LabWorks Artist Spotlight: ChelseaDee Harrison

ChelseaDee first fell in love with theater when she was a kid. Now, she gets to create work for young audiences with New Victory LabWorks! Learn more about ChelseaDee and her project, Sheela and The Amazons.

ChelseaDee Harrison
ChelseaDee Harrison

What project are you working on?

Sheela and The Amazons. With puppetry, dance, song and original music, it follows the adventures of a toy company intern named Sheela who travels through and beyond time to meet a band of wild, mythic and ancient women—the Amazons. Sheela learns about herself and her true potential by preparing to meet a powerful looming darkness side by side with The Amazons. The goal is to deconstruct the common perceptions of the Amazons with powerful stories of matriarchal societies.

How did you first fall in love with theater?

I first fell in love with theater watching my mother conduct rehearsals with her students. She was a theater department teacher at the only performing arts high school in Washington, D.C. The way they worked together as an ensemble, how the productions grew from the seedling of an idea and what they were able to perform was a major inspiration to me.

What do you most hope to gain from your New Victory LabWorks experience?

I am very interested in getting to push the boundaries of what “theater for young audiences” can mean. I am particularly interested in getting to know my cohort and seeing how we can help each other grow in our artistry.

What is your favorite part of your creative process and why?

My favorite part is the first day of rehearsal, the first time the creative team meets each other and shares ideas and inspirations. The first read-through of the script is where the magic happens for me—it’s where you see the dynamic of the collaborators in the room and where you begin to see the show come to life.

What excites you about creating work for family audiences?

The possibility of enchanting adults and children and sparking an intergenerational shared experience

What three things would you bring with you if you were stranded on a deserted island?

I would bring heirloom seeds to plant something to eat, the entire works of Octavia Butler and some type of tropical bird.

Tell us one fun fact about yourself!

When I was in intense dance training, I decided to study hip-hop dance with the intention of becoming a backup dancer for Missy Elliot or Britney Spears. I even made my own music videos to showcase my skills!