Award-winning choreographer to run new Journey Studio program for teens

Journey Theater introduces year-long program to give rigorous training to young performers who are considering a career in the industry

Her first journey to Journey Theater in Vancouver came about 10 years ago, when she arrived from her home in San Diego to help with the adult summer program.

She did it the next summer, as well.

She returned again in 2018.

Chelsea Nicole Lapp, an award-winning choreographer, will head a new program at Journey Theater called Journey Studio, to give young performers more rigorous training in the theater arts. Photo by Paul Valencia
Chelsea Nicole Lapp, an award-winning choreographer, will head a new program at Journey Theater called Journey Studio, to give young performers more rigorous training in the theater arts. Photo by Paul Valencia

Through the years, Chelsea Nicole Lapp has gone all across America as a choreographer, providing her talents for theater companies. She lived in New York for two years. She visited Europe in order to watch productions in London, in Denmark. She worked in Africa, choreographing a show in Uganda. She has earned numerous awards in the industry.

All that experience and all that travel have led her to where she has wanted to be for, well, about 10 years now. 

Lapp, 32, is back in Clark County.

“Even in 2011, I always kind of knew this is where I wanted to end up, Vancouver, Washington,” Lapp said. “I fell in love with the area.”

Lapp is bringing her expertise and passion for theater as the head of a new program with the local theater group.

Journey Studio is a year-long program for students ages 13 through 18 who want more training in the arts, who might want to pursue theater as a career.

“I really love preparing kids for the professional industry,” Lapp said. “With high school theater and children’s theater groups, they can get really good instruction, but you don’t really prepare them for the real world. It’s something I’m very passionate about.”

Journey Studio

What: A new year-long program for teens who want more rigorous training in theater arts, presented by Journey Theater

When: Students will meet once a week, every Monday evening, throughout the school year.

Auditions: Performers, from the ages of 13 through 18, can audition for the program Aug. 16.

More information, including costs and expectations: or call (360) 750-8550, or email:

Journey Studio will offer more rigorous training than a typical Journey program. Lapp said they will be “diving into acting, singing, and dancing, training them to be triple-threats.”

Lapp will teach students about auditions and call-back preparation. She has a number of friends in the industry who she will bring in to talk about their experiences. Many might have to talk to the class via Zoom because they are in New York or maybe London.

Lapp also emphasized she will be doing all this with Journey Theater’s mission in mind: Journey is a Christ-centered theater arts program that exists to grow youth and their families in character and purpose. 

“One of the things we are going to work on is being a believer in an industry that is typically pretty dark,” Lapp said. “Talking about what that means when you’re looking at what kind of shows you’re going to do, what roles you’re going to accept, what you personally feel like you are willing and able to do that is not going to cause you to stumble. 

“We’ll be talking about being a light in the industry and remaining humble … and keep giving the glory to God.”

Chelsea Lapp was 4 years old when she was in her first production, following in the footsteps of her older brother. 

“I was born into theater, we always say,” Chelsea said.

Performing was her thing. As a teen, though, she took a class in choreography. By the time she was in college, she realized she loved choreography even more than performing. 

J. Scott Lapp, her older brother, started his own theater company. Chelsea has worked with his group with several productions.

Now, Chelsea wants to help young performers in Southwest Washington reach their dreams. And she hopes they have similar experiences as she had through the years.

“Theater has given me my community,” Lapp said. “A lot of my friends who I grew up with, I’m still very close to them. I have friends that I’ve had since I was 3 years old because we did theater together.”

Directors, writers, choreographers, and many more make up a production. They share a passion.

“I just love telling stories. I love that a story can make such an impact on somebody’s life,” Lapp said. “We learn more empathy when we are involved in theater. When we see theater, we learn different people’s perspectives. You learn so much about culture and other people. I love the work environment in theater, getting to be creative. It’s so much fun. It really doesn’t feel like a job, which is awesome. I’m very blessed to be able to do it.”

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