Current Teachers:

Alana Smith

Alana Smith Came to CharacterWorks from the theater department at Virginia Tech. While studying acting, she also discovered a love for teaching. God’s plan sent her back to Richmond to continue pursuing her passion in her hometown. Some of her favorite roles include: Nurse in Romeo and Juliet, the title role in Eurydice; on the local stage with Quill Theater as Margaret in Much Ado About Nothing and the Evil Queen in Cymbeline; and with Virginia Rep as Red Dog in Go, Dog, Go! She has been teaching with CharacterWorks since 2008 and has had the wonderful opportunity to direct many CWorks shows since 2010. She lives in Midlothian with her husband, Daniel, and their 3 sons.

Anderson Pusey

Anderson is a former CYT member (and now a CWorks alum!) and graduated from Liberty University with his B.A. in Theater Arts-Performance in 2016. Since then, he has acted in numerous commercials (VA Tourism, U.S. Army, Capitol One), short films (two of them best film winners at the 48 Hour Film Festival and himself winner of best actor at the Cinematic Arts Film Festival), and AMC's Turn. He is absolutely thrilled to be able to relay what he's learned during his time in the professional world with the great kids at CWorks!

Carson Burkett

Carson Burkett holds a B.A. in Theater from Liberty University and is a proud CYT Richmond alumnus and CWorks staff member. In addition to his stage management and directing credits at CharacterWorks, Carson has been privileged to perform in several Central Virginia premiers with Alluvion Stage Company, including Les Miserables, Mary Poppins, and Peter and the Starcatcher. He loves working for the organization that inspired his love of theatre and helped deepen his relationship with Jesus.

Jacob Filegar

Jacob Filegar is a graduate of Liberty University’s Theatre Arts program and is a CYT Richmond Alumnus and CWorks staff member. Previously, Jacob has performed and stage managed with Alluvion Stage Company and toured with Virginia Rep On Tour (formerly Theatre IV On Tour), performing for elementary and middle school students across the country. During the school year, Jacob directs, stage manages, and designs for CWorks shows, teaches classes, and helps manage the expansive sets and props inventory across two warehouses. In the summer, Jacob serves as the CWorks Summer Day Camp Director.

Katy Anna Harris

Katy Anna is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University with a BFA in Theatre Performance. After graduating, she went to London to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where she received a certificate for Shakespearean Acting. Katy Anna is also an Elby Award winning chef, graduating from Culinard in 2015, just before giving birth to her daughter, Marlowe. Some of her favorite theatrical roles have included "Beatrice" from Much Ado About Nothing, "Cassandra" from Agamemnon and His Daughters, "Fred" from Once Upon a Mattress, and "Slater" from Catacombs. A self-acclaimed dork, she and her husband spend their vacations at DragonCon, where she has a thriving Steampunk Cosplay, and her husband dresses as a Jedi; and sometimes are able to make it to Disney World, or the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Katy Anna is a proud Slytherin.

Melissa Crouterfield

Melissa Crouterfield graduated from Liberty University in May, 2013 with a B.A. in Theater Performance, a B.M. in Piano, and minor in Vocal Performance. She began working as an accompanist/vocalist at age 12 for choirs, churches, singing tour groups, and homeschool co-ops. When Melissa came to Liberty as an undergraduate studying Theatre and Music, she simultaneously became immersed in playing piano for voice lessons on campus as well as playing in the orchestra pit for several theatre productions. Melissa taught private voice and piano lessons while performing onstage with Alluvion Stage Company in Lynchburg, Virginia. She also worked four years at Liberty University as the University's theater department pianist, providing vocal coaching and prep for musical theater students. Melissa is thrilled to be a part of CWorks Theater!

Mia White

Mia Kirk White has been teaching young children for over 15 years. She holds a Bachelor degree in Early Education from VCU and is also the director of a pre-school in the West End. Her passion for acting, dance, and voice began when she was very young. She grew up in the television industry in California and has been involved in theater and film most of her life. Her 2 children, Luke and Audrey, have been in multiple CYT/CharacterWorks productions.

Nicole Pearson

Nicole is thrilled to have taught for this incredible organization for the last 6 years! She attended Belmont University in Nashville TN where she graduated with a degree in Music and emphasis in Musical Theater. In addition to her work with CWorks, Nicole enjoys teaching private voice lessons and auditioning/performing every chance she gets. Her latest adventure has been motherhood and she is currently spending all "free" time chasing her growing toddler.

Rebecca McNamee

Becky started dancing at 3 years old after she saw Singin' In The Rain and never looked back. She graduated with a BA in Musical Theater from James Madison University in 2009. Becky was fortunate enough to direct as well as perform at school and found that she loved teaching and directing as much as she loved performing. Becky performed professionally at various regional theaters and in DC before moving to Richmond. Some of her favorite past roles include Philia in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Hunyak in Chicago, Rusty in Footloose, and Sally in You're a Good Man Charlie Brown. She enjoys sharing her love of Jesus and performing with her students both in our Academy class program and as a show director. Becky and her husband, Shane, have 2 daughters, Emma and Clara.

Sam Van Fossen

Sam graduated from Liberty University with his B.A. in Theater Arts-Performance in 2014 and went on to graduate with an MFA in Creative Writing from Full Sail University in 2017. He has acted, directed, and written numerous short films (two of them best film winners at the 48 Hour Film Festival) and is currently working on a web series. He hopes to influence creativity and hard work in all his CWorks students!

Sarah Rawlings

Tracia Austin

Tracia Everton Austin received a Bachelor of Music Education from James Madison University and a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from Virginia Commonwealth University. After teaching music in both public and private schools, she began teaching classes for CharacterWorks eventually becoming a Music Director with her favorite shows being Les Miserables, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Oliver, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Seussical and Mary Poppins. Tracia began working in the film and TV industry in October 2014 and is currently a casting assistant at Anne Chapman Casting. She and her husband, Terry, love to travel, but their biggest adventure yet has been raising twin sons and CWorks alums, Joshua and Seth who are both now in college.

Wendy Pickenpaugh

Wendy Pickenpaugh is a CWorks alumna, having performed in 21 CWorks musicals from 2001 (as a member of the very first tour group) through 2010. She also worked for 5 years as part of the CWorks Summer Camp staff 2009 - 2013, and has taught Sprockets since 2013. Wendy received a B.S. in Pre-K and Elementary Education with a concentration in Special Education from Grove City College in Pennsylvania in 2013, and is currently the Program Director for Brain Balance Achievement Center in Midlothian, specializing in helping children with neuro-behavioral/academic/social struggles! She adores teaching and encouraging kids to reach their fullest potential in a variety of ways. She also enjoys riding and training horses, running, fitness and traveling! Wendy and her family live in Powhatan, VA.