Essential African Threads

a Family Time Event

February 04, 2023

11am and 2pm

Main Stage Theater

From “Anansi the Spider” to “Brer Rabbit,” traditional slave tales have hidden meanings that serve to educate and celebrate African American history. Storyteller Dylan Pritchett brings the early days of slavery to life through these tales that are wound tightly with themes of family strength and morals as well as lessons that teach about character and survival.

Dylan Pritchett shares his folktales with thousands of children and adults throughout the country, with positive messages that cross cultural boundaries. As the past president of the National Association of Black Storytellers, Dylan is dedicated to passing on the rich oral tradition of storytelling. In addition to live performances, Dylan has produced narration and served as a performer and consultant for a number of broadcast documentaries, including the PBS program, “View from the Mountaintop,” the Thomas Jefferson biography.

Presented in partnership with the Virginia African American Cultural Center and Arts for Learning. Free performance is provided through The Z Ticket Bank, special thanks to sponsorship from Virginia African American Cultural Center.

Additional program support is provided by Arts Alliance, Virginia Commission for the Arts, and National Endowment for the Arts.


Photos and/or videos may be taken of adults and children at performances and used for promotional purposes, which may include social media, web, and print


Family Time: The Z and community partners present a full season of original tales and family favorites in fun, engaging performances for theater-lovers of all ages! Family fun starts here! 

Proteus Festival

A Z Signature Festival Event

September 30, 2022 to October 08, 2022

See event details for times

Lobby, Main Stage Theater, Studio Theater, The Outside Terrace

2 full weekends of creativity are back at The Z! 

Showcases of music, comedy, theater, kid’s entertainment, open mics, a silent auction, and interactive art projects take over our block of Town Center this October in the don’t-miss event of the season! Come see what The Z is all about-there’s no arts fest like Proteus!




9/30-10/1 and 10/5-10/7 at 7pm

Studio Theater

The 2022 Proteus New Plays Festival features four new works written in our American Dreamwrights Workshop. Join us for performances in repertory during Proteus and vote for your favorite show. Winner of the Audience Favorite will get an extended run in November. 2022 Selected Plays are: “A Cut Above” by Zachary and Christen Davis, “The Blood Cycle” by Benita Alane, “Likker Outta Control, Busting Arlena Cartwright” by Clyde Santana, and “No One Knows Her Song” by P.A. Wray

*”The Blood Cycle”, originally planned for Sept. 30, has been rescheduled to Wed. Oct. 5 at 7pm. Patrons who purchased a ticket for Sept. 30’s show can exchange their ticket for Oct 6 or 7 and see the Oct 5 performance for free. Please contact the Box Office with questions. 


Friday, Oct. 7 at 8pm



Saturday, Oct. 8 from 2-7pm


Your introduction to The Z starts this October! Our annual Proteus Block Party is the biggest don’t-miss FREE event of the season showcasing music, comedy, theater, kid’s entertainment, open mics, and interactive art projects. We’ll have our doors open wide for the community to come see what The Z is all about-there’s no arts fest like Proteus!

PARTY LIKE A VIP:  For $100 get a reserved seat at a VIP premium view table, then enjoy dinner and a show with catered food and private bar access during the Block Party, plus a ticket to the Proteus Music Contest at 8pm.


Saturday, Oct. 8 at 8pm

Mainstage Theater

The Proteus Festival Music Contest is for emerging and early-career musical artists!
See performances from our five finalists at Proteus Festival, and watch as a winner is crowned by a panel of music industry professionals. The grand prize is a headlining concert in the Live at The Z Music Series and a recording package in The Z’s recording studio.



Sponsored by: 

Ballet Virginia Season Opening

with Ballet VA

October 28, 2022 to October 29, 2022

Friday, 7:30 PM and Saturday at 2 PM and 7:30 PM

Main Stage Theater

Ballet Virginia’s season kicks off with a mix of contemporary and classical works. These performances will feature choreography by Lydia Roberts Coco, BV’s Artistic Director, as well as Dwight Rhoden, Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Complexions Contemporary Ballet. Mr. Rhoden was hailed as “one of the most sought-after choreographers” by the New York Times. Rhoden’s work, “Evermore” and Coco’s work “Bolero” are sure to delight. These wonderful and diverse artists will leave a lasting impression on the audience with their passion and artistry. Prepare to be thoroughly captivated!

Heart and Soul

with Ballet VA

February 10, 2023 to February 11, 2023

February 10th at 7:30 PM and 11th at 2 PM and 7:30 PM

Main Stage Theater

Dance, with its profound ability to evoke emotions through movement, is all about “Heart + Soul”. Whether it’s a sweet love story, a joyful meeting, or deep and complex issues, dance has the ability to express and explore it like no other art form.

Ballet Virginia’s professional company will perform a variety of themed classical and contemporary works with a focus on diversity. The production will include Lydia Roberts Coco’s acclaimed “FIVE”, along with “Dark Instincts”, the joyous “A Seed of Faith” and an uplifting new piece.  “FIVE” is Coco’s work of historical significance which tells the moving story of the Central Park Five. Our second company, BVII, will perform under the direction of Suzanne Lownsbury and Janina Michalski.

Join us on this dance journey that will touch the heart and stir the soul.

Songwriter Swap

Live at The Z Music Series

May 26, 2023


Main Stage Theater

Each songwriter brings their indelible creative fingerprint to their original songs. But what happens when another songwriter layers their creative fingerprint on top? That is what you will hear at this Songwriters Swap featuring 6 Hampton Roads songwriters performing their original music as well as each other’s!


Live at the Z Music Series:  The spotlight is on music with our Live at The Z Music Series specially curated to elevate new and exciting artists of all genres to the center stage. Originality and talent shines in our state-of-the-art venue that welcomes audiences into an intimate and immersive musical experience. Music starts here. #LiveAtT

Around the World in Eighty Days

with Children's Theater of Hampton Roads

May 13, 2023

Saturday at 11am and 2pm

Main Stage Theater

Adaptation by Anton Five, Directed by Mike Burnette

Adventure! Excitement! Improv! Adventure! We invite you to join our two explorers, Phileas Fogg and Jean Passepartout, as they attempt to win a race across the globe. But to make this the trip of a lifetime, the explorers will need your help. Based on the novel by Jules Verne, this interactive CTHR production (back by popular demand) delights audiences of all ages. Will Jean and Phileas make it around the world on schedule, or will their hilarious antics slow them down? Only time will tell! This audience favorite is appropriate for all ages (best enjoyed by those four and up).

FAMILY TIME: The Z and community partners present a full season of original tales and family favorites in fun, engaging performances for theater-lovers of all ages! Family fun starts here! Featuring performances by the Children’s Theater of Hampton Roads.