Project Performer to hold production of ‘Beauty and the Beast’

Maya Washington, Sophia Melamed and Kayla Schaffroth
(Copyright of Kayla Schaffroth)

The Encinitas nonprofit Project Performer is holding its first-ever production, “Beauty and the Beast Jr.,” at the David H. Thompson Performing Arts Center in Carlsbad.

Show dates are Feb. 3 at 6:30 p.m., Feb. 4 at 2 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., and Feb. 5 at 2 p.m.

Project Performer trains children, including some who are already working professionally, in acting, singing and other performing arts.

“I opened Project Performer two years ago, and this is a pre-professional training studio for actors and singers and dancers,” said Kayla Schaffroth, a former actor who started Project Performer. “We have classes ranging from acting to singing to dance to on-camera to onstage.”

“Beauty and the Beast” is directed by Wilfred Paloma, whose previous work includes “Light Years Away” at the La Jolla Playhouse and “A Semicolon is a Double” at Scripps Ranch Theatre.

All the actors, ranging from ages 8 to 18, auditioned last fall and have been rehearsing for opening night.

“It’s kind of like a puzzle,” said Maya Washington, an 8th grader at Coastal Academy who plays Belle. “You learn all the scenes, and then you learn all the dances and the music. Now, as we’re putting the puzzle together, you have to smooth it over so it’s not a bumpy road. It has to flow, otherwise it’s not going to be as enjoyable to watch. I feel like we’re just getting everything to come together, and it’s so exciting finally seeing all the hard work become something really amazing.”

“Ever since I was 8 years old, when I did my first show, I knew it’s something I always wanted to do. And still today I’m doing as many shows as I can and always auditioning,” said Sophia Melamed, in 9th grade at Classical Academies who plays Mrs. Potts.

Project Performer is located at 625 Encinitas Blvd., unit A/B. For tickets and more information, visit