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2022 May

Meet Little Theatre of Virginia Beach's Kay Burcher

Learn how little theatres bring the arts to communities.

Kay Burcher first became involved with Little Theatre of Virginia Beach in 1980 when she was cast in Anything Goes. Since then she’s worn many hats for LTVB and currently serves as president of the board. Let’s meet Kay and learn more about her love for the arts.

TFP: Describe your role as board president for Little Theatre of Virginia Beach.
KB: As president, my job is to oversee the board and make sure everyone is doing their job. Since we are a working board, each member has certain responsibilities in running the theatre like building sets, making costumes, finding plays for us to do, etc. If each board member is doing their job, then the theatre will run smoothly.

TFP: Tell us about your background: where you were raised, went to school, career, family, etc.
KB: I was born and raised in Portsmouth. I went to Longwood College—now University—when it was an all-girls school and got degrees in English and Theatre Arts. I came back to Portsmouth to teach English and Theatre at Manor High School. While teaching, I directed the schools plays and became involved in Portsmouth Little Theatre, which used the high school as their base. I expanded my theatrical endeavors to include Tidewater Dinner Theatre and the other community theatres in the area. After I quit teaching, I went into marketing and research and worked at several agencies in the area as well as WVEC-TV and Cox Media, where I worked until I retired, but I continued to participate in shows at Tidewater Dinner Theatre, Kempsville Playhouse, and Little Theatre of Virginia Beach.

TFP: How did you become interested in theatre? Were you always a fan?
KB: I was always interested in theatre from an early age. As a shy child, I had a great interest in reading, which transported me to another world. Theatre did the same thing for me, and I had my first solo performance singing in a PTA show when I was in the third grade. The applause was rewarding. From there, my interest grew into a lifelong career and hobby.

TFP: Tell us about LTVB’s upcoming season.
KB: We are very excited about next season. It will be our 75th anniversary, and we think we have a great line-up of shows. We are starting with Dracula, a play based on Bram Stoker’s novel, which will play in September and October. Next comes the classic, White Christmas, a musical based on the Irving Berlin movie and song. This show will play during the holiday season. Our next show is Shakespeare’s comedic play, Much Ado About Nothing. This play has themes of deception, love, and misunderstandings. Our fourth show of the season is The Legend of Georgia McBride. This is the story of Casey, a young Elvis impersonator, who finds the path to prosperity by becoming a lip-syncing drag queen. Our last show of the season is the area premiere of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, a play written by Ken Ludwig. Our summer show, which is not part of the season is Escape to Margaritaville, a pop musical based on the songs written by Jimmy Buffet. Come join us for our 75th year. Season passes can be purchased online at ltvb.com or call our box office at 757-428-9233.

TFP: Why are little theatres like LTVB important to a community?
KB: I think little theatres are important aspects of all communities for many reasons. First, they provide a creative outlet for people of all ages, whether you are onstage or working in one of the many areas backstage like costuming, set building, lighting, and sound design. Community theatres also give people an opportunity to see live theatre at reasonable prices. Theatre also brings people together of all ages and ethnicities as they learn to work together to put on a show. It builds confidence and discovers hidden talent in people. Theatre welcomes everyone and teaches everyone to be more empathic to others.

TFP: What makes live theatre different from television and movies?
KB: The biggest difference between live theatre and movies and television is the relationship between the performer and the audience. With live theatre, the actors can hear and feel the audience’s reactions. This, in turn, can affect the actor’s performance—for good or bad. Live theatre is also different from movies and television because anything can happen with live theatre, whereas with the other two, every aspect has been laid out and planned. Live theatre is ever-changing while film and television, once completed, are static.

TFP: What are some of your artistic goals? Personal goals?
KB: My biggest goal in life is to continue to grow and learn so that I can, hopefully, develop into the best version of myself I can be. I would like to earn the respect of the people I work with and do good work—both in the theatre and in life.

TFP: How can parents develop a love for the arts in their children?
KB: I think it is important for parents to expose their children to the arts at an early age. The arts help assist in learning motor skills, critical thinking, and social skills as well as learning to see things from a different perspective. Art adds beauty and creativity to our lives. All of these help enrich our lives. Parents can do things as simple as read to them and encourage reading, play dress-up with them, or buy inexpensive art supplies for finger painting or drawing. Parents can play different types of music and take children to museums and plays suitable to their age range. Exposing children to art does not have to be expensive, but the benefits of that exposure will help them develop into well-rounded adults.

TFP: What advice do you have for artists and people who are considering pursuing art?
KB: The best advice I can give to anyone who wants to pursue the arts is to never give up. Being an artist in any form can be quite hard. It is filled with pitfalls and hardships, so if you really want it, you have to work very hard. Also, network, network, network! Talk to all the people you know—and those you don’t—because you never know when your break will come.

Peggy Sijswerda

Peggy Sijswerda is the editor and publisher of Tidewater Family Plus magazine. She has an MFA in creative nonfiction from Old Dominion University and is the author of Still Life with Sierra, a travel memoir. Peggy also freelances for a variety of regional, national, and international magazines.

Website: www.peggysijswerda.com

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