We had the good fortune of connecting with Gabrielle Scott and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Gabrielle, where are your from? We’d love to hear about how your background has played a role in who you are today?
I am from a twin isle in the Caribbean, Trinidad & Tobago, also known as ‘Sweet T&T’. T & T is the land of Calypso, Soca, steelpan and the most world renowned Carnival. Our unique history makes us the most culturally diverse country in the Caribbean which directly impacts our music,film and theatre industry.
I was raised by God-fearing parents who taught me that if I didn’t fit into a space, create my own. They taught me to respect ALL people and to pursue purpose despite fear. I come from a family of musicians and was born into a generation where it was my time to use performance art as a livelihood after the sacrifices made by generations before me.
In Trinidad and Tobago storytelling is embedded in our culture and has been used as a tool to revolt, revive and reconstruct since pre-Emancipation. It can be seen from: our ‘ole mas’ traditional characters performed as street theatre to address socio-political corruption, to educational theatre tools in the classroom on resistance and poetry and even the recycling of the oil drum as the world renowned musical instrument, the steelpan. Through our creative and resilient use of circumstance, I have been encouraged to make my stage anywhere and to create a masterpiece with anything.
My work as a theatre-maker focuses on constructing safe spaces for artists to explore and expand their craft, as well as workshopping experimental works of art to re-shape the next generation for the betterment of humankind. Just as my ancestors, I believe performance art to be a healing art and an arena in which to fight injustices.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’ve never quite fit into a niche that already exists. I don’t say this with a heavy heart. It means I am encouraged to always dig deeper into the recesses of my mind. It means I have to regularly ask myself what’s missing and either find that thing in someone else or become that thing. I am fascinated with the process more than I am the product. The performance stays with the audience (if we’ve done an excellent job), but the process stays with the actors forever, shaping who they are as an artist and as a human being. The cast and crew are my main responsibility. The audience is my reflection, as the performance is theirs.
I suppose what may set my brand apart here in the US is that I am a Caribbean artist wearing many hats: director, actor, singer, writer, teaching artist, creative wellness coach. I don’t believe in giving up on parts yourself but instead letting one area inform the other. I’ve made it this far because of extreme hard work and sacrifice from both my parents, my own steadfast nature, and living on a prayer.
I’ve learnt that I cannot do any of this alone and that there is grace for my mistakes. That what may sometimes feel like a prison is really an arena in which I am to fight and overcome another internal limitation. I must overcome the worst of me before I can truly deconstruct the injustices of the world. That is my role as an artist.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
A Week Itineray in NYC !!! Just to name a few……
Difara (best pizza!)
Pilar Cuban Eatery
Chez Ozkar (best lamb burgers & lovely ambience)
Tucum Cafe (coffee, sandwiches & decor)
Saraghina ( bartenders are mixologists & food so yummy)
Theatre (Besides Broadway)
The Public Theatre
Theater for a New Audience
The Drawing Center
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would like to dedicate my shout out to Tafar Chia Lewis. Who believed in me as an actor, director, writer and teacher before I truly believed in myself. You gave me your yes countless times, even when it meant great sacrifice and I would never forget that. Thank you for always playing your part and never thinking it was beneath you to conspire and dream with me. #DohBack
Headshot: Ted Ely Black & White photos: Luana Seu