Virginia Beach – Zeiders American Dream Theater (The Z) in Virginia Beach Town Center is bringing back its flagship Proteus Festival from September 28-October 7, with a celebration of theater, music, comedy, and art of all forms.

Proteus Block Party, Oct. 7 from 2-7pm, FREE COMMUNITY EVENT

Free and open to all, the Proteus Block Party is a family-friendly community event that celebrates the arts with a variety of experiences, performances, and activities all day long. Comedy, children’s theater, and music performances will take place on the outdoor stage, and a sampler of the open mic slate will perform musical theater, spoken word and acoustic songs.

Proteus New Plays, Sept. 30-Oct. 1 & Oct. 6-7 at 7pm

Theater lovers can play a role in selecting their audience favorite of the 2023 Proteus New Plays Festival, featuring four new scripts in repertory. New works written in the Z Playwrights Lab are performed live as staged readings on the studio theater stage, and audiences will rate their favorite shows to pick the winner. The 2023 Audience Favorite Play will receive an extended 2-weekend workshop run at The Z this November. This year’s selected plays are:

The Truth Be Told by P.A. Wray – directed by Sharon Cook

Boxes of Someday by LouJ Stalsworth – directed by Sharon Cook

The Lessons by Jennie Brown – directed by Patrick Mullins

Insects and Giants by Clyde Santana – directed by Patrick Mullins 

Proteus Music Contest, Oct. 6 at 7:30pm

Local musicians perform in the Proteus Music Contest, featuring your favorite emerging artists from the 757. Five finalists, including the audience favorite selected by a community vote, compete in a live concert contest to be crowned the winner by a panel of music industry professionals.The grand prize winner will be featured in a headlining concert in the Live at The Z Music Series and receive a recording package in The Z’s recording studio.

Creative Teams, Community Performances

Artists of all kinds can take the stage at Proteus 2023 in the Creative Teams contest. Teams work together to create a brand new piece of film, music or theatrical art based on a prompt in The Z’s version of a “48-hour Play Festival”, and will perform their new creation on the mainstage at The Z. In the past, teams from local community theaters, bands, and other arts groups have taken part. There’s still time to form a team and create new art!

Want to Go or Take Part?

The 2023 Proteus Festival runs weekends from September 28-October 7, 2023 at the Zeiders American Dream Theater. An all-access pass to all events within the festival is available for $100, and all events are ticketed separately. The Block Party is a free, open event for all to join.

For tickets and information, visit or call The Z Box Office Tu-F, 12-6pm at 757-499-0317.