• Meet the New Deputy Director

    Contact: Margaret Vanderhye, Executive Director
    (804) 225-3132, margaret.vanderhye@vca.virginia.gov

    Richmond, Virginia - The Virginia Commission for the Arts welcomes Mackenzie Byrne as our new Deputy Director. Mackenzie Byrne has been serving as Chief of Staff and Senior Legislative Assistant to Delegate Joseph Morrissey, 74th House District. She previously served as a Legislative Fellow for Delegate Jennifer McClellan, 71st House District. Mackenzie graduated from the Virginia Commonwealth University in 2011 with a degree in Political Science and Women’s Studies and received her Master’s degree from VCU in Social Work and Public Policy in 2013.

    “We are very pleased that Mackenzie has joined our collaborative Commission staff. Her legislative experience and background  in constituent services will be an asset to us and our statewide mission to promote and enhance the arts for all Virginians” said Executive Director Margaret Vanderhye.

    As of August 21st, Mackenzie can be reached at 804-225-3132 or Mackenzie.Byrne@vca.virginia.gov.

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  • Spotlight Arts Organization: Roanoke Children’s Theatre, Inc.

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    Roanoke Children's Theatre is a vibrant part of Roanoke's cultural landscape, reaching young people, families and schools with unique, fun and educational programming that always gives our community more than just a performance to celebrate.  The City of Roanoke has been honored to partner in RCT's continued efforts to find new ways to bring the benefits of the arts to our young people.” Susan Jennings, Arts and Culture Coordinator, Office of Arts and Culture, City of Roanoke.

     “I appreciate the theatre for its professionalism and because the shows are entertaining for kids and adults.  They’ve figured out a way to do things that are educational and also meaningful.” – Cyrus Pace, Executive Director, Jefferson Center.


    Roanoke Children’s Theatre is the Valley's only professional theatre designed just for young audiences. RCT's mission is to provide high quality theatre education and entertainment for kids, their schools and their families with year-round productions and programming.

    RCT believes that Skills for Theatre are Skills for Life. In our increasingly insular technological world, we help our youth develop the creative critical thinking and essential interpersonal and public confidence building tools that support life-long learning and healthy, happy lives.  RCT believes that theatre as a collaborative art form provides inherent educational benefits that all children should experience.  We treasure the professional mentoring that can only be obtained by enabling local youth and talent to work with professional artists and educators who maintain the highest of artistic standards.  And we believe in bringing all this to life at RCT.

    RCT produces four targeted literary or issue based productions per year, and offers academy-based classes, workshops, residencies and camps to area youth, community centers and schools.  RCT has been recognized nationally, regionally and locally for its unique and impactful RCT4TEENS arts/health outreach program, has been consistently cited for its quality performances and camps, is endorsed by Roanoke City Public Schools and is a Star City Reads partner.


    RCT’s ACT-ive Educational Outreach Programming exposes young people to the craft of theatre, fosters creativity and develops skills that instill discipline, enhance self-esteem and promote team building. 

    • RCT’s READ IT! SEE IT! Series highlights children’s literature and promotes reading proficiency by the 3rd grade, bringing books to life in three specifically age-targeted productions each year. 
    • RCT4TEENS reaches out to older youth and their families, helping teens address current health and societal issues through an annual arts/health coalition production featuring talk backs with agency professionals and take away resource materials.
    • STUDENT MATINEES include “play and fine arts guides” designed for teachers to highlight educational benefits of the productions illustrated through meeting SOL Requirements.
    • RCT RESIDENCIES use theatre education onsite in area schools to enhance classroom objectives.  Featured residencies include JAMESTOWN, LIVE!, READER’S THEATRE, and COOKING IT!
    • The RCT THEATRE ACADEMY offers theatre education classes and camps throughout the year.  The RCT YOUNG PROFESSIONALS ENSEMBLE provides in-depth theatre training for those who are interested in theatre as an avocation or career, and offers youth board leadership opportunities. 
    • RCT CONNECTS provides theatre education outreach in numerous low income schools and community-based sites throughout the region, ensuring lack of financial resources is not a barrier to exposure to the arts.  20% of RCT Academy students participate on full or partial scholarship.


    “A successful quality after school program begins with caring skilled people.  The Roanoke Children's Theatre group has demonstrated such.  The group brings an organized energy that allows the children to experience and to explore.  It is so refreshing to see our children excited and all smiles.  They all want to participate.  An instructor commented to me that it is so good to see the theatre in some form come to our school as it has been missing for so long.  Several other instructors in our summer school program loved the programs that were presented by the RCT so much that they said they wanted to use some of the ideas with their students in the fall.  Our students simply love the program.” - E. Hobson-Hardy, Westside 21st Century Community Learning Center

    “We have partnered with RCT often and the results have been fantastic.  RCT offers high quality performances that really relate to our students.  The performances have been targeted and have really reached our students in new ways … I look forward to working with RCT in the future.”  - Chris Wilkes, Fine Arts Coordinator, Roanoke City Schools

    “What I valued most about my internship with RCT was that it provided me not only the opportunity to learn, which I did, but also the opportunity to teach.  It is a uniquely rewarding experience to be able to hone your skills as a performer while also serving as a role model for a group of young actors and actresses.  I have come across few places like it in my many experiences.  RCT will always hold a warm place within my heart.”  Caroline Rigby, Actor

    “I am so, so blown away by RCT and the classes and the way you guys interact with the kids!  Our daughter has been involved a couple of years now, and it has been a remarkably positive experience for her from day one.  Thank you and all of RCT for being such a positive influence in her life - we are so thankful to have discovered you guys”! – Michele Sons, Parent

    Photographs (courtesy of Paul Klockenbrink)
    Madeline’s Christmas
    Stuart Little
    A Little House Christmas

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