About our Founder & Teacher
Our teacher Zach Dufault grew up here in Salem and was involved with many activies. He played three sports and was also in choir throughout school. Zachs' real love though was the storytelling. Whether it was Luke Skywalker battling Darth Vader on the Death star or Robin Williams telling his students to "seize the day!" in Dead Poets Society, He loved it all. He was fortunate enough to have a family that enjoyed going to the theater where they attended plays and musicals at all of Salem's established theaters which opened him up to the world of Theater. It wasn't until college that Zach took the plunge and decided to take an acting class. His teacher at Western Oregon University, Ted DeChatelet was a great teacher and a big inspiration for Zach to decide acting was his career. He then moved to Los Angeles and studied for 8 years where he fell in love with the craft of Acting. While in school he met Dennis Nollete and they shot "How it all Began." This was supposed to be for a school film festival but morphed into an amazing experience for Zach where he learned and grew a lot as both and actor and human being. If you are interested, you can watch " How it all Began." on Amazon and Youtube! He is now back in Salem and wants to pay forward all that he has learned. He hopes that this school can be a safe haven for students all over Salem where they can discover and grow their gifts.
Who are the X-Men at The Salem Playhouse?
An X-Men is the title given to those who possess super human gifting in the acting world. We came up with the name based on the X-Men characters of Dr. Xavier's School for gifted youngsters. These special gifts may look like serving others with a positive and uplifting demeanor, and the ability to help our teenage acting community while in college. Take a look at some of our extraordinary fellow X-Men.
I’ve been in theatre since I was 14 years old, and I was in the South Salem Symphonic Choir and the Chamber Women’s Choir as well. Being a performer, whether you’re singing, playing an instrument, or acting, it is such an unexplainable feeling that brings great joy. I was in the pit orchestra for the Little Mermaid at South, and I was also a soprano in Once Upon a Mattress, the last musical we were able to do at south before the school was remodeled. When I was in the All City Honor Choir last year, I had a solo which was terrifying but absolutely exhilarating. The Salem Playhouse is something that is affordable, and I wish that an opportunity like this was open for me when I was in theatre. The people that are involved are amazing, and we love the theatre art form so much, and we’re very excited to share and educate others in acting.
I’ve been a part of the theater community for nearly 8 years, being a part of a handful of shows through community-funded programs as well as South Salem High School. Through these experiences I was able to discover my passions for music and singing, leading me to choir in high school, followed by three years in a row winning the Salem-Keizer Solo and Ensemble Contest for Baritones. The Salem Playhouse is another example of a place that can help kids like me find those connections and find their own artistic potential with the support of their family and peers, as well as guidance from teachers and us staff. Personally, I hope this place can not only be a place for youth to grow and find their passion in life, but also a school where they can meet new people their age and find common interests and make friends. I wouldn’t have met some of my best friends if it wasn’t for theater productions. Most importantly, theater has been an outlet for creativity and fun that has created memories and skills that I never would’ve got if I didn’t get out of my shell and jump head first into a new world.
Interested in becoming an X-Men?
I have been around theatre for about 5 years now. I have worked on about 20 shows both in acting and tech. I have worked on shows at South Salem High School, Pentacle Theatre, and now reside at Western Oregon University where I am studying for my BFA in Acting. The Salem Playhouse is a great opportunity for young actors to explore scene work, monologues, and musical theatre, in a safe and positive space. With a team that is dedicated to helping students learn the art in a way that's entertaining and uplifting. As actors, we explore in depth our characters thoughts, emotions, and reasonings through out a show. As people, we do the same. Constantly trying to find new ways to achieve our goal and how we express ourselves to others. The space we have at The Salem Playhouse gives you those opportunities to try new things, become a character that might not be you just for a few hours. This is a real opportunity that I wish I had when I was in high school. This is an opportunity that I know some kids pay thousands of dollars for less than half the benefits. We create a positive environment with positive critiquing that doesn't bring you down but makes you a better performer.