VCA News

The VCA Announces New Partnership to Ignite Poetry Out Loud Program

The Virginia Commission for the Arts (VCA) is excited to announce a new educational partnership through which The Wayne Theatre will serve as the host and administrator of this year’s Poetry Out Loud. A national program sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation, Poetry Out Loud brings poetry to high schoolers through memorization and recitation. Through Virginia’s program, more than 5,000 annual high school students from across the state master public speaking skills and build self-confidence – all with classical and contemporary poems at the forefront.

Dp SZDSQ 600x400
Virginia’s 2023 Poetry Out Loud winners

“The VCA is thrilled by the opportunity to pair this longstanding Virginia program with a longstanding arts organization” says Margaret Hancock, Executive Director of the Virginia Commission for the Arts. “As Poetry Out Loud marks its twentieth year, it plays an important role within Virginia through building of community, connecting of educators, and lifting of students. To partner with The Wayne Theatre – located in central Virginia, with a talented staff, and with arts and education at its core – is to fully ignite the program for Virginia’s educators and learners.”

The Wayne Theatre, opened in 1926 and located in historic downtown Waynesboro, provides arts education across multiple mediums. The Wayne maintains programs and activities within a wide region of Virginia and is excited to grow its education outreach across the state through Poetry Out Loud. The organization has participated in Poetry Out Loud in previous years, serving as host to regional competitions, and is honored to increase participation for the coming year.

“We are geared up and excited to facilitate the meaningful Poetry Out Loud program” notes Tracy Straight, Executive Director, The Wayne Theatre. “Serving future generations of artists, arts patrons, and arts appreciators is core to our mission. And there is no greater means in which to serve the state at-large than to partner with the VCA for Poetry Out Loud.”

The Poetry Out Loud program is conducted every academic year, growing in scale year over year and engaging more than 100,000 students across Virginia since its inception. The competition starts in the classroom, then broadens to the state level, and culminates at the national finals in Washington, D.C. Educators interested in participating in Virginia’s Poetry Out Loud program are encouraged to contact Corey Holmes, Director of Education, Wayne Theatre, at

Skip to content