BWW Interview: Detria Ward Talks Career and Her One-Woman Show DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH
As one of the nation's leading theatre scenes, Houston has proved itself to be a respectable and important venue in growing a resume and providing refreshing and invigorating work for those involved with the theatre at a professional level. One of our own homegrown talents, Detria Ward, has been gaining a lot of attention recently. The Ensemble Theatre has given her multiple opportunities to share her craft with audiences, and recently she was awarded Best Actress by both The Ensemble Theatre and Houston Press' Houston Theatre Awards for her magnificent and critically lauded portrayal of Grace Dunbar in Pearl Cleage's THE NACIREMA SOCIETY. Recently, I got the opportunity to talk with Detria Ward about her career, her upcoming one-woman show, and her rising star.
BWW: How did you get started in theatre?
Detria Ward: Wow. Actually, believe it or not, it was as early as elementary school. I was in all the plays and all the programs. I think I had a little bit of the bug very early on, and just kept participating. Then it got much larger in high school because there were competitions and bigger productions. When I got to high school, I said, "Oh, this is it. This is it!" I also had a bug for radio and television. My high school actually had a school of communications in it. So, I've had a little bug for it a very long time.
BWW: When did you know you wanted to perform professionally?
Detria Ward: I would say high school. I was doing it and winning all of the competitions, so I was really excited. I had to change my major a couple of times in college because some people told me, "Oh, acting's not going to do. You need to get a degree in something else." Listening, I started out in journalism because I was writing for the school paper. I thought journalism would be a good back up plan because I could still act. I didn't like it though, so I changed my major to telecommunications. I liked it, but it wasn't my heart. Finally, I changed my major to theatre, and I got a Bachelor's in Theatre.
BWW: You won the 2013 Best Actress Award from both the 2013 Houston Theater Awards and The Ensemble Theatre, what was that like for you?
Detria Ward: I was elated. The fact that it got picked up after the run was just phenomenal because it is rare. Usually when you do a show, once it's done, it's done. We were fortunate to have a Houston organization pick the show up for a conference they were having here in the city. So when I thought I was done with NACIREMA, I wasn't. When the award came, I was just ecstatic. I've been around The Ensemble for a long time, and to win for this particular show was really awesome because I enjoyed the production so much. After that, I thought I was done, and then I got the phone calls and e-mails saying that the Houston Press Theatre Awards had listed me as Best Actress. I was floored! (Laughs) I couldn't believe it! I was like, "Oh, this is amazing!" Two in one season is really awesome!
BWW: This October, you'll be taking the stage in a one-woman show. What can you tell me about the show?
Detria Ward: It's called DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH, and artistically-you know how picky we can be-we're fine-tuning some things. We're doing some tests on it with audiences. There are some things I'm tweaking, so it will not hit quite like that, like I wanted it to. That was the original plan, but I'm looking forward to it. My whole thing is just presenting it and presenting Detria as a multitude of characters because I love doing multiple characters. In one show, CUTTIN' UP, I played eight different women. To do something similar with the one-woman is going to be a whole lot of fun. I'm just very particular, so we're going to be fine-tuning some things before we put it out. We're going to test it out and make sure everything is what it's supposed to be.
BWW: How are you preparing for this one-woman show?
Detria Ward: Wow. (Pauses) I'm definitely working on my vocals because there will be a little bit of singing for it. Then, having to change the characters, my vocals are really going to have to really be in tune. Choreography is in the works as well. When you act continuously, you find so many little things, and that's the whole beauty of it. By the time you get to a certain point so much has evolved in a production, so I'm just going to put on a plateau and allow it to grow and work from there. I'm very open about that aspect, and I still want to make sure that it starts on the level that I want it to. Between choreography, vocals, and physicality-I'm not going to be turning flips, I don't think (Laughs)-but physically, I need to be in tip-top shape as well.