We often say that every student who participates in our TRAIN program becomes part of our TRAIN family. Some of our TRAIN-ers, however, are lucky enough to already be family.

Elise and Molly Nugent and Emmy and Caroline Gravely are our two sets of powerhouse sisters in TRAIN this year. All four acknowledged that their natural competitive tendencies make them their sister’s most honest critic and source of motivation to challenge herself. But they also agreed that, as the person who knows them best, their sister is their favorite scene partner as well as their biggest supporter.

Our dynamic duos answered a few questions for us, giving some insight on how their journey began together as actors, their process while working together, and what it’s like to share the stage with your sister.


The Nugent Sisters

Elise (left) and Molly (right)

Who started acting/performing first?

Molly: Since I am the younger sister, Elise started performing first, but I wasn’t too far behind. My whole family started doing CharacterWorks theater and went on to Virginia Repertory Theatre.

Have you worked on any projects together?

Elise: Molly and I have performed in many musicals together. We’ve taken many classes and intensives together such as TRAIN. Within TRAIN, we were part of the TRAIN Express ensemble that performed at events last year.

Molly: We also improv around the house whenever we can!

What’s it like to work with your sister?

Molly: I always have so much fun working with Elise. Knowing each other so well makes connecting and building on each other’s work super easy. I love to have her around during the practices of shows and for moral support.

Elise: I really enjoy working with Molly because we think alike when making choices on stage. This makes it easy to build scenes and understand the direction of the scene. It is also really fun to have her with me in the rehearsal process. Molly is my personal director as an actress, and vice versa.

How do you two differ as actors? How are you alike?

Molly: I tend to lean towards more serious roles whereas Elise goes for the comedy, but we both love to try it all. I look up to Elise because of her ability to make the character her own and make it super believable. She can always get people to laugh. As I’m growing as an actress, I want to make sure I can do all types of roles, but we both can take a challenge.

Elise: Molly is a more talented actress than I am. She can and will do it all. Molly puts on very compelling serious performances that are so believable, it’s awesome. On the other hand, I tend to make choices that are out of the ordinary with the sole purpose of getting a laugh or two — of course, only when it is appropriate for the scene!

What’s your favorite area and why (film, voice, etc.)?

Elise: This is a challenging question, because I love to experience it all. Over the years, I’ve found that musical theater feels like home. I love the storytelling that it requires alongside the difficulty of perfecting singing, acting, and dancing at the same time.

Molly: I personally love the film side of things because of the intimacy and detailed work. The process of film really fascinates me. I love both film and theater, but film is definitely where my head is pointed.

What’s next for each of you?

Molly: On December 15, the movie Permanent will be released, and I had the wonderful opportunity to be a part of it. The movie was my first big project, and I’m very excited for it to come out. As for right now, I am auditioning and waiting for my next big thing.

Elise: I am a senior in the International Baccalaureate program at Henrico High School, and I aspire to be an orthodontist. But I don’t want to leave the arts behind. I hope to join club theaters in college and perform as a side gig when I graduate.


The Gravely Sisters

Emmy (left) and Caroline (right)

Who started acting/performing first?

While both of us began putting on small performances in the backyard for our family at a young age, Emmy was the first to act outside of the home environment. She enrolled in an acting class with SPARC at age 7.

Have you worked on any projects together?

Yes. Most of our projects have been school Drama Club productions, but we’ve also performed in various other summer programs and at Chickenstock, a local festival that was created to benefit the Fanconi Anemia Research Fund (FARF). We really enjoy working together because it gives us both an immediate burst of confidence to know we’re always there for each other.

What’s it like to work with your sister?

We deal with the occasional sibling rivalry, but for the most part, we both believe working together strengthens our performance and connection to each other, not only as actors but also as sisters. It’s nice to have one another for support, honest critiques, and spontaneous pre-show hugs.

How do you two differ as actors? How are you alike?

Emmy tends to have a very boisterous, energetic, and comedic style, while Caroline’s style is often more dramatic. We both approach new roles in a similar manner, but we always end up taking different paths to achieve our end result.

What’s your favorite area and why (film, voice, etc.)?

We both prefer live theater because of the intimacy and connection between the actors and the audience. The exhilaration of being on stage in front of a live audience is a feeling unlike any other, and it is what inspires us to continue doing what we love.



TRAIN is Virginia’s Pre-Professional Actor Training Program led by Virginia Repertory Theatre and Cadence Theatre Company. This yearlong, sequential program will help the serious acting student learn practical applications of his or her artistic craft and build relationships in order to succeed in the business. Through working with Virginia’s top professional teaching talent, including .Arvold—an award-winning organization that provides casting, production and education, students will leave with monologues, dance for actors, audition skills, headshot / resume / reel, a vocal book, the opportunity to showcase their work for local directors and casting agents, and a better understanding of themselves as artists.

