Producing Artistic Director, Director: Matilda
Melissa Charles is the Founder and Producing Artistic Director of DMR Adventures, the Founder/President of the Belmont Arts Collaborative, and a Co-Founder of Musical Theatre MEGACamp. She is a professional actor, director, choreographer, and educator, and has produced, directed and choreographed over 80 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, which can now be seen on Netflix. Melissa is certified in Level One of the iTheatrics Method and 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 DMR currently runs the drama program for grades 5-8 ), and more. She served on the board of the Virginia Theatre Association (VTA) as Chair of the Theatre for Youth Division over the last several years, where she expanded the reach of the division and programmed over 20 events for the organization’s first-ever virtual festival, including producing and directing a new virtual musical with an international cast. Melissa has been called an "artistic visionary" and specializes in creating artistic communities and collaborative spaces. Melissa founded the Belmont Arts Collaborative (BAC) in Charlottesville, VA in 2017 — an accessible and affordable venue for artists and arts & community organizations, and created the Musical Theatre MegaCamp in 2020, alongside four other directors from across the nation, to give virtual performing arts educational opportunities to students during the Covid-19 pandemic and beyond. From 2010-2011, Melissa created and produced ART ON MAIN, an outdoor arts and cultural festival, bringing together thousands of artists and community members to celebrate the revitalization of Downtown Danville, VA, which evolved into the annual River District Festival. One of Melissa’s most valued accomplishments is the creation of DMR’s Youth Leadership Program (YLP), through which almost one hundred students interested in a career in the performing arts have gained hands-on experience with professional mentors in creative, technical and administrative positions. She has a Certificate in Non-Profit Management from Duke University and a B.A. in Drama from the University of Virginia and resides primarily in Charlottesville, VA where she lives with her supportive cheerleaders - her husband, Matt, and son, Cooper.
Melissa received recognition from the Danville Historical Society for "Dedicated Commitment and Service to Historic and Cultural Preservation and Development," after years of developing multiple business and arts and educational opportunities for the Danville, VA community. 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.