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Adrienne Oliver Named Director of New Works

July 20, 2022 – Live Arts is delighted to announce that performer, director, writer, producer, and educator Adrienne Oliver has been hired as the first director of new works, starting August 15, 2022. She is charged with curating and producing Live Arts’ inaugural WaterWorks Festival: New Works on Water Street.

About the Director of New Works Position

The director of new works is a vital part of Live Arts’ artistic leadership team. Working in partnership with Artistic Director Susan E. Evans, Oliver will solicit and cultivate new works from a broad cross-section of playwrights throughout the year, develop relationships with local playwrights, curate the Festival’s lineup of events, and oversee production.

About Adrienne Oliver

Oliver (she/her) is a poet and performer. Her work “is to become a worthy ancestor and a joyful mother,” she says. She is a veteran public school teacher and community-builder who has built classroom, theater, and arts-learning experiences for 20 years. At Live Arts, Oliver has been an actor, director, producer, instructor, Board member, and friend. She is passionate about championing unsung stories and voices, and is eager to bring dynamic new programming to the stage.

She is a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Her work has appeared in the Virginia Film Festival, at Live Arts, McGuffey Art Center, and Second Street Gallery, and in multiple publications. A 2021 PEN America Emerging Voices Fellow and an MFA candidate at School of the Art Institute of Chicago, she was long-listed for the Frontier New Poets Award and is writing her first book.

“Adrienne’s breadth of knowledge about theater, about writing, and about our community is truly impressive,” says Evans. “She shows enormous passion for showcasing emerging writing talent, with an emphasis on promoting lesser-heard voices. We are fortunate to have her astute leadership as we launch WaterWorks.”

“Art-making means saying yes to the width of human experience and, with that, to the immensity of ourselves,” says Oliver. “Through dynamic community connections, creative strategy, and mentorship, I hope to shepherd the inaugural festival to celebrate diverse stories through the power of theater.”

About WaterWorks

WaterWorks Festival: New Works on Water Street launches in May 2023. The festival is presented by Madwoman Project and sponsored by Pamela Friedman and Ronald Bailey. This month-long celebration of new theatrical voices builds upon Live Arts’ long history of showcasing new works. Through it, Live Arts “renews its commitment to cultivate new theater pieces, support playwrights in the development of their work, and diversify local stories told on our stage,” says Evans. Festival highlights include a world-premiere staged reading, short plays developed at Live Arts, workshops, contests, and much more.

WaterWorks takes over the Live Arts building and beyond, making use of all sorts of theatrical spaces. Playwrights’ Lab is back with LOCALLY SOURCED, an annual production of original short plays that have been developed at Live Arts. Live Arts is excited to partner with The Breath Project, a national coalition of artists and theaters collaborating to create, develop, and support original theatrical works by BIPOC artists, to present SILAS, THE UNINVITED by Derek J. Snow (directed by Hannah Vidaver, sponsored by Chaski Global). More festival updates and announcements will be posted at

About Live Arts

Live Arts is a volunteer-powered, nonprofit community theater in Downtown Charlottesville. Founded in 1990, Live Arts is celebrating 32 years of forging theater and community. The 2022/23 Transformations Season is made possible by season sponsors Elizabeth and Joe LeVaca, media sponsors C-VILLE Weekly and WTJU 91.1FM, pay-what-you-can sponsor Ting, education sponsor The Local, IT partner PJ Networks Computer Services. The season is sponsored by Allison Partners, The Caplin Foundation, Chaski Global, Pamela Friedman and Ronald Bailey, Barbara and Jay Kessler, Latitude 38, Madwoman Project, Panorama Consulting, Silverchair, Strauss Construction, Woodard Properties, George Worthington and Cameron Mowat, and philanthropic gifts by hundreds of theater lovers in our community.

Live Arts is supported by grants from Albemarle County, the BamaWorks Fund of Dave Matthews Band at the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation, Charlottesville Area Community Foundation, the DN Batten Foundation, Bank of America Foundation, and Virginia Commission for the Arts, which receives support from the Virginia General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

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