Dreams are merely just what one imagines it to be but the right choices are what directs and determines whether you will ever be that person. Last weekend’s 2017 Namibian Theatre and Film Awards hailed Carol-lee Peters as the Best Newcomer Actor in Theatre, a victory she boldly highlights as just the beginning of many.
“At high school you had to choose between the business or the arts field. By then, we were exposed to the stereotype that if you want to make it in life, it is either you study to become a doctor or a lawyer. So it was no surprise that my parents forced me to do Accounting. I had the worse three years of my life doing something which I never enjoyed while looking at my peers performing. When I eventually finished high school, I decided to follow my passion. I told my parents that I am grateful that they wanted the best for me but I now have to follow my passion.”
At just 21 years old, Carol-lee said she stepped in the creative arts industry devoid of any knowledge on how to climb the ladder but knowing that there are people who made it in the arena. So she knew that her name will surely be among the best.
Her passion for the art of acting was not enough and it was to her advantage that this knowledge surfaced the moment she took to the stage. “I started to invest in myself. I have the arts in me so I had to invest in it.”
Going to the University of Namibia, she decided to cater for her passion by entering the Drama department where she is now fourth year double-majoring in Public Relations and Drama.
“Since coming to Unam as a drama student, I felt at home from the beginning. I realised that what I’ve imagined and dreamt about is now right here. I get to be a part of it, I get to build my craft and build new skills. My fellow students who are also in the industry came as a living inspiration.
Being in ‘Dutchman’
“The nomination for best newcomer with Dutchman was already a success for me. It meant that the hard work was not all for nothing and that people out there actually come to realize what we are doing. But I should admit that the Dutchman project was a hurdle that tested my limits in all ways.”
The story of Dutchman tells a story of a black man in the 1960 in America. So Carol-lee’s character embodies the white person, their ideas and what they had. Director Nelago Shilongoh called her to come for auditions and without knowing what was expected of her act, she went. .
“So I read the script before I went to audition and immediately I said NO. It was too intense and I said I could not do it. It was just not me. Nelago pressurized me to go to the auditions and I got the role.”
“So I had to say good bye to Carol-lee and become this character. You cannot act something that you are not, you need to become it so that you respect the character.”
“So this was the toughest hurdle. Because I had to be racist. I had to watch documentaries of how white people treated blacks and practice to be that all for one hour,” said Carol-lee.
Invest in the Industry
The creative industry has for so many years been denied the recognition it deserves. Not to forget, it is almost a taboo if a child tells their parents that they aspire to be the person on stage or on TV. As such, the local industry is not as matured but the talents in it are on a mission to do just that. Actress Carol-lee reckons the industry is destined to grow for the next generation to be able to come in a stable and matured industry. But it starts with building the actors.
“If there is no space, I have to create it. I no longer want to be told that the industry is not big enough. I will create it. I refuse to stay back.”
“If I don’t invest in myself, if I don’t build it, how am I going to contribute to building the industry? If we as individuals within the industry start build ourselves and our craft, we are adding to the industry. We are the ones growing it. If we don’t grow it, who is going to do it?”
It’s just the beginning
With age and talent in her CV, Carol-lee promised that this is just the beginning. Now having mastered theatre, she says it’s now time to add another challenge, film.
“This award is just the beginning and people should never think it’s ending here. I am chasing the big guns and I know I will make it.”
“The mentality I had before I auditioned was that ‘I can’t do this, this is too much for me.’ But with the push from the director, I came this far. And at this moment, I feel I can do anything and it won’t be long before I become a jack of all trades.”
The up coming actor concluded by saying young arts enthusiasts to believe and stand by their dreams. “It is one thing to believe in something but then if you do not stand up for it, nobody will. So you need to take it serious and invest in it. Once you start investing in it, you not only show yourself how much it means to you but other people see this too.”