Monday, 4 March 2019

NEW ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: Rachael Allen makes the leap from drama-school grad to rising thespian

HEAD STRONG: Allen, 29, has always had a flair for the dramatic.

BACKSTAGE at New Kingston’s Centrestage Theatre on this warm and busy Wednesday night, Rachael Allen is reflecting on the time she’s spent, since graduating from School of Drama, finding her place in the local theatre industry. “It’s been a long and tedious journey for me,” she tells TALLAWAH, recalling some frustrating moments. “But I love theatre; I love performance art.”

What a difference patience and persistence makes. These days, Allen (who graduated from the Edna Manley College with a theatre-arts degree in 2015) is off to a promising start in her acting career. And we’re beyond impressed.

In addition to working with the LTM Pantomime Company for 2017’s Dapper Dan, she was cast as the feisty helper Precious in last season’s remount of Basil Dawkins’ Uptown Bangarang, earning a Thespy nod for Breakthrough Performance.

At the moment, she is performing for her largest commercial-theatre crowds yet, having landed a supporting role in Jambiz’s new musical comedy Romi & Julie, which runs until summer. “I’ve been a part of their workshop for a while, working with [director Trevor] Nairne,” she says. “And when they started casting for this show, I was asked if it was something I’d be able to do. I’m excited to see what it will lead to.”

At 29, Allen, who has performed in drama-school productions of such classics as Lynn Nottage’s Ruined and Oedipus by Sophocles, is the working mother of a nine-year-old daughter who attends Kingston’s Alvernia Preparatory, where Allen teaches dance classes. 

In conversation, she comes across as a remarkably intelligent young woman who wants to help other young and emerging talents get opportunities for growth and development. “Ultimately, I want to open an alternative academy to give options to students who may not by academically inclined,” shares the Immaculate Conception alumna, who also volunteers with Kingston Creative. “I’m also interested in art therapy, which can help introduce children with learning disabilities to normal society.”

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