One Week, Two Weeks … 3 Wishes Come True

DanWil 2Some wishes are hard to make come true – but at Durham Family Theatre TODAY we have 3 WAYS TO MAKE BRILLIANT WISHES COME TRUE!

WISH 1: In just ONE WEEK you can attend the opening night of “The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963” (Hilarious and Heartwarming! The New York Times) TICKETS for the NOV. 14, 15, 21 & 22 evening shows and matinees are on sale TODAY at

Friends 5WISH 2:  TWO WEEKS REMAIN to make your EARLY REGISTRATIONS for DFT’S always full SUMMER THEATRE CAMPS 2015 and SAVE 10% on the registration fee (Early Registration closes on Nov. 23 – General Registration opens on Dec. 1st)

Snow ANgelWISH 3: REGISTER TODAY for DFT’S fun, exciting & educational 8-week WINTER ACTING CLASSES – help create original characters in original plays written especially for our young actors by DFT artistic director, Jenny Justice




“The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963” From the Newbery and Coretta Scott King Honor Book novel by Christopher Paul Curtis, adapted for the stage by Reginald André Jackson


“The Watsons Go to Birmingham -1963” was chosen to kick-off Durham Family Theatre’s fifth season because it is an exceptionally well-written portrayal of family strength and love. In keeping with our tradition of producing plays developed from outstanding American literature, the story lifts up both the worst and the best in human nature, exemplifying the power of family love to transcend violence with compassion and humor.

“Hilarious and Heartwarming!” The New York Times

Durham Family Theatre’s 5th season opening production is NOT TO BE MISSED!



Micah HallMicah Hall (Kenny Watson) is an 11-year-old, 7th grade Durham homeschool student who has trained with Durham Family Theatre since 2011. Micah is a remarkably enthusiastic and disciplined learner (Micah memorized all of his lines over the summer in order to earn the central role of Kenny, through whose eyes the Watson’s story is told) In addition to being a dedicated and extremely talented young actor, Micah excels in his studies of science and math and plans to build a career on these skills and interests. No matter what he does in life, Micah plans to keep acting in his future. He enjoys the opportunity to play different roles and become something or someone out of his normal character.

DominiqueDominique Akpotanor (Bryan Watson), Durham Family Theatre’s Devonté Squire Apprentice 2014.[1] Dominique is 19-year-old junior in the Department of Theatre and Dance at North Carolina Central University. Dominique began training in theatre during middle school and was immediately captivated by the chance to convey emotions so that people can glimpse, and identify with, another person’s pain or happiness. At the age of 14, Dominique was chosen to perform in an Off-Broadway production of “A Perfect Murder.” Despite the considerable challenges of a career in theatre, Dominique says he would honestly perform for free, because, “Theatre is not only a form of entertainment, it allows people to witness human strengths and weaknesses in ways they can relate to.” [1] The DSA is an annual paid acting position that DFT created to help bridge the financial resources gap faced by African American theatre students working toward acting careers. The DSA is selected through an application/audition process in partnership with NCCU Dept. of Theatre & Dance. The DSA 2014 is made possible through a grant from The Mary Duke Biddle Foundation – SUPPORT THE DSA in 2015 by making a DONATION to DFT Today!

Shine It On!

THE WATSONSWATCH THE 3rd & FINAL Durham Family Theatre 5th Season Kickoff video on YouTube: SHINE IT ON! DONATE NOW!

You can view the first 2 installments at:

Alice juryFriends of Durham Family Theatre have raised the grand amount of nearly $2,000 for our 5th Season Kick-Off Fundraiser. That leaves us with $3,000 still to raise and only 7-days to go before our Oct. 18 deadline. Can we do it? Of course we can. Why do we need to do it this year more than in the past?

Durham Family Theatre has been growing steadily each year since we began offering high quality shows and educational programs to our multi-racial, intergenerational community in August 2010.

Wren 1In our first year our budget was $12,000. In 2011-2012 we more than doubled that budget to $26,000 and became able to offer a small monthly salary ($1,000) to our artistic director for nine months. In 2013-2014 we again advanced our income and our expenses with a grant from the Mary Duke Biddle Foundation that allowed us to purchase necessary office equipment, reach into new Durham communities for people to serve and initiate the Devonte Squire Apprenticeship with the Department of Theatre & Dance at NCCU.

DanWil 2On Nov. 14, 15, 21 & 22 we will produce our 5th season opening show, “The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963,” from the Newbery & Coretta Scott King Honor Book novel by Christopher Paul Curtis. (TICKETS) “The Watsons” is co-produced with the Dept. of Theatre & Dance at NCCU and the historic Hayti Heritage Center.

Space Pirates-1076Following that we hope to produce our 5th annual family musical – one of our most successful annual events – with “The Bridge to Terabithia.” However, this past year the NC legislature canceled a city schools enrichment grant that provided DFT with $5,000 of our annual budget. For a small not-for-profit arts organization, this is a huge loss. DONATE NOW!

