Local theatre is essential for the cultural health of communities and Adaire Theatre of Pulaski, Virginia, has been bringing the magic of live performance to Southwest Virginia since 2012. Join two of the leaders of the African American theatre company as they discuss the process of presenting professional-quality theatre in a small community during a free interactive online discussion on Friday, Aug. 7, from 12-12:45 p.m.

Part of the Moss Arts Center’s online series, “In the Moment: Artists and Their Work,” this Zoom session will be moderated by Jon Catherwood-Ginn, the Moss Arts Center’s associate director of programming and include a question-and-answer session with attendees.

Kendall Payne, the theatre’s producing artistic director, and Keith McCoy, associate artistic director, will detail the history and mission of Adaire Theatre and discuss the advantages of producing theatre in a small town, the relevance of theatre in the era of COVID-19, the discoveries made during a time of social distancing, and what it means to be an African American theatre company at this particular moment in history.

Payne and McCoy will also discuss the development of Adaire Theatre’s latest original work, “Quiet Courage: The Pursuit of Equal Education, which illuminates the story of a Pulaski native who fought for the equalization of salaries and facilities for African Americans in the early 1900s.

A native of Pulaski, Payne has a strong background in theatre education. He has assisted with the management of Camp Curtain Call as a theatre arts instructor and assistant dance instructor, worked as a visual and performing artist with Young Audiences of Virginia to foster children’s creative development, and led seminars for teachers from around the country on how to effectively incorporate theatre arts into the classroom. Payne also led the June Bug Center’s visual and performing arts education program and created and implemented theatre arts curricula for homeschool co-ops in the New River Valley.

Originally from Portsmouth, Virginia, McCoy has worked successfully as a professional theatre artist for more than 20 years, performing for regional theatres, summer stock companies, national tours, and theme parks. He has also performed at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. His acting credits include “Les Misérables” (Javert), “A Raisin in the Sun” (Walter Lee), “Dreamgirls” (Curtis), “Big River” (Jim), “Little Shop of Horrors” (Audrey II), “Oklahoma!” (Jud), “To Kill a Mockingbird” (Tom Robinson), “Sweeney Todd” (Judge Turpin), and “Memphis the Musical” (Delray). As an educator, McCoy has taught at Mad River Theatre Works, Playhouse on the Square Summer Youth Conservatory, the Springer Theatre Academy, and Juneau Dance Theatre.

Adaire Theatre is a nonprofit organization created to enhance local theatrical offerings through inclusive, engaging, and affordable programming. Its mission is to produce works that will foster educational and artistic growth, enhance the values of the community, and inspire collaboration.

The Moss Arts Center’s “In the Moment: Artists and Their Work” provides an opportunity to meet notable creators of Southwest Virginia — from visual artists to theatre-makers to choreographers — and learn more about their creative processes in this unusual time. 

Moss Arts Center 2020-2021 season preview

The Moss Arts Center will reveal details about its fall virtual performance series, “HomeStage,” on Thursday, Aug. 6, at 5:30 p.m. during its free online 2020-21 season preview event. Learn about the center’s planned 2020-21 programs, enjoy a special guest performance, and chat about the upcoming season with Ruth Waalkes, Moss Arts Center executive director and associate provost for the arts at Virginia Tech, and Margaret Lawrence, the center’s director of programming.