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Nicole Robinson talks about her new production Fresh Breeze

PICTURED: Playwright Nicole Robinson

JAMAICA IS known for producing many talented individuals that go on to impact the world in very profound ways. Cast your mind back to celebrated names like Sheryl-Lee Ralph, Madge Sinclair and Harry Belafonte to name a few to get a sense of the magnitude of Jamaica’s global influence.

But, a new generation of leading lights are making their way over the horizons to stamp their mark on the world and preserve the tradition of Caribbean prowess in the performing arts.

Twenty-four-year-old playwright Nicole Robinson, who moved to the United Kingdom at a very young age, is the latest Jamaican aiming to arouse the emotions of the British public with a brand new play titled Fresh Breeze. The production will be showcased at the Bunker Theatre on Southwark Street in London on Sunday October 21.

Fresh Breeze, which is written and directed by Robinson, is an extraordinary, thought-provoking play that takes the audience on a journey through the psychological and emotional realms of personal trauma. Fresh Breeze demonstrates the message of the remarkable strength of the human spirit.

In an exclusive interview with the weekly Gleaner, Robinson says that the play showcases the life of Nicky, an ambitious young lady trapped in a relationship characterised by an inexplicable degree of domestic abuse.

“Nicky is young, beautiful, vibrant, focused and enthusiastic about life and just wants follow her dreams and achieve the things that make her happy.
“Her boyfriend, who was charming and wanted everything in a girl that Nicky possessed, was awfully jealous of her aspirations. He tried in every way he could to suppress her desire to live her dreams of being happy and independent. At the beginning, the relationship seemed so perfect, but neither of them had anticipated what was about to come,” she said.

The Jamaican-born playwright also revealed her reasons for penning the emotionally riveting show. “I decided to write Fresh Breeze because I wanted to raise awareness about how domestic abuse often manifests itself, the trauma and debilitating psychological impact which traps its victims. Being a survivor of domestic abuse I decided to use this outlet to help others.”

Robinson, who holds a Bachelor’s degree in drama, a masters in playwriting and is a qualified drama teacher, has made it clear that her central mission is to help the audience feel Nicky’s excruciating pain, desperation and loss of her sense of self.

“No one should have to go through such an unpleasant experience when all they are looking for is love and companionship. It is my desire that all the victims of domestic abuse know that there is a good and happy life out there to enjoy. I want the audience to hear Nicky’s cry for freedom and know that, even though she yearns to find herself but cannot seem to rediscover that inherent peace of mind that belongs to all of mankind, there is hope that one day they will find their happiness again,” the playwright revealed.

In discussing the backstory of the play’s lead character, Robinson, explained that Nicky’s father had emigrated to the United States when she was just a young child. She had no male influences during her childhood. If only she felt she had the power to walk away, she could have long reclaimed her life instead of allowing her abusive boyfriend to satisfy his sadistic impulses.

Fresh Breeze is a follow up to other impactful work that Robinson has created. She wrote and directed her very first production in 2014, Do I Really Value Myself. Since then, she has written and directed a number of other plays including Senses, The Christmas Box and A Night at The Theatre.

Robinson has also written and directed a short film for Fixers on domestic violence that has been aired on ITV; and penned and published her life story in Let’s Talk About The Church, where she wrestled with what she considers to be a pervasive manipulation of congregations by some preachers of the Gospel.

Robinson describes her latest play as akin to a freedom that makes you want to lie in the park, let go of everything and soak the emotional experience all in.

“The play represents a new beginning, a letting go, a rejuvenation, a rediscovery of self and the beginning of a journey to healing. The piece challenges what many individuals and indeed society may think they know about abuse and lays bare the true and very often hidden reality of its effects. Theatre is a powerful platform and is meant to not simply entertain but to make a difference."

Tickets for the 7.30pm showing of Fresh Breeze on Sunday October 21 at 53 Southwark Street are available from the Bunker Theatre box office.

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