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Carvalho’s talent abounds
His amazing ability to dramatise stories with a mixture of entertainment and messages of sound values is what makes Fareid Carvalho a household name in T&T’s children’s theatre industry.
Only two weeks ago, he returned to the adult theatre world exploring vital themes such as fatherhood.
In the business for some 17 years, Carvalho’s unique talent has resulted in his productions being sought after especially by secondary school students who study his work in great detail. Part of the School Based Assessments (SBAs) require students to study a live play.
Carvalho, who turns 37 on May 25, has had his plays sponsored and endorsed by the Education Ministry.
But how did his journey begin?
“At St Monica’s Preparatory School the junior school was not allowed in the choir. There was a fantastic acting coach, Sonia Moze. On my lunch hour instead of pitching marbles I would sneak into the hall. I used to watch her in awe directing the students and I couldn’t wait to become part of it all. I was in Standard Two and I could not wait to be in Standard Five,” Carvalho reminisced.
He then went on to St Anthony’s College where his love for theatre and singing intensified. He also became a member of the Love Movement at the junior and senior levels.
“At St Anthony’s I headed the drama department and everything just unfolded from Forms Two and Three,” Carvalho said.
His modelling career also took off at that time when he was discovered by famed fashion designer Meiling.
Coincidently, while at one of the shows, Raymond Choo Kong, a stalwart in the theatre industry, invited him to an audition.
From there, Carvalho’s talent drew much attention as he worked with Richard Young of The Cloth and became a key figure in Radical Designs.
A world of opportunities also presented itself to him, including numerous television commercials.
It’s all of these elements combined which has resulted in Carvalho’s many roles today including producer, writer, director, and now drama teacher.
“While modelling I had to act and while acting I had to model. Everything is intertwined. I never trained formerly. It’s a God-given gift and I decided I wanted to make a livelihood out of it. I didn’t want to work for anyone.
“Although I was hired as an actor I would go to the theatre three hours before to learn. I watched the lighting board, the make-up artist...I basically became a jack of all trades,” he said.
Carvalho, however, became bored of constantly being given the same roles and in 2007 he left for New York to broaden his horizons.
While in the Big Apple, he fell in love with the flagship store of Toys R Us, at Times Square, a place he described as pure magic and an oasis of inspiration.
“That’s the first time I actually saw a live pantomime and that inspired me to have something like that in T&T,” Carvalho said.
He returned to the country with renewed vigour and went into children’s theatre, a first of its kind.
But the road to success was initially bumpy as Carvalho faced heavy criticism.
His first production, the Wizard of Oz, while creatively amazing, was a bust.
“Then I did The Little Mermaid.
I remember my first two shows... not a sponsor came on board. I lost my first vehicle to the bank but I persevered,” Carvalho said.
His biggest inspiration of all, however, is his mother, Elizabeth, who is his rock. Being a single parent she worked several jobs at a time not only to make ends meet but to also ensure her son, her only child, was afford the best educational opportunities.
And today, Carvalho is a force to be reckoned with in the family theatre industry, sought after by students, schools, and even private businesses across the country.
At the start of the new school term in September he is expected to be a creative writing teacher at Mucurapo Girls’ RC, now called St Mary’s Mucurapo Girls’ RC.
What began as three classes at the school quickly turned into 16.
“The Standard Five teacher said they saw a vast improvement not only in the creative writing pieces but work ethic of the girls, like coming to school early. They have been attending my plays for the past ten years and they realised the kids were absorbing the messages via this medium.
“In my plays I try to incorporate some aspects of the syllabus like moral values and accepted social behaviour patterns. The teachers wanted this in an actual school setting and after 16 classes they wanted me as a permanent creative writing teacher. The country is so crazy with all the crime and violence and if I give some hope to one child I will be happy,” Carvalho added.
He will also be the feature speaker at the school’s graduation ceremony in June.
His advice to struggling drama students, “I paid my dues. I made coffee for the producer and faced negativity. It’s not going to be easy.
I got many closed doors in my face but never gave up. Where there’s a will, there’s always a way.”
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