” Talkback Panel
Moderated by Barbara Hamm Lee
Dr. Khadijah Miller (Norfolk State University)
Saige Hill (Old Dominion University)
Neisha Himes (G.R.O.W. Foundation, Inc.)

March 15, Actor Talkback

March 17, “Toni Morrison and Adaptation” Talkback Panel
Dr. Remica Bingham-Risher (Old Dominion University)
Dr. Désiré  Baloubi (Norfolk State University)
Dr. Artisia V. Greene (The College of William and Mary)
Dr. Page Laws (Norfolk State University)

March 22, Actor Talkback

Click here to learn more about the panelists and moderators.


Please take time before and after the show to explore the the lobbies of the Wells featuring installation art by Mensah Bey.


Thank you to Norfolk Public Schools for partnering with us in creating engaging in-school conversations discussing The Bluest Eye.

Made possible by the National Endowment for the Arts

Norfolk State University, The College of William and Mary - Sharpe Community Scholars, Old Dominion University, Norfolk Public Schools, New Calvary Baptist Church, Barbara Hamm Lee - Another View, Urban League of Hampton Roads - Marcus Scriven, Deltas, Urban League of Hampton Roads, NAACP - Norfolk and Virginia Beach, South Hampton Roads Bar Association, New Journal and Guide, Coast Live, Virginia Arts Festival, Seven Venues, VEER, TCG, Broadway World, Virginian-Pilot, WHRO, Kelli Webb, Marcus Scriven


The Black Light Puppet Theatre program comes from Virginia Stage Company’s Education and Community Engagement Department’s Theatre for Everyone initiative to provide a theatre experience for individuals of all abilities. 

VSC's partnership with the Arts Inclusion Company welcomes people of All Abilities to participate in all aspects of theatrical arts. Virginia Stage Company strives to promote diversity in the arts by creating opportunities that are inclusive for both performers and audience members. As a part of the Theatre for Everyone initiative, Black Light Puppet Theatre targets people across the spectrum of ability, giving them a chance to learn the art of performance and accomplishment. Our goals include teaching, guiding, and reinforcing skills such as creative expression and interpersonal skills, as well as gaining a sense of confidence through the rehearsal and performance process.

Because its most important devices are visual, underscored with music, most audiences of any age can understand Black Light Puppet Theatre performances. The intended result is a theatrical work that combines grand spectacle with beautiful and moving art, all performed by highly functioning adults with individual abilities, who will be guided and assisted by trained artistic staff and personnel. 

About Arts Inclusion Company: AIC primarily produces theatrical productions including, but not limited to, individuals diagnosed with Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, hearing/vision impairments, and Autism Spectrum Disorder. The offer an inclusive environment providing mentorships and workshops.  AIC goals include teaching and reinforcing skills such as creative expression, and interpersonal skills, as well as gaining a sense of confidence while involved in this community-supported company.

Current Session: July 30-August 10, 10AM-2PM

Click here to register!

For more information please contact us!