  • Technique: Stanislavski-based actor training, working with monologues, scenes, cold reads, script analysis, dialects, on-camera, vocal and physical
  • Rigor: Preparation, consistency, discipline, accountability, responsibility
  • Audition: Techniques and materials for college, specialty centers, professional theatre and film & TV opportunities
  • Immersion: Priority auditions, complimentary tickets, and backstage passes for VaRep/Cadence shows
  • Network: Building a network of relationships and contacts

This past year, our students worked professionally in Virginia Rep’s Gypsy and Summer & Smoke, Richmond Triangle Player’s A Boy from Oz, TV pilots, commercials, and voice-overs. They were accepted to Governor’s School, NYU summer programs, and conservatory programs.

By audition only


October 2017 – May 2018

  • Mondays, 5:00-7:00pm / Four Saturday sessions (Cost: $1440)
  • Thursdays, 5:00-7:00pm / Four Saturday sessions (Cost: $1440)
  • Resume, headshot and reel add-on fee: $250

October – December 2017 (only two slots available!)

  • College Audition Prep Wednesdays, 5:00-7:00pm (Cost: $900)

Singer and non-singers, ages 12-18.

All classes will be held at the Virginia Repertory Theatre Children’s Theatre at Willow Lawn.



Auditions for 2018-19 session will be in May 2018.

Questions? Contact Director of Education Laine Satterfield



Read VCU student and Cadence Theatre Company intern Danielle Brown’s article on the impact of TRAIN



Core Teaching Artists

Debra Clinton, Musical Theatre

Debra Clinton is a free-lance theatre artist, artistic director of the Jewish Family Theatre (JFT) at the Weinstein JCC, a playwright and lyricist, and a full-time theatre arts teacher in Hanover County. Delighted to start her second year on the TRAIN faculty, recent directorial efforts include Les Miserables, Student Edition (JFT), Croaker (Virginia Rep), The Whipping Man (Virginia Rep), Bad Jews (Theater Lab), and Man of La Mancha (Dogwood Dell). Upcoming projects include the classic American musical 1776 for Virginia Rep. As an actress, Debra has appeared most recently as Mazeppa, the trumpet wielding stripper on the Virginia Rep stage. A proud recipient of the 2013 Theresa Pollak Award for Theater, Debra is honored to be a part of the TRAIN experience.

Erica Arvold, Film / TV

Erica is known for executing the production and casting of high quality, character-driven projects; colleagues, clients, and partners will tell you “she’s the real deal.” Her passion for talent and storytelling is demonstrated through the wide range of productions her company, arvold., has produced and cast. For more than 28 years, Erica has contributed and participated in the casting of more than 150 films, 95 television projects and numerous theatre and short form media & commercials. She most recently cast the indie feature Permanent has recently served as location casting director for Jeff Nichols’ feature film Loving, the AMC series Turn: Washington’s Spies and two seasons of Netflix’s House of Cards. Erica produced and cast the indie film Josephine, served as associate producer and casting director on Coming Through the Rye, helped cast feature films Ithaca and Kicked by Grace, National Geographic’s Killing Kennedy, and her production company is currently producing the independent feature film Chesapeake. She was nominated for CSA’s prestigious Artios Award for the location casting of Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln in 2013 and for the casting of independent feature Big Stone Gap in 2016. Erica served as casting director for Ridley & Tony Scott’s Killing Lincoln, Hallmark Movie Channel’s Lake Effects, and cast and associate produced indie features Wish You Well and Texas Rein. She also produced and cast the psychological thriller House Hunting. As an educator, Erica travels across the country to speak, co-teach and lead master classes for film artists. She has collaborated with, among others, the University of Virginia, University of North Carolina, George Mason University, SAG-AFTRA, Robert Mello Studios, LOAA, MdM, DMR Adventures and the Cadence Theatre TRAIN program. In 2012, Arvold was inducted into the First Lady of Virginia’s Opportunity Hall of Fame for contributing to the economic growth in the state. She is a member of the Casting Society of America and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Erica is grateful to the many writers, filmmakers and actors who have entrusted her to collaborate over the years.               

