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Jules Latimer from ‘Romeo & Juliet’ came to CTC for an ‘artistic summer’

Reporter’s note: Each summer, Chautauqua Theater Company opens its stage doors to young actors and theatermakers for a fully funded fellowship. This summer’s conservatory includes 14 actors, four design fellows and one directing fellow. They will work alongside CTC staff and visiting professionals, and serve as the core of the theater company for all CTC shows. To help readers get to know them, interviews with CTC conservatory members will run regularly in the weekend edition of the Daily throughout the summer.

Who: Jules Latimer, 23, Chautauqua Theater Company conservatory actor.

This past weekend, she appeared in the Inter-Arts “Mango Suite” collaboration as one of several CTC actors in an ensemble. She also performed during an August Wilson lecture in the Hall of Philosophy earlier in the season. Her main role will be as Benvolio in the upcoming Romeo & Juliet.

Latimer’s season started a little later than some of her CTC colleagues, but for good reason. Before coming to Chautauqua, she assisted with an artistic outreach program to teach theater in El Salvador.

Where she’s from: A native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, Latimer just finished her second year studying drama at The Juilliard School. Her grandmother also attended Juilliard to study piano, and Latimer has several other artistically inclined family members — her mom sings, her dad plays the drums and her great-uncle was Earle Warren, an alto saxophonist and occasional singer with Count Basie.

Jules Latimer

First theatrical memory: As a kid, Latimer realized how much fun acting could be during a program through her local parks and recreation department.

“I was in middle school, and we wrote this whole play around me, where it was about me being Mr. Banana Man, and I had like a full-on banana suit,” Latimer said. “My mom came, and she thought I was absolutely ridiculous. But I had the best time – the best time –  and I was just acting a fool in a banana suit.”

The more theater she saw, the more Latimer appreciated the different stories. A turning point was seeing Lydia Diamond’s adaptation of The Bluest Eye in Atlanta.

“It was this beautiful coming-of-age story of this black girl who wants to try and be white, but it’s like, no, she needs to find the beauty within herself,” Latimer said. “And so, after I saw that, I was like, ‘I’m doing theater, I’m going to do that for the rest of my life.’ ”

Theatrical credits: While at Juilliard, Latimer performed as Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra and Beneatha in A Raisin in the Sun.

Favorite album: “Growing up, it was Songs in the Key of Life or Innervisions,” said Latimer, who saw Stevie Wonder perform for a recent birthday. “You got to catch me on a different day; I’ll say a different thing.”

Favorite food: Right now, Latimer is craving a meal from Mesa Coyoacan in Brooklyn: “A plate full of carnitas tacos with rice and beans, side of plantains, side of guacamole, chips, with a Mexican Coke chilled just right.”

Currently watching: “Transparent,” “Insecure” and “Atlanta” are all on Latimer’s watch list.

“I’d love a black version of ‘Transparent’ with a pinch of ‘Insecure,’ and that would be my favorite television show and I’d love to be on that,” she said.

Why Chautauqua:  “I made the goal in December that I wanted to have a rich, artistic summer,” Latimer said, “where I was just being an artist to see what it would feel like outside of school.”

Tags : Chautauqua Theater Companyconservatory actorctc
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The author Dara McBride

A recent graduate of Syracuse University’s Goldring Arts Journalism program, she comes to Chautauqua after covering Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, South Carolina, for The Post and Courier. A Delaware native, she spent three years as a lifestyles editor on Maryland’s Eastern Shore writing about local authors, musicians and artists. Her work has also appeared in American Theatre magazine. She can be reached at dara.mcbride@gmail.com or @DaraMcBride.

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