Mon | Sep 23, 2019

Stars Theatre forges ahead despite having no home

Published:Tuesday | August 20, 2019 | 12:24 AMSade Gardner /Gleaner Writer
Singer at Stars Theatre, Janelle Thompson, in a recent performance at the University of the West Indies.
Founder of performing arts troupe, Stars Theatre, Fabian Dreckett
Members of the Stars Theatre dub group.
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At just 22-years-old, Fabian Dreckett is playing his part in uplifting and empowering others through his performing arts troupe and company, Stars Theatre. Established in October 2017, the outfit comprises 29 members of varied proficiencies in dance, dub poetry, drama, sign language and music.

“The inspiration for Stars Theatre came out of my love for the performing arts. I see it a very important tool that can be used to impact and empower people,” Dreckett told The Gleaner.

“I chose the word ‘stars’ because stars are people who make an impact, and we are making an impact by emitting our light and motivating people. We are original. We write our own stuff and we try to write on topical issues that affect young people so we can spread a positive message through our showcases, whether it be a dub poetry performance, a dance piece and so forth.”

Its almost two-year existence is miraculous as Stars Theatre has no independent base or office. Dreckett said the group conducts meetings and rehearsals at his church, Cypress Hill Baptist, in St Catherine. The venue was also home to the Stars Threate mini concert in April 2018, the group’s first production which was fairly supported. Dreckett said he is not discouraged by a lack of resources, but said additional funding and sponsorship would alleviate day-to-day constraints.

“We’re still a young group, so there are stuff we definitely need as we have no financial assistants,” he started.

“The members are not paid and that is something I want to change, it would be good if they could get something. We would also like to buy our own dub drum because we have to borrow one and we’re also working on branded T-shirts so if we could get assistance with that it would be good. Generally, we just need money to get some stuff done and move around.”

A graduate of St Mary’s College in St Catherine, Dreckett said his interest in the performing arts was developed while studying English literature in the ninth grade. Raised in a nuclear family, he received the full support of his parents to pursue this interest, and even shared that his father is a guitarist at Stars Theatre. Dreckett will be entering his second year at The University of the West Indies, Mona, in a few weeks where he is pursuing a film degree. He said he has no issues balancing the entrepreneurial and full-time student caps.

Duties delegated

“We have an executive body, so we delegate each person to a specific task and then we try to utilise our weekends for most of our rehearsals,” he said.

“I always have my phone, so whenever I’m free and have no classes I’m on WhatsApp sorting out group stuff, so we try to make the time.”

The troupe recently delivered an original dub performance entitled ‘Uplift’ at the 2019 Cypress Hall Homecoming church service, and now perparing for their second production slated for March next year.

“What I can say about that now is it will have a broad theme of empowerment, and will see the premiere of our group song, which we are writing now and plan to open the show with,” he said.

“In the long run, I envision Stars Theatre with our own media franchise which will have exclusive access to our content.

We want to be a worldwide group, not confined to Jamaica alone, and we want to leave a clear footprint on the performing arts and utilise its different elements to reiterate the importance of education.”