Laine Satterfield, Acting

Laine is an award-winning theatre artist who has performed in, taught, choreographed, directed and devised theatre both nationally and internationally. She holds a BFA from Tisch School of the Arts at NYU and has trained at the University of Eurasian Theatre, Stella Adler Conservatory, Carnegie-Mellon University, and the University College of London (dramaturgy – Shakespeare and modern British). She has taught at New York University, Stella Adler Conservatory, Aquila University, Virginia Governor’s School, Company of Fools, Artspower, SPARC, Center for the Arts, CenterStage, Cadence Theatre Company, the Joan Oates Institute for Partners in the Arts, and various workshops in the states and abroad. Laine founded the New York City based theatre group, World 3 Theatre Company, where she was Artistic and Founding Director. She also toured extensively with the international theatre group, Linea Trasversale, headed up by Eugenio Barba. She is a member of Actors Equity Association, and a panelist for the VCA’s Arts in Education Grant Program. Recent acting roles include Cadence Theatre Company’s Sight Unseen, Detroit (2015 RTCC Best Ensemble nomination), Virginia Repertory Theatre’s To Kill a Mockingbird, In the Next Room (or the Vibrator Play) for Cadence Theatre Company, Boston Marriage (Stella di Domani Festival at Spoleto, Charleston), under producer Carol Piersol: Gidion’s Knot (2013 RTCC Best Ensemble Acting Award), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (2012 Best Actress nomination, RTCC), Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (2011 Best Actress Award, RTCC), Eurydice (2009 Best Actress nomination, RTCC), and for Virginia Rep: The Little Dog Laughed (2008 Best Supporting Actress nomination, RTCC). Other favorite roles include Lady Macbeth in Macbeth, Elena in Uncle Vanya, Paulina in Death and the Maiden, and Ariel in The Tempest.  In addition to teaching theatre to all ages in the Richmond area, she serves as Program Director for CTC’s STAGE WRITE Program, Cadence/Virginia Rep TRAIN Pre-Professional Acting Training Program and SPARC’s New Voices for the Theater, a statewide high school playwriting program, and also serves as adjunct faculty for VCU, teaching Winning Presentations for the School of Business. Recently, she directed CTC’s acclaimed production of The Mountaintop (six 2016 RTCC nominations).

Lisa Rumbauskas, Dance

Lisa holds a BFA from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, where she studied with and performed works by Mark Morris, Anne Reinking, Seán Curran, Gus Solomons Jr., Ronald K. Brown, and Deborah Jowitt, among others. Other training includes The Joffrey School, American Ballet Theatre, and CPYB. Lisa performed with the Metropolitan Opera Ballet at Lincoln Center under the direction of Mary Zimmerman and starring Renee Fleming. Other credits include Swing! (Bway National Tour), Carousel (Louise), Brigadoon (Maggie Anderson), West Side Story (Anybodys), Cats (Carbukitty), Evita (Tango Dancer), The Most Happy Fella (starring George Hearn), Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Mrs. Potiphar), and the independent film Louis (choreographed by Hinton Battle). Lisa has been a guest teacher for Revolución Latina, on faculty at MMAC in NYC, and is Co-Founder of Moving Youth Dance Company in New Jersey. She is a proud member of Actors Equity Association and is an ABT® Certified Teacher, who has successfully completed the ABT® Teacher Training Intensive in Primary through Level 3. Lisa’s classes focus on technique, quality of movement, musicality, and story-telling through dance.

Stephen Rudlin, Vocal Coach

Stephen Rudlin is currently the Vocal Supervsior/Coach for the 2016-2017 Virginia Rep productions of Junie B. Jones and A Christmas Story, as well as Cadence’s production of Violet. Most recently, he served as Vocal Supervisor/Coach for JFT/ Firehouse’s youth production of Les Miserables and for Cadence’s Best Musical Award Winning Caroline, or Change, as well as the critically acclaimed production of Virginia Rep’s South Pacific and The Fabulous Lipitones. Other credits include: They’re Playing Our Song, Cowgirls, A Christmas Carol, Cabaret Tonight, and The Bellini Sisters. His students have appeared in The Phantom of the Opera, The King And I, Peter Pan, Finding Neverland, and Mamma Mia, all on Broadway. Over 250 students have matriculated to such schools as Julliard, NYU, Harvard, Carnegie Mellon, Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Marymount Manhattan, Emerson, William & Mary, UVA, and Virginia Tech, and subsequently gone on to Broadway, Regional Theatre, and collateral careers in the performing arts and arts education. As a performer, Stephen has appeared at The White House, A Capitol Fourth, The National Theatre, The Kennedy Center, and Ford’s Theatre. He holds a BA in Theatre and Music from William & Mary, as well as graduate work at Manhattan School of Music and intense study with Jeanette Cross of Covent Garden, London, England.

Photo by Jason Collins Photography.

Contemporary Award-Winning Theatre

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