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'Treat the arts with respect'

Sunday, November 05, 2017

LOCAL theatre practitioner Fabian Thomas is urging students of theatre to be bold as they try to navigate the biases that exist for people choosing to study the arts.

His comments came at the Ranny Williams Memorial Symposium held to commemorate the 105th anniversary of the birth of the popular theatre personality at the Little Theatre in St Andrew recently.

According to Thomas, theatre arts — which is now offered at the high school level — must be considered in the same way as maths and chemistry.

“You have to navigate it boldly and bravely. What is fi yuh cyaan be unfi yuh. I have to know and be clear. People will always talk. People talk about businessmen everyday. But if you know what you know about yourself and the journey you want to take, then step out there and be bold,” he said.

“Then there are parents. So in order to convince them, pass all the tests... do well so that they can't say you are failing because of this drama thing, because if your parents don't believe that drama is a legitimate subject, then you will face resistance. The truth is parents are not against drama because they are mean and bad mind. What they want for their children is a career that is marketable, and they want their children to graduate and go into a career easily. So if we don't start to start to sell drama, dance and the performing arts as a career, treat it like chemistry and respect it like maths, then we can't expect respect out there. A lot of us in the performing arts, we don't respect it; we don't see it as a legitimate subject so we treat it like a hobby. Treat it with the tenacity of the scientist, the mathematician and the economist,” Thomas continued.

Other presenters at the symposium were writer/directors Paul O Beale, Patrick Brown, Dr Brian Heap and Michael Holgate, as well as actor Oliver Samuels.