Fresh Milk is very pleased to announce the launch of the Emerging Directors Residency Programme, our collaborative initiative with the National Cultural Foundation Barbados (NCF) in support of up-and-coming local theatre directors.
This programme, which officially began on June 20, 2016, will see two young Barbadian creatives undertake residencies based at Fresh Milk which will provide them with an opportunity to conduct much needed research into Caribbean theatre heritage and to explore and create through theatre form and style.
L-R: Matthew Murrell (participant in the Emerging Directors Residency), Andrea Wells (Chief Cultural Officer, NCF), Renelde Headley (participant in the Emerging Directors Residency), Amanda Cumberbatch (Cultural Officer, Theatre Arts, NCF) and Annalee Davis (Founding Director, Fresh Milk)
The launch at the Fresh Milk studio was attended by representatives from Fresh Milk and the NCF, and created a platform to announce the two successful candidates for this first edition of the programme: Renelde Headley and Matthew ‘Kupakwashe’ Murrell. Renelde will be taking part in the first residency period, which runs from June 20 – July 1, 2016 and Matthew’s residency will be held from September 5 – 16, 2016.
As part of the critical development aspect of this residency, the participants will be mentored by established theatre professionals, beginning with Trinidadian playwright and teacher Rawle Gibbons who will interact with and give feedback to Renelde during the course of her residency.
About the Residents & their Projects:
RESIDENCY PROJECT: ‘YELLOWMAN’
The proposed play is Yellowman by African-American playwright Dael Olandersmith, a two-hander. Yellowman is to be explored and developed through postmodern and experimental techniques. This approach would allow for symbolic parallels to be drawn and explored between the Southern American and Barbadian experiences of race, class and identity as well as explore a contemporary Barbadian aesthetic. To do this, the director seeks to explore and develop elements that are distinctly Barbadian despite the juxtaposition of the source material’s origins. Simultaneously, the director seeks to investigate and cultivate her own creative and aesthetic identity through this piece.
RENELDE HEADLEY BIO:
Confident, 6ft 2, 175 pounds, Renelde Headley is set on world domination, with the power of Love and Creativity. Through singing, acting, dancing, directing and any other art form she chooses to master, she is determined to spread her message of empowerment and freedom worldwide. She cautions that “Freedom comes with the responsibility of being aware of others and their right/desire to be free. – Mankind must not lose his compassion.” She hopes that through her self-expression and work, she can share concepts that encourage others to embrace and unify their multifaceted selves.
‘Maco’s Revenge’, Selfie break during Mustardseed ensemble rehearsal. Mustardseed Productions, 2016. Dir. Renelde Headley
“It is possible to be strong, no nonsense and sensitive all at once.” To this end she is often drawn to work that explores Identity – be it cultural, social, racial or personal. This because the various concepts of identity that exist, though constantly evolving or perhaps sharing similar elements, offer unique perspectives that inform the way the world functions: this, in turn, allows constant investigation and experimentation.
With her positive attitude, critical eye and arsenal of talents, Renelde will prove by example that being tough and sensitive don’t have to be juxtapositions. You can enjoy every minute of life just being yourself, once you “…know who you are and strive to be the best of who that is.”
Matthew ‘Kupakwashe’ Murrell
RESIDENCY PROJECT: ‘BARBADOSED’
In this project, I would like to explore the concept once known as being Barbadosed. When the island’s existence was based on a punishment by the crown and neighbouring Caribbean islands. Through our modern history, we have been told that Barbadians are passive, but has our history shown that, or is that something current? Our history has shown we have had a bloody history more than most English speaking islands, torture devices have been invented here, land disputes have caused death, political prisoners were sent to be punished here and not to mention human trafficking. Our Barbadian historians and cultural activists have disputed the notion of Bajans being docile. Barbadosed will expose many true events of the atrocities that occurred on This Island in the Sun, the Gem of the Caribbean Sea. This project will utilize elements of acting, dancing, singing and performance poetry.
MATTHEW MURRELL BIO:
Through my company, Yardie Boy Theatre, we like to explore social themes that affect young Caribbean voices. Some may perceive us to be controversial for tackling such themes as religion, gender and sexuality and socio political. Many concepts of directing have been explored such as divisive theatre, use of music, dance and performance poetry. A young people’s theatre company that is highly inspired by everything culturally Caribbean.
‘De Angry Black Boy Tantrums’. Scene: ‘My Judical Family – Dre & Sista’. Actors: Deevon Clinton (‘Dre’), Ayesha NuRa Delpeche (‘Sista’). Dir. Matthew Kupakwashe Murrell
Such works include ‘De Angry Black Boy Tantrums’ (pictured above) which delves into the oppression of the Caribbean black man in the 21st Century. ‘Demons in Me’, when four young people battle inner demons while under scrutiny of the society. ‘The Brightest Red’ a piece dedicated to the memory of young intellectual Rastafarian, I’Akobi Maloney.
About the Mentor:
Rawle Gibbons is a playwright and a teacher. Born in Belmont, Trinidad in 1950, between 1970 and 1984 he lived mostly in Jamaica, attending UWI and teaching at the Jamaica School of Drama. He returned to Trinidad and in 1986 was appointed to the newly established Creative and Festival Arts Centre at UWI, St. Augustine. He has written A Calypso Trilogy. Most of my recent productions have been collectively devised with my students at UWI. Since retiring from the UWI, I’m a director of Caribbean Yard Campus, a network for the development of Caribbean indigenous knowledges.
This project is a collaborative initiative, supported by the NCF Barbados