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About Us

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Making theatre should always be a community–building endeavor. Many theatre artists wear the title of, “story–teller” with great pride, and while this title is accurate, we do tell stories, it is ultimately reductive as it doesn’t do any work to address the question, “What are you telling stories for?” Stories, words, and art in general are the most effective avenues we humans use to connect with one another. We believe that theatre can and should be used to strengthen the connection of a community and the countless sub-communities contained within. So, rather than aiming to create theatre for a global or even national audience, we choose to serve the people we work, play, and live with on a daily basis. For these reasons, we prefer the title, “community–builders” over, “story–tellers.”

Dais Johnston

Director of Production and Resident Playwright

Dais is a playwright who aims to explore the intersection between media -- myth, theatre, television, cinema -- and dissecting their universal appeal. In co-founding QCTC, they aim to make theatre accessible for all, especially the Staunton community, as a way to further conversations about these intersections. They hold a BA in theatre from Agnes Scott College.

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Thomas K. Prater

Artistic Director and Resident Playwright

Thomas is an actor and playwright originally from LaGrange, Georgia. His work aims to create stories that challenge the notions of contemporary tradition & genre through a process of theatrical antiquarianism and community-driven collaboration. He is especially interested in creating theatre art that places a spotlight on the text in order to reveal the humanity inherent in all spoken and written words. He holds a MFA in Shakespeare and Performance from Mary Baldwin University and a BA in Theatre Arts, Performance from LaGrange College.



Queen City Theatre Company aims to create relevant, enlivening, and original theatre and performance art that is accessible to the city of Staunton, Virginia and its surrounding communities by creating completely original work both for and from within the Queen City.




  • The Company values local artists and will always strive to amplify the voices of Staunton-based artists to ensure the art they produce is accessible to their community. The Company will always provide the artists they hire with professional and competitive compensation. 

  • The Company values providing their audience with accessible theatre art. As such, QCTC charges all admission to their performances at a pay-what-you-will rate.

  • Artistically, QCTC puts the plays at the forefront of their work as they believe that the key to connection and community is the theatrical work which they produce above all else. All The Company’s efforts whether onstage, in the rehearsal hall, or within the community, are to be in service of the plays which the Company creates.

  • QCTC will always value professional product and practice over artistic egotism and theatrical fascism.

The purposes of The Company are:

• To stimulate the production of original performance art in the City of Staunton.
• To provide professional employment and artistic fulfillment to the city’s local artists.
• To foster community within the city by providing it with theatrical experiences that challenge the mind and enliven the soul.

This list of virtues is the spirit that dwells in every tenement of QCTC’s work and processes.

• Gratitude: QCTC and the artists which they employ shall approach their work with gratitude towards all the people, plays, and properties which make the work possible.
• Honesty: QCTC and the artists which they employ shall interact with their collaborators, their work, and the public with honesty and candor. By creating an honest production environment, QCTC hopes to make equally honest theatre and performance art for their community.
• Originality: QCTC and the artists which they employ shall create their work with the spirit of individual
originality and expression. QCTC strives to challenge the notions of contemporary genre, tradition, and
storytelling by creating new and innovative stories from within the community.
• Safety: QCTC and the artists which they employ shall approach their work with all necessary safety
measures and practices regarding staged combat, intimacy, stunts, artistic leadership, and all other delicate aspects of the work.
• Tact: QCTC and the artists which they employ shall interact with their collaborators and the public with sensitivity, empathy, and tact in all situations.

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