Providing transformative arts education for students of all ages is at the heart of the mission of Richmond CenterStage Foundation. Since 2009, the BrightLights Education Initiatives have aimed to serve educators, students and families from across the Richmond region, working to increase equity in access to the arts and arts in education.

Throughout the year, our programs take place in schools and community settings, including the venues of Dominion Arts Center. We believe in the power of the arts to enrich, enliven and educate children and adults in significant ways—ways that lead to new understandings in learning and life, which inevitably improves quality of living across our region.


The Genworth BrightLights Education Center serves as the hub for the education programs of Richmond CenterStage. With four classrooms of varied sizes, the Center hosts a variety of meetings, workshops (for educators, artists and students), as well as classes offered by CenterStage, our resident companies, arts partners and other community organizations. Examples include rehearsals of the Richmond Symphony’s Youth Orchestra Program, dance classes provided by Latin Ballet of Virginia and acting classes offered by Quill Theatre and SPARC (School of the Performing Arts for the Richmond Community).

The Genworth BrightLights Education Center also houses the Digital Arts Lab – a state-of-the-art video and computer laboratory where students can develop and improve technology skills. Our video production course curriculum is designed for high school (and some middle school) students. From setting up a camera, to shooting, editing and uploading content, students learn all aspects of video production. They put their skills to use by serving as the crew for many of our live-streamed and recorded events. Endorsed by the Virginia Department of Education, this course is also eligible for Independent Study credit for high school students.


ELLA (Early Literacy Learning through the Arts)

Our arts-integrated early childhood literacy program, ELLA, uses music, theater and dance to teach early literacy skills in Pre-K classes, with an emphasis on vocabulary and reading comprehension. The program incorporates artist residencies in the classroom, community field trips, and parental involvement in support of learning that takes place seamlessly between classroom, home and community environments.

Performance-based Learning Events

In conjunction with performances at CenterStage venues, performance-based learning events include our OnStage School Matinees, and Bardathon — an annual collaboration with Quill Theatre that brings high school theater teams together to perform a classic work of the Bard. Throughout the year, we also live-stream Cast Chat-Backs, featuring actors from the touring Broadway in Richmond series and master classes and lecture-demonstrations with other touring artists.

Lights Up! Youth Open House

Held bi-annually, Lights Up! is a day-long event when the Dominion Arts Center is opened to the entire community! Free participatory workshops, lecture-demonstrations and performances are provided by our resident companies and other arts partners.

Wells Fargo OnStage Family Series

Featuring artists from around the state and our local community, the OnStage Family Series offers Saturday morning family performances in our intimate Libby S. Gottwald Playhouse.

For further information or to get involved, please contact: or call 804-327-5755.