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Virginia Children's Theatre Names Kari Sullivan As Associate Artist

Sullivan will direct new VCT4TEENS production.

Virginia Children's Theatre Names Kari Sullivan As Associate Artist

Brett Roden, Producing Artistic Director of Virginia Children's Theatre, announced today that the theatre has named Kari Sullivan as Associate Artist.

Directing the annual VCT4TEENS production will be a part of Sullivan's many roles, with her first being the newly announced VCT4TEENS production, JUST LIKE I WANTED. The production will play February 25-26, 2021 in the Fishburn Auditorium at North Cross School (4254 Colonial Ave) and be toured around Virginia to middle and high schools.

Sullivan is no stranger to Virginia Children's Theatre as she has been involved with VCT since its inception. She has taken on many roles during her time with VCT; as an actor, teaching artist, director, assistant stage manager and more. Sullivan was the founder of Kaleidoscope Summer Camp, which is a camp that VCT offers each summer to children of all ages with special needs, free of charge. When the pandemic hit and many VCT Academy classes had to move to a virtual platform, Sullivan was able to step in to teach Kaleidoscope Summer Camp both in person and virtually.

The VCT4TEENS production will be directed by Sullivan each year. VCT4TEENS 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 2010, I acted alongside my daughter Kalley in the very first VCT issue-based play, The Secret Life of Girls," says Kari Sullivan. "I have watched this program help thousands of youth and their families over the years. Now, the stars have aligned so that I can step in and direct this program. Having taught school for 25 years, 20 of which were with Roanoke County Public Schools, I have seen the program's impact on the youth of the Roanoke Valley and beyond. I am thrilled to be able to combine my educational knowledge and artistic experience to assist VCT in such a meaningful capacity."

"We are thrilled to bring Kari Sullivan on board to take our VCT4TEENS program to the next level," says Brett Roden. "Her dedication, passion and history with this company is the perfect fit!"

Roden also announced today that the VCT4TEENS production will be changing to JUST LIKE I WANTED. Every year, the VCT4TEENS Coalition meets to find out which health or social issues are of concern for school guidance counselors. The COVID-19 pandemic caused the theatre to re-examine what issue needed to be spotlighted this season (mental health), causing the change of play titles.

At sixteen years old, Joey tragically takes his own life, leaving behind his classmates, teachers and family. JUST LIKE I WANTED explores mental health in teens and the unexpected effect it can have on loved ones. Through the VCT4TEENS program, Virginia Children's Theatre is committed to educating youth on ways to cope with tough issues and connecting them to health and safety professionals. JUST LIKE I WANTED tackles tough content while keeping one thing at the forefront: every life is worth living.

"I could not be more excited to bring JUST LIKE I WANTED to our audiences this spring," says Roden. "This play truly hits home in a way that will touch the lives of our teens and families for a lifetime."

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