This week's Most Notorious Talent is about someone who I've known for YEARS! She motivated me to pursue my poetry and live out my dreams of becoming a writer (after I saw Harriet the Spy of course.)
Ladies and Gentleman, I would like to introduce to some and present to others,
Shari Danielle Cameron.
•Please state your name and occupation(s) for our viewers.
My name is Shari Danielle Cameron, although I sometimes go by “Cami.” By profession I am entering my 13th year as an educator. I taught for 8 years and have been a Coordinator of Assessment and Remediation for HCPS for the last 5 years. By passion, however, I am a playwright, poet, and author.
•How long have you been a playwright?
I have been writing plays, poems, and stories as far back as 1st grade. I did not, however, write my first “official” multi-act play until 19, but interestingly enough, that play did not grace the stage until 15 years later when my Pastor and 1st Lady requested that I put on a production for my church, World Overcomers Family Church.
•What do you feel led you to become a writer and how did you come up with the name?
I honestly feel as if I was called to write—like it’s my God-given gift of expression to elicit feelings from others and engage in conversation without opening my mouth. I don’t think that I chose writing, but I instead believe that writing opened its arms to me and invited me to explore all that it has to offer. Writing has always been a reliable ally; even when articulation failed me, I could always count on the faithful expressions etched on paper to communicate my innermost thoughts, emotions and convictions.
The name “Raising Virtue Productions” came about seemingly by default. What I mean by that is that there are just so many other forms of entertainment out there that completely lack any evidence of morality. I just didn’t see too many entertainment entities popping up that a family could comfortably enjoy together. “Raising Virtue Productions” strives to provide entertainment that is funny, relevant, and enjoyable but still causes you to walk away asking “How can I be better; how can I make someone else’s life better?” RVP desires to be a catalyst to get meaningful conversations between people going again…
•What are some of the key elements to writing an amazing production?
I honestly believe that every amazing production is believable; even if it is a fairy tale type production, audiences are drawn in to believe that whatever you are displaying can really happen! In addition to believability, I think that authenticity is key as well as humor and, perhaps more importantly, an awareness of your targeted audience. We always want to feel as if there is some area for us to make a connection to a plot or character in the cast, so knowing the audience is important. Sprinkle in a little research (interviews, books, blogs, etc.) for certain concepts with which you lack experience, and you are on your way to an amazing production!
•What is your favorite play ever written and why?
My favorite play that I’ve ever written so far is actually one that is gracing the stage in Richmond in a few weeks, “The Village Principle.” I think this play is so dear to me because it forced me to reach outside of my comfort zone to write it. When I usually sit down to write, I do not have an outline, web, or any preconceived ideas; I simply allow my mind to wander into whatever places it may go to create its own masterpiece. With “The Village Principle,” however, it was different. My pastor, Dwayne Whitehead, Sr., sat me down after my prior production and shared the concept for which he thought my next production should be based: “You should write a play about the fact that it takes a village…” So as he is talking I am thinking “I do not write creative pieces well with boundaries present,” and “another play about the role of society?” Listening to his suggestion was the best thing I could’ve done! Writing about this concept has allowed me tackle so many issues that plague our communities from teenage pregnancy, gun usage, domestic abuse, abortion, poor family structure, drugs to more favorable issues as well. While writing “The Village Principle,” I laughed, cried, felt uncomfortable and wanted to step up to do more for my community. With the phenomenal cast that we have in this production, I am sure that audience members will experience these same emotions while viewing “The Village Principle.”
•With the Tyler Perry's and other "black playwrights" evolving, what makes Raising Virtue Productions different?
Raising Virtue Productions is committed to community empowerment. In addition to our cast members and production manager being solicited locally, we also promote other local small business owners in various ways. We call in local artists to assist with make-up and allow them to sell their merchandise during intermission, we showcase the jewelry of local jewelry/accessory owners on our cast and offer space for products to be sold at our productions, and we make a financial contribution to a local charity or organization following each production. While we are excited at the prospect of growing our audience-base and increasing our name recognition, RVP wants to always remember that community partnerships are important.
•What can we expect from Raising Virtue Productions in the future?
Raising Virtue Productions is well on its way to becoming the premiere performing arts entity in Richmond, VA and surrounding areas (yes, we do travel J). In collaboration with World Overcomers Family Church, RVP is hosting a performance of “The Village Principle” on Saturday, January 19th at 3 p.m. at Moody Middle School. This is the perfect event to kick-off your Dr. King holiday weekend, so if you are interested in purchasing tickets for you and/or your group or organization, feel free to send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. In the summer of this year, Raising Virtue Productions will bring “Lukewarm 2: Olsha’s Story” to a stage near you. You do not want to miss either of these productions!
•What makes Shari Cameron and Raising Virtue Productions SO Notorious?
A pen in my hand is like a mic in Jay Z’s! I feel, and I write…I think, and I write… I see, and I write! I have this little 24 hour word processor living inside of me, and I yield to it. Seriously, I’m not crazy enough to think that my ability to write—to see a story and develop characters in my head—is something that I was great enough to create. I realize that creativity through words is a talent given to me by God, and being able to acknowledge that is what truly makes me oh so notorious!
Until next time Ladies and Gents,