Richmond Theatre Legacy Award

The Legacy Award is given to individuals who have played a foundational role in establishing or strengthening the Richmond-area theater community. Recipients of this award are listed below. Click on the name to watch a video about each honoree. The history of, the formal criteria for consideration for and the individuals currently being considered for the Legacy Award are all detailed below.

Honored in:


Founders of Firehouse Theatre Project: Bill Gordon, Anna Senechal Johnson, Harry Kollatz, Jr., Carol Piersol, and Janet Wilson


None awarded.


Noreen Barnes

Neil and Sara Belle November


Jack Welsh

Roy Proctor


Leslie Cheek, Jr.

Raymond Hodges


Founders of Barksdale Theatre (Pete Kilgore, Muriel McAuley & Nancy Kilgore)

Criteria for consideration for the Legacy Award

The Richmond Theatre Community Circle has established the Legacy Award to be given to individuals who have played a foundational role in establishing or strengthening the Richmond-area theater community. Primary consideration will be given to those who solely or in collaboration with others established a professional theater company or college-level educational program. Priority for recognition will be based on whether the associated company or program is still in operation and the longevity of the associated company or program, in addition to the individual’s generally recognized reputation for outstanding character, commitment to ethical behavior, and dedication to the performing arts.

Secondary consideration will be given to those individuals who have had a substantial and long-running (10 years or more) role in leading a theater company (artistically or administratively) or a college-level educational program or who have founded a broader theatrical program. Priority for recognition will be the same as for primary consideration.

Tertiary consideration will be given to those individuals who have had a substantial and long-running (10 years or more) role in supporting the local theater community at large through advocacy, financial support, professional work that has brought acclaim or attention to Richmond-area theater or in other ways specifically delineated as part of their consideration.

Primary, secondary and tertiary consideration can be accumulated for those who fill multiple roles in the local community.

Award process

Individuals listed in the table below are formally in consideration for future Legacy Awards; potential honorees are being considered in the order in which they are listed. At the time of annual voting, RTCC members will review the “In consideration” list and select the next 2 or 3 recipients or sets of recipients as they deem appropriate for that year. Arguments for changes in the order of the list can also be made at this time.

Upon official selection by the RTCC, notification will be made to awardees or representatives for awardees (in the case of posthumous recognition) in the form of an official letter from the current RTCC President delivered either by mail or e-mail.

Proposals for additions to the “In consideration” list can be submitted at any time, along with documentation and rationale for consideration, based on the definition and criteria statement above. Proposals will be reviewed by the RTCC executive committee and, if deemed sufficient, a motion will be made to the RTCC to add the new entry including where in the order of consideration that individual or set of individuals will be placed.

Potential recipient

Fundamental in…

Company / Organization

Wamer “Buddy” Callahan, Dr. Louis “Lou” Rubin

Establishing (primary)

Swift Creek Mill

Jeri Cutler-Voltz

Establishing (primary)


Bruce Miller & Phil Whiteway

Establishing (primary)

VA Rep (Theatre IV)

Michael Gooding, Steve Earle, and John Knapp

Establishing (primary)

Richmond Triangle Players

Ernie McClintock

Establishing (primary)

Afro-American Studio for Acting and Speech, Harlem Jazz Theatre, Jazz Actors Theatre

Grant Mudge and Cynde Liffick

Establishing (primary)

Encore! Theatre, Inc. / Richmond Shakespeare

Tom Width

Managing (secondary)

Swift Creek Mill

John Glenn

Managing (secondary)

VA Rep (Theatre IV)

Randy Strawderman

Managing (secondary)


Eric Dobbs

Supporting (tertiary)

History of the Legacy Award

The first RTCC awards included the presentation of the Liz Marks Memorial Award for Ongoing Contribution to Richmond Area Theatre, commonly called the Liz Marks Award. This special award was established to honor the untimely passing of performer and producer, Liz Marks, who had a profound influence in the Richmond performing arts community thanks to her work as a casting director. In 2004, she earned an Emmy Nomination for her casting work in HBO’s Iron Jawed Angels and, through her company, Uptown Talent, she gave many local actors and performers their start or big breaks in television and film.

Over the succeeding 8 years, several local luminaries were acknowledged through receipt of this award (see table below). The process for determining winners of the award was simple: members of the RTCC made recommendations of possible recipients and those recommendations were voted on.

In 2017, concerns were raised about two aspects of the Liz Marks Award: 1) there was a lack of a formal process for determining worthiness for potential recipients of the award, and 2) several people who had played a fundamental role in the local theater community were out of consideration for the award because of its concentration on “Ongoing Contribution.” The RTCC decided to pivot from the Liz Marks Award to the Legacy Award to allow recognition of esteemed individuals who played vital roles in establishing the foundations of the thriving Richmond-area theater community.

Legacy Awards were presented over the next 3 years, and the recipients were primarily individuals who had founded theater companies or educational theater programs. In 2019, questions were raised about the process of determining who received the Legacy Award that were similar to those around the Liz Marks Award. While all three recipients made laudable contributions to Richmond-area theater, it was noted that a number of people who had established foundational theater companies had not yet been recognized. A conversation was started to formalize consideration for the Legacy Award, resulting in the criteria and process detailed above.



Theater / Dept / Reason


Liz Marks

Casting director


Wamer “Buddy” Callahan, Dr. Louis “Lou” Rubin

Founders of Swift Creek Mill theater


Neil and Sara Belle November

Funders of many theaters


Michael Gooding, Don Warren, & Jay McCullough

Richmond Triangle Players cofounder & supporters


Jeri Cutler-Voltz

SPARC (The School for the Performing Arts in the Richmond Community)


Tom McGranahan

Actor / volunteer


The Acts of Faith Festival

Audience building events


Bob Albertia, deVeaux Riddick, & Robert Watkins

Actors, dancers


Marie Goodman Hunter, Frances Wessells

Actor, dancer