Roanoke Children's Theatre To Start The Conversation On Distracted Driving

Roanoke Children's Theatre To Start The Conversation On Distracted Driving

A new study by Liberty Mutual Insurance and SADD reveals teens become riskier drivers as they enter senior year. The study "finds that older teen drivers are overconfident and perceive themselves as safer drivers despite experiencing more accidents and near misses (57 percent of seniors) than their younger peers (34 percent of sophomores)." Roanoke Children's Theatre will ignite the conversation on distracted driving with the world premiere of ILY: HANG UP & DRIVE, part of the RCT4TEENS programming. There will be public performances of ILY: HANG UP & DRIVE on March 1 and 2, 2018. Performances will be held in the Black Box Theatre at the Jefferson Center (541 Luck Avenue SW).

In this new play by Samantha Macher, RCT takes a close look at the dangers of distracted driving and the consequences that teens (or anyone) may face. Multiple scenarios are woven together to create a compelling, moving and thought-provoking production. ILY: Hang Up & Drive should be viewed by anyone who gets behind the wheel of a car.

"This conversation needs to get started. Traffic fatalities on our roads due to distracted driving are staggering," says Pat Wilhelms (RCT Artistic Director and ILY: Hang Up & Drive Director). "Everyone needs to be included in this dialogue, experienced drivers, new drivers and drivers to be. Playwright Samantha Macher has cobbled a beautiful play about this subject utilizing real "last texts."

2018 marks the 8th year of presenting issue based plays for teens. RCT is happy to report significant data results each year from surveys given to grade-wide audience members following the plays. These positive results remind RCT of the importance education makes in the lives of the youth in the Roanoke Valley. RCT4TEENS is a program that provides a unique and creative approach to connecting with young people about current health issues through a theatre arts experience. In the past, RCT4TEENS has presented plays dealing with teen pregnancy, substance abuse, eating disorders, bullying, underage drinking, depression, suicide and the teen brain. Each RCT4TEENS performance is accompanied by education and outreach workshops that connect area youth to agency health professionals who address the issues at hand in talk back sessions and provide resource materials.

The admission price for ILY: Hang Up & Drive is PAY WHAT YOU CAN. Patrons must call 540.400.7795 to reserve their seats in advance. Patrons may also visit for full details.


Immediately following each performance of ILY: Hang Up & Drive, RCT will host panel discussions with community leaders.

Panelists include:
Wade Dunford, Carilion Clinic Lifeguard 10
Nancy Hans, The Prevention Council
Ashley Reynolds, Mental Health America of Roanoke Valley

Local law enforcement officials


In 2016, 13 Virginians were killed and more than 800 injured in crashes involving a distracted teen driver. That's why Virginia DMV is launching a statewide license plate design contest for high school students (grades 9-12). The "Take Action Against Distraction" License Plate Design Contest aims to start the conversation and raise awareness about distracted driving.
For more information, visit


This production is backed by an exceptional artistic team of designers and actors.

The cast of ILY: Hang Up & Drive includes:

Abby Martin as Sarah
Kelly Anglim as Wendy

David J. Schultz II as Mike
Meredith Dabney as Tina
Hunter Murphy and Jake Dellinger as Rob (alternating performances)

Ann Marie Thorell and Skylar Gay as Olivia (alternating performances)
Adalynn Eller and Abby Shelton as Quinn (alternating performances)
Nathan Kellner as Pete
Erica Musyt as Female Ensemble
Stephen Baltz as Male Ensemble

The creative team includes Director Pat Wilhelms, Set Designer Laurie Powell-Ward, Lighting Designer Rob Bessolo, Stage Manager and Sound Designer Ian Felker and Technical Director Star City Sets.


Pat Wilhelms is the founder and Artistic Director of Roanoke Children's Theatre. Since 2008 she has led the team to create productions, school residencies and year round classes and camps as well as tours that travel all across the Commonwealth. Prior to that, she was the Director of Education and Outreach at Mill Mountain Theatre for 10 years. Other theatre residencies include: Theatre of Youth Company, Melic and Mime Inc., and Idaho Repertory Theatre. Pat currently serves as Board Member at the Burton School of the Arts, is a partner with the Star City Reads initiative and serves as an adjudicator for the Southwest Theatre Conference. Directorial credits at RCT include: Madeleine's Christmas, Charlotte's Web, The Giver, Junie B. Jones, The Secret Life of Girls, Tuck Everlasting, If You Give a Mouse A Cookie, Wrecked, The Velveteen Rabbit, Go Dog Go, Junie B in Jingle Bells Batman Smells, Eric & Elliot, Stuart Little, How I Became A Pirate, A Little House Christmas, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, The Cat in the Hat, EAT: It's Not About Food, Fancy Nancy, James and the Giant Peach, SHREK, the Musical, The Ice Cream Man, Rapunzel, The BFG, Seussical, the Musical, BABYLAND, Elephant and Piggie's We Are In a Play, Goosebumps, the Musical and The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, the Musical. Pat is married and the proud mother of 3 grown children and 2 young cats.


Roanoke Children's Theatre: Professional Theatre for Young Audiences is an independently owned and operated 501(c)3 organization located in the Jefferson Center. RCT is dedicated to providing high quality theatre education and entertainment to families, schools and children with year-round programming; crafting new and exciting partnerships and programs that engage our youth in a world of communication, imagination, creativity, empowerment and learning.

Related Articles View More Central Virginia Stories   Shows

More Hot Stories For You

Before you go...

Like Us On Facebook
Follow Us On Twitter
Follow Us On Instagram instagram