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Monday 22 July 2019
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Boy wonder

Twelve-year-old thespian, Dimitri Pollard admitted he was overwhelmed Monday after becoming the youngest person to win the prestigious Cacique Award for his role in the 2007 UWI Festival of Arts Chorale, Broadway production, Oliver. In the category Most Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role, Dimitri was the youngest among a slate of veterans, creating history in the theatre fraternity.

The Cacique Awards is the highest honour given to thespians for outstanding achievement in the theatre industry. Twenty six awards were presented to top actors, however, all eyes were on young Dimitri, as he walked up to the stage to accept his award, and calmly and articulately gave his vote of thanks. One had to wonder that night, if Dimitri, a form two student of Hillview College, even realised that he had created history.

President of the National Drama Association of TT (NDATT), Joel Greaves, describes Dimitri’s win as significant in the theatre industry. He said Dimitri’s accomplishment was testimony that the local theatre industry is alive, well and in good hands.

According to Dimitri, “I was very excited and overwhelmed when I won. My role in Oliver was a great experience for me. I was ten going on eleven at the time and it was hard work. I hand to learn an old English accent but I enjoyed every minute of it, and now it feels good to get this award,” Dimitri said.

Dimitri said although he had no formal theatre training, he has the blood of thespians. “My mother is a singer and my father is a dancer, so I guess I have some of that and even more in me. I think I have a natural talent that I’m just making use of,” he said. “I really enjoy acting, I think it’s really flowing in my blood,” he added.

Dimitri said his opportunity for the stage came when his music teacher saw something in him that he was not even aware of. When my music teacher, who is part of the UWI Festival of Arts Chorale told me about a play that UWI had coming up she thought I would be interested in auditioning and she thought I would like it and she was right. That goes to show that you should be willing to try new things,” the young thespian said.

The Cacique Award winner, who will turn 13 on Independence Day, said although he loves acting, and although the stage gave him an opportunity to express himself, he doesn’t see acting as a full time career. “I don’t think I could make a sustainable living off of acting in this country. I love acting, but I will do it only as a hobby. I want to be a pilot; that’s my dream,” he said. I think acting is a great career and something that can bring people a lot of joy but it’s really not something that people respect,” he added.

Dexter Pollard, Dimitri’s father, admitted that when Dimitri got the role in Oliver, he was not very supportive, in fact, he never went to see his son practise. “I was not really keen with Dimitri taking part in the play, but his mother was supporting him all the way. I did not go to any of the practise sessions, but when I went to see the play and I saw him on stage, I was in awe. I couldn’t believe his performance. He was really fantastic. That’s when I realised that Dimitri was special and he had a knack for the stage. I understood that parents must support their children 150 percent.

“I dance, and Dimitri’s mother was a member of the Malick Folk Performers, so I guess Dimitri has a natural aptitude for the stage, but I really don’t see acting as a possible career in this country, so I still won’t want him to get into it full time, but I will support him. When he won the Cacique I couldn’t describe how I felt. When he came to me and hugged me it was a great feeling. When I looked at his face I felt proud; I was teary eyed,” Pollard said.

Here are the Cacique Award winners

Outstanding Achievement in Set Design
2007 - Oliver – Kwynn Johnson
2008 - The Sound of Music – Gillian Creese and Jennifer Mofford-Joab.
Outstanding Achievement in Lighting and design
2007 - Shine – Curtis Bachan
2008 - Tributes – Celia Wells
Outstanding Achievement in Sound Design
2007 - I Love You Til Someone Better Comes Along – Richard Ragoobarsingh
2008 - One of Our Sons is Missing – Giselle E. Langton
Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design
2007 - Oliver – Paulette Alfred
2008 - The Sound of Music – Paulette Alfred
Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role
2007 - Kendra Sylvester – Oliver
2008 - Abigail Henry – Bitter Cassava
Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
2007 - Dimitri Pollard – Oliver
2008 - Mohammed Muwakil – Bitter Cassava
Outstanding Achievement in Writing (Original Script)
2007 - Shine – Curtis Bachan
2008 - 3 Women – Ann Louise Tam, Belinda Barnes and Eunice Alleyne
Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
2007 - Cecilia Salazar – Shine
2008 - Hannah Howard – The Sound of Music
Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
2007 - Raymond Choo Kong – Politically Incorrect
2008 - Arnold Goindhan – Joy and Fire
Outstanding Achievement in Directing
2007 - Debra Boucaud-Mason – I Love You Till Someone Better Comes Along
2008 - Mervyn de Goeas – 3 Women
Outstanding Comedic Production
2007 - I Love You Till Someone Better Comes Along – RS Production
2008 - We Like it So – Raymond Choo Kong Productions
Outstanding Dramatic Production
2007 - Oliver
2008 - 3 Women – The Players Workshop
Outstanding Production
2007 - Oliver
2008 - 3 Women

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