Late last year, Byron Woods wrote about how Raleigh Little Theatre flourished under the tenure of outgoing director Charles Phaneuf, who left to take the helm of the United Arts Council of Raleigh and Wake County.

Now the mantle of carrying on that legacy falls to Heather J. Strickland, who the venerable community theater’s board of directors named as Phaneuf’s replacement today.

Strickland brings notable organizational-strategy expertise to the post. She has been the communications and development director at the N.C. Partnership for Children’s Smart Start program since 2013 and has also worked in marketing for the N.C. Department of State Treasurer and Carolina Ballet.

Just as important, she’s been involved with Raleigh Little Theatre for 15 years as a volunteer, director, teaching artist, board member, and even fight choreographer. Though RLT hired a firm to help conduct a national search, they found their candidate right here at home.

Strickland takes over from interim artistic director Patrick Torres on June 17. “Heather has been a friend and influential member of the RLT community for a long time,” Torres said in a press release. “As we face the challenges of COVID-19, her vision, passion, and commitment to our community will help us grow stronger than we have ever been.”

Look forward to a welcome reception for Strickland to be announced in coming weeks, when the world and Raleigh Little Theatre start reopening into a whole new era.    

Contact arts and culture editor Brian Howe at 

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One reply on “Raleigh Little Theatre Names Heather J. Strickland as Executive Director”

  1. I think there’s a bobble in this article… there’s a reference to Patrick Torres as “interim artistic director,” but it seems he is still Artistic Director & (I assume) has been doubling as interim Executive Director.

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