The National Women's Theatre Festival

Teenage Dreams: A Chat with the Teaching Artists Behind WTFamily Teens: Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists


In preparation for Festival 21, we got the chance to learn a little more about the incredible teaching artists behind our WTFamily Teens programming this summer AND get a sneak peek at what all’s in store. 


Barbette Hunter (she/her/hers) has been performing since the age of 5. As a professional actress, she has performed with numerous theatre companies in the Triangle, including Seed Art Share, Theater of the American South, Justice Theater Project, Theatre Orange, Raleigh Ensemble Players, Raleigh Little Theatre, StreetSigns Center for Literature and Performance, Actors Comedy Lab, Manbites Dog Theatre, North Carolina Theatre, Theatre in the Park, and Temple Theatre. Since 2004, Barbette has been a teaching artist for Raleigh Little Theatre and Cary Applause! Youth Theatre. Since 2013, she has served as Rehearsal Assistant and Stage Manager for Cary Applause! Youth Theatre, as well as Stage Manager of the Family Village Stage for the African American Cultural Festival since 2015. Currently, she serves as a Program Coordinator in the Office of Raleigh Arts.


So, Barbette: we’re especially excited for our completely new teen track as part of our WTFamily 21 programming. As a teen, what sparked your interest? 

HUNTER: When I was a teen, I was interested in music (always Top 40); reading science fiction books and magazines; manicures and pedicures; and trying out different hairstyles. Specifically, some of my hobbies included sewing, dancing, and singing, as I was enrolled in lessons for many years. But overall, my strongest passion was acting.

That’s awesome–seeing young actors do what they love is much of the reason WTFamily even exists! What stories, in particular, resonated with you as a teen?

HUNTER: Oh, definitely the novel A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L\’Engle.

Yesss, a classic. Let’s jump to some Festival 21 fun. Can you tell us what the WTF Teens program will be like? What is it that you’d like young creatives to know most of all?

HUNTER: The participants of the WTF Teen Program will be encouraged to work collaboratively and employ an ensemble ethic to develop an original performance piece. Of course, we’ll use the book Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists as inspiration for our original performance piece, which is really exciting. I’m intentionally using the phrase ‘performance piece’ to create room and space for the development of other forms of performance art–whether that be songs, poems, chants, dance, etc. 

We really can’t wait to see what the ensemble creates! Alright. Last question, because we have to ask… if you could meet anyone from Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists, who would you pick?

HUNTER: Ooh, good question. So, I actually have met Bell Hooks and Angela Davis; but if I could meet anyone else from this book, it would have to be Pauli Murray. Hands down.


Samantha (Sam) Corey (she/her/hers) is a teaching artist and actress from Raleigh, NC. She has been teaching theatre and circus in the area to all ages for the past 8 years and is currently pursuing her Master of Letters in Shakespeare and Performance at Mary Baldwin University in Staunton, Virginia. Sam loves creating original pieces with student artists and cannot wait for what\’s in store for WTFamily 21 programming! 


Sam, as you know, WTFamily 21 programming is introducing the teen track for the very first time. We’re curious–what hobbies and passions did you have at that age? 

COREY: Well, I really loved both musical theatre and camping when I was a teenager.

Honestly, who doesn’t?! What about the stories you knew as a teen? Did you have any favorites in particular? 

COREY: Yes, absolutely! When I was a teenager, I totally loved reading female authors like Tamora Pierce, Diana Wynne Jones, and Susan Cooper.

Okay, okay… adding all of them to our reading list. But let’s keep moving. Can you tell us a little about what the WTF Teens program will be like? What do you want young artists to know about it? 

COREY: I want them to know that this will be a safe creative space for them. They’ll get to work as a team to create a performance piece using the images, stories, and historical figures in Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists as inspiration. It’s really quite exciting, and I’m personally thrilled to see what we’re able to make this summer. 

Us too! Okay, last question: if you could meet anyone from Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists, who would you pick?

COREY: I would absolutely love to meet Empress Theodora from the Byzantine Empire. Her transition from actress to Empress is so fascinating, and I appreciate the laws she enacted to help protect women less powerful than herself.

After speaking with Barbette and Sam, we’re more eager than ever for the WTFamily Teens theatre camp to begin. 

Want a sneak peek at all of the goodies that come with registration? Get an exclusive look at an unboxing video for the program’s care package! 

Ready to sign up? Click here for more info and a ticket at the price that works best for you. 

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