Baby BirdsWe intend to make up the hole in our income with additional educational programming and are ready to launch 3-week school Intercession Camps as soon as we can locate a space in which to hold them. We also intend to build on our success with the Biddle grant with additional grant applications and fundraising events.  DONATE NOW!

MST My HatIn the interim we are strapped for funds and need for the public we serve to pick up the slack as you are willing and able. WE CAN MAKE IT TO HAPPEN TOGETHER.


The DFT board and staff believe strongly in our mission and are committed to fulfilling it for many years to come. Thank you for your support.

Jenny Justice, DFT Artistic Director

Meet the Watsons


The Watsons Family

The DFT cast of “The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963″ from the Newbery and Coretta Scott King Honor Book novel by Christopher Paul Curtis, adapted by Reginald Andre Jackson, has been rehearsing for only a week, but already we feel like family – like community – like a dedicated group of 21 actors, 1 director and 3 director’s assistants and volunteers intent on creating an outstanding production of a play we love. BE THE FIRST TO GET YOUR TICKETS for this “Hilarious and Heartwarming” (The New York Times) play.

TICKETS  for “The Watsons” (Nov. 14, 15, 21, 22, 2014) ARE ON SALE NOW: BY CARD on the DFT SHOWS page or BY MAIL with a check to DFT, PO Box 61894, Durham, NC 27715.

To bring our programs to the public, Not-for-Profit organizations like DFT depend on financial support from a broad community of donors. DONATE TODAY! DFT must raise an additional $ 3,000 by Oct. 17, 2014,  in order to present our 5th annual family musical, “The Bridge to Terabithia.” VISIT OUR 5th Season Fundraiser Parts I on YOUTUBE & II on YOUTUBE and Learn How We Will Get From Here to There in 3 SHORT WEEKS!


DFT 5th Season Update

RosesThank you to all our generous 5th Season KickOff Fundraiser Donors So Far

Durham Family Theatre is 1/3rd of the way toward reaching our

$ 5,000 fundraising goal. Fantastic.

PRESENTING DFT’S 5th Season KickOff Fundraiser iMovie Part II

Enjoy the new iMovie on You Tube and find out how we’re going to get here from there!

Warmly, Jenny Justice

3 BIG ANNOUNCEMENTS for DFT’s 5th Season Kickoff!

MST My HatAnnouncing DFT’S 5th Season KickOff Fundraiser:



Keep the Dream Alive & Growing!”

Announcing Auditions for “The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963” (Shows on Nov. 14, 15, 21, 22, 2014)

Produced in partnership with the Dept. of Theatre & Dance at NCCU and The Hayti Heritage Center

WHEN: Saturday, September 13, noon – 2:00 pm and Monday, September 15, 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm

WHERE: Central Park School for Children, 724 Foster Street, Durham, NC

WHO: Roles for African American actors aged 6 – 76

HOW:  Cold readings from the script; first come/first seen

CONTACT: Jenny Justice,, (919) 286-5717

Daja Middleton HeadshotAnnouncing the DFT Devonté Squire Apprentice 2014 – 2015*

Daja Middleton, a junior at NCCU and a native of Durham, NC, has been awarded DFT’S first Devonté Squire Apprenticeship for acting. Congratulations to Daja Middleton, the 2014 “Star Performer” with the Department of Theatre and Dance at North Carolina Central University! As the DSA, Ms. Middleton will receive a $1,200 stipend for her performance of a major role in DFT’s 2014-2015 main stage season of plays.

Ms. Middleton will perform the role of Wilona Watson in DFT’s 5th season opening show, “The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963,” from the Newbery and Coretta Scott King Honor Book novel by Christopher Paul Curtis, adapted for the stage by Reginald Andre Jackson.

*The 2014-2015 DSA is made possible through a grant from The Mary Duke Biddle Foundation

Telling Stories


While living in Boston, Mass. in the ’80s & 90s (last century) I made a good full-time living as a storyteller and educator for young and old. I taught teachers in the Creative Arts in Learning master’s degree program at Lesley University and helped to found The Three Apples Storytelling Festival. I performed stories at The National Storytelling Festival in Tennessee and at Pete Seeger’s “Hudson River Revival” festival.

All that time I had a dream of telling stories in a different way – not as a one-night-only performer or even as part of a three-month school residency. I dreamed of telling stories over many years as part of a community.

Today I had the pleasure of sharing 2 stories with a group of 250 K-5th graders at Central Park School for Children (where DFT holds our play rehearsals.) Among the 250 students were many I had known for 3, 4 or 5 years as participants in DFT classes, camps and plays. And a great many others I remembered from telling stories at CPSFC two-years-ago.

Jenny crpWe had great fun together today – it was a blast – there was a strong feeling that we knew each other from the start – Respect had been established. We were comfortable together. After 35-minutes, much laughter and even some gasping suspense – the students filed quietly out to the sound of gentle music and many of them briefly touched my hand as they walked past, nodded shyly or smiled. We had shared a good time together. We knew each other better now.

That’s when I realized that my long-ago Boston dream had come true in Durham, North Carolina. And I wanted to say, “thank you.”

Warmly, Jenny Justice