A local theatre group provides unique opportunities and diverse experiences for aspiring actors and adventurous audiences.
LaTasha Do’zia-Earley is the Founding Artistic Director of Selah Theatre Project located at 30 East 8th Street in Front Royal. She has taught over 650 young actors in many venues throughout the Shenandoah Valley and is hoping to continue to build up an artistic presence in the region.
Mrs. Do’zia-Early has a stellar personality so it’s no wonder her organization is dedicated to helping others shine. However, she would be the first to tell you that Selah Theatre Project is much more about building community and cultivating life skills rather than manufacturing celebrity.
“The work we do is simple. Theatre with a purpose,” says Do’zia-Early. “One of the lacking areas in this region is performing arts that is technical based, that is not just about pumping out the next star or the next diva. … these are kids that want to be here. Our community members that are actors here, they want to be here. They’re fully invested.”
According to its website, Selah Theatre has become the leading private contractor for local parks and recreation dramatic arts education programming in the Shenandoah Valley and surrounding areas.
Being a gay woman of color, Do’zia-Early, who is a Winchester resident, says she has had trouble getting cast in the area. In the past, she’s had to travel to DC, Maryland, and West Virginia to find roles.
“When I’m called it’s usually to play a slave or a maid.” she says, “Here the kids get to learn and the adults get to work. We don’t do a whole lot of color casting. It’s more like color blind casting. Some people are against that, but I don’t really care because if the actor is the best one for the role that’s what we’re gonna do.”
According to Do’zia-Early, The Selah Theatre Project has been warmly received and welcomed by folks in Front Royal.
“People are starting to see the importance of the arts in their lives and their children’s lives and how it builds a community.” says Do’zia-Early.
She says their collective has done shows that a lot of other local performance venues have been scared to do, such as The Vagina Monologues, and have had great audiences in Warren County in particular.
They will soon be expanding their programming into Winchester by partnering with the Hideaway Cafe on North Braddock Street in the old Post Office building. Eventually Do’zia-Early and her wife, a choreographer, would also like to open a dance studio in Front Royal. In addition, she looks forward to partnering with local schools.
Listen here for a brief interview between Jarred Hill and LaTasha Do’zia-Earley:
For information on upcoming classes, performances and special events visit the Selah Theatre Project website: www.selahtheatreproject.org.