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Garnet Lawrence – Playwright, Teacher, Actor

By Victor Laptiste

Garnet Angello Lawrence is a young man on a mission; his profession is that of a Teacher in the field of Theatre Arts.

In his brief career he has already tasted the thrill of victory, having moulded and guided a group of teenage students to national glory.

He is the inspirational leader of the Award-winning Roxborough Secondary School team of actors and actresses who took the lion's share of the prizes at the recently concluded Secondary Schools Film Festival in Trinidad and Tobago.

They won five of the seven categories in which they were nominated including Best Actress and Best Overall Film.

In 2010 he graduated from the University of the West Indies, St Augustine at the top of his class with a BA. Degree (Double Major) in Theatre Arts and Literature (English). He is' the son of a preacher man', his parents being Pastor/ Guidance Counsellor Whitfield Lawrence and his mother Allison Lawrence – a senior public officer.

He said: "I am a Christian first and foremost," and has demonstrated that in all his life's activities.

At Bishop's High School he was the Vice- President of the Inter School Christian Fellowship (ISCF). In later years he was elected as the Youth Zonal Chairperson of the Wesleyan Holiness Church and was a Representative at its Caribbean Youth Congress in Trinidad and Jamaica.

He taught for four years at the Scarborough Secondary School before furthering his studies at university.

Garnet holds leadership positions in his church at Cinnamon Hill Wesleyan Holiness as Youth Leader, Worship Leader and has preached and conducted Bible Study on occasions. His ministry extends to the musical field as a member of the Choir, on the Keyboard or on the Drums.

Each year the congregation looks forward to his production at Christmastime when he stages a play at their annual Christmas evening social.

He is passionate about the Arts and ensures that practice for the play begins four months in advance. The young playwright said: "When I do a play it must touch the hearts of the people involved first before it can touch the hearts of the audience." Another significant activity which engages his attention is the organisation and management of the Wesleyan's Annual pre-Lenten Camp over the Carnival weekend. Youths from several congregations in Trinidad and Tobago converge on their Campsite at Greenhill in Mt St George and he normally fulfills the responsibility of Counsellor or Camp Manager.

He has written lots of Short Stories and other literary works; he currently has a stock of more than two hundred of his poems which have been inspired by his life's experiences.

While studying in Trinidad he gained much experience by working along with the group Arts in Action and also at the Creative Arts Centre. He worked under the Set Designer in the Annual Student Production entitled 'Bitter Cassava' which won the prestigious Cacique Award for Best Set Design in 2008.

Garnet has a goal to build his talent and to make a significant contribution to Tobago's development in the Arts.

He said: "I like how Tobago has room for growth. There is so much potential here, but it is just unshaped, unfocused; people who have the talent and skills just end up going somewhere else and using it. If we don't stay and develop our people, how else will we develop?"

He said, the new Cultural Complex, which is expected to be completed soon, as an avenue for the full expression of the various talents in the artistic field. His message to inspire our youths is: "It is okay not to know what career you want to go into, but at least know what kind of person you want to be, because that person you become is what really defines your career and it defines how you make an impact on the world and how the world impacts you."

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