Local youth gives voice to victims

NaTasha Thompson
NaTasha Thompson

Julia Vail

GARNER, N.C. — Domestic violence is a societal problem with no easy solutions.

So 15-year-old NaTasha Thompson, playwright and CEO of her own theater company, decided to fight the problem two ways.

She wrote and produced “Finished!”, a play about a family grappling with domestic abuse, and donated all proceeds from ticket sales to Interact of Wake County, a local nonprofit that provides safety and support to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.

Drama Queen’s Butterflies, a Garner, N.C.-based theater company founded by NaTasha and composed almost entirely of teens, donated a total of $1,000 to the organization.

“We’re absolutely thrilled,” says Damita Chambers, communications outreach specialist for Interact. “Any time young people are involved in getting the message out about domestic violence, it helps the community focus on a very important issue.”

“Finished!”, which centers around a mother and her two teenage children trapped in an abusive household, held two shows at the Garner Historic Auditorium Oct. 25 and 26, drawing audiences that totaled 250.

NaTasha came in contact with Interact of Wake County through her sister, who is a member of the Zeta Phi Beta sorority in Cary, N.C. The sorority, as part of its “Love Should Not Hurt” campaign, donated toiletry items to Interact for domestic-abuse survivors.

Zeta Phi Beta also commissioned NaTasha to write a play about domestic violence after representatives from the sorority viewed another of her works, “Amazing Grace.” In this production, which had two showings in July and September of last year, a deceased teen returns to the site of her own funeral to discuss the decisions that led to her fate.

“All of the plays are about issues that teens go through that we really don’t hear about,” says Florianna Thompson, who is vice-president and chief financial officer for Drama Queen’s Butterflies, as well as NaTasha’s mother.

Though Thompson provides moral support, she insists her daughter is the driving force behind the company.

“The only thing I did was pick the kids up in the van from time to time,” she says. “NaTasha really took charge.”

NaTasha has been writing plays since the age of seven. Drama Queen’s Butterflies, which was incorporated in 2002, began as a backyard playhouse where she performed her plays for friends and family.

As the company grew, NaTasha decided to give back to the community by giving teens a chance to express themselves through theater.

“With this organization, I really wanted for teenagers my age to have an opportunity to show the community that they are doing positive things,” NaTasha says.

When putting on a play, NaTasha asks around to see which teens might be interested in helping.

“If they say they want to do it, they’re in,” Thompson says. “She finds something for them to do, whether it’s backstage, acting or building sets.”

For now, NaTasha is finishing her sophomore year at Garner Magnet High School and preparing for college, where she plans to study theater. She is also completing her first novel and producing a traveling skit called “Situations,” which was performed Nov. 30 at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church in Raleigh.

Though Thompson attributes her daughter’s success to keen observations about human nature, she says she is still amazed at NaTasha’s imagination.

“I can’t say exactly where she gets her ideas from,” Thompson says. “I’m not sure even she can say.”

Interact’s two 24-hour crisis line numbers are: 919.828.7740 (domestic violence) and 919.828.3005 (rape or sexual assault).

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