Kristi-Marie Madray (NYLO Intern)
“I feel pretty damn good”, exclaimed Frederick when asked about his acceptance into the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA). He said that this year he is the only Caribbean person to be doing the course.
Renaldo “Red” Frederick is a young Trinidadian actor and film director. He graduated from the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine with a bachelor’s degree in film and a minor in theatre arts. At the age of 24, he has succeeded in being selected for the yearlong theatre master’s programme at the RADA in London.
The RADA is a worldwide known prestigious institution where acting and technical theatre courses are done. For this specific master’s programme only 16 people from around the world are chosen. The course begins in September 2017 and ends September 2018. Many famous actors have attended the university along with Trinidadian playwright Errol Hill.
The former Trinity East College student said that before acting his passion was basketball; he never studied theatre in secondary school. However, one day, the theatre arts teacher, Shawn Smart, asked 16-year-old Frederick to come to a play reading for the Secondary School Drama Festival. Frederick said that he was the only student not studying theatre arts among these students, however, they welcomed him with warm arms. That year, his supporting role landed him the Promising Actor Award. The following two years at the festival he won the Outstanding Actor award, which granted him a scholarship to the Trinidad Theatre Workshop. From there, he continued to pursue acting whole heartedly with the support of Smart.
Apart from acting, Frederick is also a film director. He took an interest in this field when he was introduced to his mother’s friend, Ché Rodriguez. Rodriguez was known to be invested in television writing, acting, film and directing. Frederick stated that they clicked naturally due to their artistic backgrounds. He said that after helping Rodriguez with one of his projects, he became his mentor and second father.
The UWI graduate stated that he had no role models, but acknowledged that there are some people who do extremely well with regards to the fields of theatre and film. They are the people who brought him into these fields, Shawn Smart and Ché Rodriguez. Frederick added that after having worked with him recently, Raymond Choo Kong, a director, is one person along with Smart and Rodriguez whom he wishes to surpass. Aside from these men, the ambitious youth said that he also admired Machel Montano. He admired that Montano set a brand and standard for himself as a soca artiste within Trinidad and Tobago, and now has a known repute. With regards to film and theatre, Frederick said that he wished the he would do the same.
“There’s a weight I know I have to carry in representing my country”, he said. Realising that, he said that he felt a stronger sense of purpose, which motivates him. The young actor stated that he is proud to be making progress in this art form and career path. “It’s a really great feeling to know that I’ve reached this far. I’m able to pursue my career and passion and represent my country at this level and at the same time, grow as an individual on an international scale.”
Knowing that Trinidadian playwright, Errol Hill had attended the RADA, motivates him more, stated Frederick. While, Hill only did the diploma, Frederick said that he’s doing the master’s programme, which he brazenly believes to be an even greater feat. Having acted in two of Hill’s plays, “Man Better Man” and “Dance Bongo”, Frederick gushed that it is amazing to know that he went there. The RADA has had a taste of the Trinidadian style, which he appreciates. He said that he wants to do Hill proud.
At the RADA, Frederick hopes to refine his craft to the point of creating an acting style that is unique to Trinidad, and by wider reach, the Caribbean. The seasoned actor hopes that this acting style would have an international appeal, as well. At the university, he as the desire to network and connect actors from Trinidad and the UK. Frederick believes a collaboration between UK and Trinidadian actors would be amazing. He expressed passionately that he wanted to “let people understand how much talent Trinidadian people have; how much layers they have; how diverse they are; and just how great as a people, how great as an experience it is to just have Caribbean culture, Trinidadian culture as a part of anything.”
After he graduates, Frederick said that he hopes to become more involved in film work. He believes that film lasts forever, as compared to stage performance. However, that does not mean he would abandon theatre. The promising actor and director plans to get a manager and market himself in the film and theatre industry better. He revealed that eventually he wishes to open an acting academy where film and acting would be taught. At this academy, he hopes that the youth would realise that there are avenues for them to pursue these art forms as careers. Additionally, he wants to introduce a master’s programme for acting either at the UWI or UTT. He wants to provide aspiring actors, who can’t afford to study abroad, with the opportunity to gain the same knowledge as they would abroad.
For young, upcoming actors and artists, Frederick wants them to know to “Never relax. No matter how much compliments you get, no matter how much awards you get, never relax. Always remember that there is going to be somebody better than you.” He advised that they should know that although this is a fun career path, they would need to know when to act maturely and seriously about their craft. He wants them to know to always perform to their best of their ability, even if they might think it is a small production or presentation.
He also expressed that he wants the youth to remember to help each other. There is a lot that they can learn from helping each other. He continued fervently, “You must encourage others. Everyone has to grow, everyone will be great. We can all be successful together. We can all build the art form together. It’s a very small industry and it’s not to be selfish, it’s not to be selfish at all.”
“Don’t let anybody deter you”. Frederick said that he did not have opportunities presented to him. He said that the art form found him and that he was grateful. He is extremely proud to be one of the youngest, pursuing this craft at this level. He said that he wants to become a beacon of inspiration for the youth, for them to know that they can succeed.
The ambitious young man is hosting a fund raiser for part of his expenses. The show is on August 13 and 20, and is called inc//RED/ible. It will consist of spectacular, emotive performances by two theatre groups,“Ten Of Us” and “Eh Bien Oui Don Don”, of which he is an active member.
Support our local artist as he journeys to further the art of theatre and represent our country internationally!