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Jumpstaat! - Playwright Heather Robinson-Foreman pushes the pedal on theatre career

Published:Monday | July 16, 2018 | 12:00 AMKimberley Small/Gleaner Writer
Sabrina Thomas
Ricky Rowe and Terri Salmon.

Heather Robinson-Foreman is jump-starting her career in the theatre. The 'first-time' playwright make her local theatrical debut with the premiere of Jumpstaat on August 24. Though she has penned plays before, this marks the first time Robinson-Foreman has left her work in the hands of a bona fide theatre director, to be premiered and played recurrently to a public audience.

"This is my third script. The other two were at churches, so this is my real launch into theatre," Robinson-Foreman told The Gleaner.

The first play she ever wrote was called The Crouger and the Cub, followed by Wah Nuh Dead Nuh Dash Weh. For one of those productions, the passionate playwright boasts an audience of approximately 700 people.

"There was a lady in her 90s who told me, 'You make me laugh until my belly hurt me'. And her great-granddaughter remembered all the characters," she said.

Based on the positive responses from her first two productions within the church, Robinson-Foreman believed that her third script would be the one to take her into the theatre.




Robinson-Foreman describes Jumpstaat as a familiar Jamaican experience of a deportee.

"It's about his interpersonal communications as he reingratiates into Jamaican society - it's a 'drama-edy'. It's bringing the drama, but you have to make light of it. Still, it's not coy because there's no perfect scenario ... . All is not gonna be a fairy tale" the writer told The Gleaner.

"There is retribution in there. You also have ridicule, bankruptcy, ambition. Of course, 'mix up and blenda', set-ups and deception, forgiveness and redemption," Robinson-Foreman explained.




Much to Robinson-Foreman's pleasure, Jumpstaat will be directed by Actor-boy Award winner David Tulloch. "I sent [David Tulloch] a message on Facebook, and he actually responded! Then we met, or I booked an appointment. I really just met him a month ago."

After Tulloch read the script, Robinson-Foreman said, "We shook hands and it was off to the races. Having David sign on as director, to have him decide to direct this play without coercion, I couldn't want it any better."

Tulloch is wrangling an all-star cast for the play - Ricky Rowe, Rosie Murray, Terri Salmon, and Sabrina Thomas are expected to be in the line-up for opening night next month.

Regardless of having little practice in the professional theatre space, this newcomer is ready for this next adventure. "I'm not a graduate from Edna Manley College. I'm coming out of obscurity. I'm actually a real estate agent and a property manager, but I've always had an interest in production," Robinson-Foreman revealed.

"I've always been an avid reader, with a vivid imagination. My prediction, that [the audience is] gonna watch it thrice. It's not a one time thing. They'll go back with friends! It's not for one demographicit's like the 90-something-year-old lady and her little great-grandkid. I just live to tell stories," she said.