PAVAN Governor's School for the Arts


The Theatre Division at PAVAN is unlike any program offered in the area. Our focus is on product, rather the process of theatre and its’ rich, deep historical contexts that lay the pathway for our modern approach. Students are challenged to reach their fullest potential as actors and actresses through individual and ensemble work, language, movement, and improvisation.

Students are also provided with a strong foundation for character development, script analysis and performance techniques. PAVAN's comprehensive curriculum introduces techniques like: Stanislavski, Meisner, Kabuki, Noh, Drumming, Polish Poor Theatre, Puppetry, as well as Ensemble building.

Development of short, new works piece are student-devised. Participants work together using higher level thinking to create a new piece. Creative challenges and decisions like plot line, staging and character development are resolved with faculty guidance.

How can I prepare for PAVAN? Become a student of the craft. Investigate, discover and explore any terms in this letter that you aren’t familiar with before coming to the program. Attend productions this summer. Go see theatre. Investigate. Discover. Explore.


​"There was so much more in-depth instruction and feedback."
"It is more educational, professional, and fun."
"This is the best program in NOVA for kids to express themselves and it’s changing my life as an actor and person."
"This program is the best. The material taught is challenging and fun."


Russ Staggs
​Russ Staggs has 20 years of teaching experience, primarily in the Drama classroom, but also as an English and Journalism teacher.

 Mr. Staggs received his BA in English with a minor in Theatre from James Madison University in 1999. Ten years later, Mr. Staggs received his MA in Theatre Studies from Regent University where he had the opportunity to work with Victoria Jackson (former Saturday NIght Live member) among other prominent professionals in Theatre.

Mr. Staggs began his career in 1999 at his alma mater, Great Bridge High School, in Chesapeake, VA, where he taught for 8 years. Students under Mr. Staggs’ direction raked in over 100 acting, playwriting, and design awards state and nationwide, including 2 state champion productions and multiple state-runner up productions, primarily written by Mr. Staggs and his students.

Mr. Staggs also taught 4 years at Grassfield High, the newest high school in Chesapeake, VA. In their first two years, the Grassfield Theatre department won four consecutive VHSL District Theatre Competitions, ranked 2nd in the state twice and won the VHSL AAA State Theatre Festival. In addition, the Fine Arts Department collaborated on three major musical productions involving nearly 100 students each: Guys & Dolls, Fiddler on the Roof, and Les Miserables.

Mr. Staggs also taught at the Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter School, a one-of-a-kind school in Western Massachusetts where the arts are the center of education. As a result, Mr. Staggs brings a unique perspective on the benefits and need of arts integration and collaboration in the traditional classroom.

Most recently, Mr. Staggs, now Head of Theatre at Loudoun Valley High School directed the state champion production of “The Trial of Ygor,” an original production based on Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein. Individual acting, playwriting, and design awards were given on the state and national level, most notably being recognized at the Southeastern Theatre Conference (SETC) in Chattanooga, TN, as the BEST ENSEMBLE in the nation.

In addition to his extensive teaching experience, Mr. Staggs has been an active participant in the community. He has played various roles as part of Tidewater Community College’s Annual Shakespeare In The Grove for 15 years; served as a Board Member for the Virginia Theatre Association for 5 years, including the office of Vice President; and he has worked closely with students in various Hampton Roads high schools and colleges in hopes of bolstering the already strong artistic presence in the area.

Russ Staggs is dedicated to the growth of confident, versatile performers and designers in the arts.