Coming Up Roses!


Viv & Lily, Summer Theatre Camp

Curtain up! Light the lights! You got nothing to hit but the heights!

You’ll be swell. You’ll be great. I can tell. Just you wait.
That lucky star I talk about is due!
Honey, everything’s coming up roses for me and for you!
From “Gypsy,” with lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and music by Jule Styne

People who participate in DFT largely through our performances sometimes ask me what goes on when I’m not directing plays or teaching classes – Of course there is much to do year-round to keep our theatre strong and growing – and much more when a small not-for-profit is bursting at the seams, ready to build on our first four years of success in living our mission – looking ahead to shaping and funding our fifth season and beyond.

To be certain the vital administrative work is celebrated along with our more public accomplishments, here are a few of our recent administrative successes –

FIRST! Durham Family Theatre has received the Mary Duke Biddle Grant for our 2014-2015 season – specifically to support our efforts toward long-term financial accessibility in scholarships, apprenticeships and outreach to financially challenged communities.  ALONG WITH MANY OTHER funding sources, we will use the $3,000 MDB grant to effectively reach into our underserved community in East Durham, to kick-off an apprenticeship program allowing DFT to employ one acting apprentice in a main stage production each year and establish reliable funding sources for our already active scholarship programs. THANK YOU to Mary Duke Biddle for this significant support.

AND we were able to put the grant to immediate use by attending the Durham Office of Economic and Workforce Development’s annual Youth Jobs Fair at Holten Resource Center in East Durham. It was a wonderful event – I gave out dozens of fliers and summer position applications while meeting over 50 youth and young adults, 48 of whom signed up for more information on summer camp internships and a summer camp assistant director position with DFT.

AND of the fantastic 48 sign-ups, one fantastic applicant demonstrated both the interest and the experience to be hired as our Summer Camp Assistant to the Director. This position is funded through the OEWD with the Mayor’s Summer Youth Works program. I’ll announce our assistant camp director’s name in a few weeks, complete with photo and bio, so check back.

There’s more to tell, but I won’t overwhelm you today. I’ll just say “stay posted” for more of the roses coming up at DFT this spring. (AND DON’T DELAY SIGN UP TODAY FOR OUR AMAZING SUMMER THEATRE CAMPS!)

Warmly, Jenny Justice

How to be taken seriously as an actor -

Ms TaylorHow do you get taken seriously as an actor?

Take acting seriously, and have a great time doing it -

Izzie Ricardo

DFT Teen Theatre Conservatory 2014

DATES: July 7 – 26, 2014

AGES: 12 – 18 years

DAYS: Monday – Friday (Public performances on final Friday and Saturday nights of the conservatory)

join the gangTIMES: 9:00 am – 3:00 pm plus two evening performances

WHERE: Trinity Avenue Presbyterian Church, corner of Gregson St. & Trinity Ave., downtown Durham, NC

FACULTY: Jenny Justice (MFA, theatre, Boston University; MDiv, Harvard)

COST: $ 375.00 (SCHOLARSHIPS are available!)

roryREGISTER: With a card online at (Theatre Camps page) or by check in the mail to DFT, PO Box 61894, Durham, NC 27715

CONTACT: Jenny Justice, artistic director,, (919) 286-5717, DFT PO Box 61894, Durham, NC 27715


ImageTEEN INTERNSHIPS AVAILABLE with DFT Summer Theatre Camps 2014

Durham Family Theatre has 4-5 teaching assistant positions available for each camp session. We are looking for teens that are interested in all aspects of theatre and enjoy working with elementary aged children. (You can apply for as many camp sessions as you like!)


A Play A Day #1 – June 9 – 13

Children’s Theatre Camp #1 – June 16 – June 29

Children’s Theatre Camp #2 – July 28 – August 9

A Play A Day #2 – August 11 – 15

TIMES: Monday – Friday from 8:45 am – 3:00 pm; public performances on last two evenings of camp

PLACE: Trinity Avenue Presbyterian Church, corner of Gregson Street and Trinity Avenue in downtown Durham (near Brightleaf Square and DSA)

ImageIf you are aged 13-17 and interested in an internship with Durham Family Theatre this summer, download the INTERN JOB DESCRIPTION  and  SUMMER INTERN APPLICATION forms, fill out the application and get it back to us soon.

acting games 1And you can find out about the three-week Teen Theatre Conservatory in July by visiting  our Summer Theatre Camps page

If you’ve got questions, email us at or give us a call at (919) 286-5717.

