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The Seventh Annual Tom Tom Founders Festival is a week-long celebration of innovators, visionaries, and artists who are shaping small cities. The Festival occurs at dozens of venues throughout downtown Charlottesville. 

avatar for Melissa Charles

Melissa Charles

DMR Adventures
Melissa Charles is the Producing Artistic Director of DMR Adventures, the Founder/President of the Belmont Arts Collaborative and serves on the Virginia Theatre Association (VTA) Board as Chair of the Theatre for Youth Division. She is a professional actor, director, choreographer, and educator, and has produced, directed and choreographed over 60 productions. A member of the Actors Equity Association (AEA) and SAG-AFTRA, she has worked as an actor in theatre, film, and television in NYC, LA and in regional theaters throughout the country, Melissa recently played the role of Lydia Ketcham for three years on the AMC television series, Turn: Washington’s Spies. She has taught workshops, classes, and coached actors for the International Thespian Festival, Broadway Adventure, Union Street Theatre, Live Arts, Lighthouse Studios, Chautauqua Institution, Charlottesville High School, Tandem Friends, Peabody School, the Village School (where she currently teaches Drama for grades 5-8), and more. Melissa is certified in Level One of the iTheatrics Method. She has a Certificate in Non-Profit Management from Duke University and a B.A. in Drama from the University of Virginia. Melissa recently founded the Belmont Arts Collaborative (BAC) in Charlottesville, VA — an accessible and affordable venue for artists and arts & community organizations. One of Melissa’s most valued accomplishments is the creation of DMR’s Youth Leadership Program (YLP), through which dozens of students interested in a career in the performing arts have gained hands-on experience with professional mentors. Melissa is honored to have been selected as a recipient of the 2018 Freddie G Fellowship, which recognizes eight outstanding educators from schools and performing arts centers around the globe.

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