Raleigh Little Theatre’s Executive Director Charles Phaneuf, Education Director Meredyth Pederson Cooper, and Women’s Theatre Festival Executive Director Johannah Maynard Edwards talk about the evolution and importance of sensory-friendly performances and the upcoming production THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME.
About the Guests
Charles Phaneuf is a Raleigh native who returned to the area and to RLT in 2012. He was previously Managing Director of Joe’s Movement Emporium, a multidisciplinary performing arts center located outside of Washington, DC, and Associate Managing Director at Shakespeare Theatre Company during the expansion into the Harman Center for the Arts. Charles is a founding member of the Capital Fringe Festival and Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra, both in Washington. He is a UNC-Chapel Hill alumni, a board member of the Friends of the Gregg Museum at NCSU, and serves on the Dix Park Master Plan Advisory Committee. Charles was named “40 Under 40” by the Triangle Business Journal in 2014 and “Tar Heel of the Week” by the News & Observer in 2018.
Meredyth Pederson Cooper joined the staff of Raleigh Little Theatre as the Director of Education in March 2017. Prior to moving to North Carolina, Meredyth served as the Associate Education Director at Lexington Children’s Theatre in Lexington, Kentucky where she focused on creating meaningful partnerships with schools and creating engaging arts education experiences for youth and families. Meredyth holds her M.F.A. in Drama and Theatre for Youth and Communities from the University of Texas at Austin and a B.A. in Theatre from American University in Washington, DC. Meredyth is also currently the Managing Editor of TYA Today, the top trade publication for the field of Theatre for Young Audiences in the United States.
Johannah Maynard Edwards is the Executive Director of the Women’s Theatre Festival based in Raleigh, NC. Johannah began making theatre when she was 15 and co-founded her first company, p.i.e., when she was 19. She has directed, devised, and produced countless theatrical productions in NYC, Minneapolis, and the Triangle. A passionate arts educator, Johannah has been a teaching artist at Raleigh Little Theatre for the past ten years and has taught at Arts Together, Sterling Montessori, LearningSpring, NC Governor’s School, through the America Reads program in NYC public schools, and most recently as the Interim Theatre Program Director at Longleaf School of the Arts. Johannah is a Chief Rep for PAAL, the Parent Artist Advocacy League for the Performing Arts and serves on the Arts Learning Community for Universal Access through the Office of Raleigh Arts. She’s an outspoken advocate and consultant for access and inclusion in theatre and has created a resource guide for presenting sensory-friendly theatre. She’s a contributor to RDU Onstage and is developing audio content for theatre practitioners and producers. Johannah is a graduate of NYU/Tisch School of the Arts/Playwrights Horizons Theatre School.
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The Raleigh Little Theatre production of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” opens January 17. RDU on Stage’s Lauren Van Hemert will be moderating a talkback with the cast after the January 26 performance. There is also a sensory-friendly performance scheduled for February 9. For more information visit https://raleighlittletheatre.org/.