Contact Person: Jenny Justice, DFT artistic director


ImageDurham Family Theatre SPRING ACTING CLASSES begin on Tuesday, March 11, 2014.

Actors of all ages, from K – adults, will have a fantastic time growing
this spring with instructor, Jennifer Justice, a talented storyteller, actress and director with an MFA in directing from the renowned Boston University School of Theatre. Jenny has been studying theatre for nearly fifty years and been awarded the honorific of “Master Storyteller” from The Boston Globe.



ImageAnd Spring into creativity with Durham Family Theatre.



cstpic 1 crpI’m having a great time writing the script for our 9 – 11 year-olds’ Spring acting class, “The Mystery of Wild Horse Canyon.” The main characters were originated by my Spring actors in that age range two-year-ago in the series opener, “Mystery of the Haunted Farmhouse” and they are great fun to write – So much fun that I’ve decided to give you a preview of the play we’ll begin rehearsing at our first class on Tuesday, March 11th (Friday classes available for the same play and age group).

Click Here to Download a Character List and First Scene from “The Mystery of Wild Horse Canyon.”

And then go to the DFT Classes page and register for a fun and exciting Spring.

Then you can register for our Summer Theatre Camps and look forward to a creative summer 2014.

See you soon, Jenny Justice

Brigid Without A Story and Beyond

ImageThank you to everyone in the amazing, talented, dedicated, hardworking, skillful, musical and entirely committed cast and crew of “Brigid Without A Story,” a musical fantasy to enchant every age, DFT’s fourth family musical, which closed to standing ovations this past weekend. Thank you to the families of our cast and crew for your support and your life-changing volunteer efforts to help bring Brigid to the stage and clean up afterward. Thank you for the delicious cake and treats you added to our cast party celebration.

And thank you to our wonderful audiences, for your laughter, your tears, your breathless silences and your enthusiastic appreciation of our new musical.

All the sets, costumes, props, lighting & sound equipment have been carried from our lovely theatre at Trinity United Methodist Church and are waiting to be sorted, cleaned and put away in a measured fashion over the months from now to June when our summer theatre camps begin.

And time moves along – we’re gearing up to present our winter class showcases in a few weeks and begin our much anticipated spring 8-week acting classes (Excitement simmers over the 2nd offering in the Ghostbusting Twins mystery play-series that our 9-12 year old actors will be performing in Spring – it’s going to be fun to see how those weird characters handle their next mystery) Register today for Spring Classes beginning on March 11, 2014.

Summer acting camps are filling fast and our new offering, A Play A Day week-long camps to start and end the summer, is already very popular. Register Today for a summer of creative fun & learning while we make exciting theatre for our audiences!

I’m investigating whether we have the resources (human as well as fiscal) to present a one-weekend only showing of a workshop production in late April. I’d love to do it and have a show in mind, but there are many other aspects of growing DFT that need attention … I’ll finish investigating by next Monday, so check out the DFT Shows page next week to find out what’s ahead.

ImageAnd I’m looking ahead to our board meeting in March – (I love our board members!) There’s lots to do as always to grow Durham’s multi-racial, intergenerational, exciting, transforming community theatre.

The best part is, no one is doing it alone — nearly 100 people helped bring “Brigid Without A Story” alive for our nearly full houses. Thank you.

Hope to see you soon – Jenny Justice, artistic director of DFT

Devonté Squire (1994 – 2014)

ImageAnyone who has been in a play will tell you that a good cast quickly becomes a family – and that is why the entire cast and crew of DFT’s fall 2013 production of “The Mousetrap” are sadly grieved because one of our family passed away suddenly this week.

Twenty-year-old Devonté Squire was known to all of us as a dear, kind, generous, honest man and a talented actor in his sophomore year at NCCU. He played his “Mousetrap” role of Chris Wren with detailed attention to relationships and emotions and skillfully blended sorrow with comedy, as he often did in his own life.

Devonte’s aunt, Danitra Squire, described him well: “He bent over backwards to do anything for anybody. He lived his life, and he’ll tell you, ‘I’m weird and I own it, and I don’t care what anybody thinks about me because it’s my life and I’m going to live it the way that I want. He loved his family. He loved his friends. He loved his theater department. He loved NCCU.”

It is impossible to express how much we will miss him, grieving the loss of his friendship and talent. We can only say “thank you, Devonte, for sharing your light with us for a little while.”

 Love, Ms. Jenny