Do you remember the 2006 inspiring drama, Akeelah and the Bee with actress Keke Palmer? Of course you do! Well, Main Street Theater has an upcoming production of Akeelah and the Bee. Leading the strong, diverse cast is up and coming actress Ashley Shaunte. Check out the d-mars.com Q&A with the gracious actress.
Q&A with Actress Ashley Shaunte:
- Tell us a little about your background. I’m 21 years old. I’m from the South Side of Houston, Texas. I attended Rhoads Elementary and Zoe Learning Academy. It was at Joseph J. Rhoads Elementary School (no longer operating) where I participated in my first school spelling bee. It was such a coincidence to do the Bee, given Akeelah and the Bee had not too long come out. I then went on to attend Ortiz Middle School, Chavez High School, and KIPP Sunnyside High School. I attended Texas State University my freshman year for performance and production. Then attended Full Sail University where I received an Associates degree in Media Communications. I am currently studying theatre at Houston Community College (HCC).
- How long have you been acting? I have been acting for about 16 years.
- What made you want to get into acting? I started performing at the age of two or three, but stated I wanted to be an actress at the age of four after watching Mary Poppins.
- Where did your interest in acting stem? I always loved to perform. I fell in love with the storytelling and how an actor/actress was able to engage an audience and evoke feelings and thought-provoking questions. Eventually, it became therapy for me. It was a way to get pass the anxiety and triumph over every fear; with acting, it gives me a platform to do so.
- Have we seen your work previously? Most of the work done has been behind the scenes tech work for A.D. Players. I am also a teaching artist for Main Street Theater.
- Tell us your favorite play or story? Why? I love stories and plays that challenge my perspective and evoke feelings. I fell in love with “Spring Awakening” after seeing my friend in the play. It depicted life. It tackled issues on teen pregnancies, abortion, family peer pressure, peer pressure, suicide. I loved it because it was real. I love seeing things on stage that are real. Comedy is cool in its rightful place, but to see something honest is always amazing.
- What can patrons expect when seeing you in Akeelah and the Bee? If it is one thing you take away from Akeelah and the Bee let it be that everyone kin to you is not skin to you, let it be that you grow through life no matter how painful it may be, let it be that family can be found in anyone, let it be that it is possible to overcome. Akeelah and the Bee is more than entertainment, it’s life changing, it’s challenging. I hope we can all take away the importance of broadening our horizon and being open to learn from anyone. Akeelah isn’t the only one being taught in this show and I pray the lessons don’t end on the stage.
- Tell me about any other things that you have coming up or going on now that you want to share with our readers. I am currently in another show for HCC called, The Skin of Our Teeth. It’s totally different from Akeelah and the Bee — the show is written ahead of its time. Yet, there are elements in the play that are so relevant to today. I also do a lot of work in the media. I just finished working with FOSE for the African Fashion Week Houston. I have many different projects coming up that I’m so excited about but can’t reveal as of yet.
- Are you on social media? If so, would you like to share with our audience how to follow you and your work? Yes, I am on Instagram. Follow me at www.instagram.com/ashleyshaunteg_
- Give us the details on supporting your upcoming production of Akeelah and the Bee at Main Street Theater. Visit mainstreettheater.com for more info and get your tickets today!
Performances are Saturdays November 4 and 11 at 11:00am and 2:00pm at Main Street Theater’s Midtown location at 3400 Main St. in Matchbox4 at the MATCH facility. All tickets are on sale via phone at 713.524.6706 or online at MainStreetTheater.com.