Julene leads To The Finish
IF anyone told Julene Robinson five years ago that she would have a career in theatre, she would have laughed them out of town.
Robinson is lead actress in To The Finish, a play currently running at the Pantry Playhouse in New Kingston. Her passion, for as long as she can remember, has been the sciences. But the St Elizabeth-born, Kingston-raised 25-year-old spent only two years as a professional chemist.
An encounter with Director Michael Holgate four years ago, while she was a student at the University of the West Indies, was a game-changer. Taking a break from studies, she strolled over to the Philip Sherlock Centre where she met Holgate who was doing a musical called Glass Roots.
"He asked me if I could sing and I said yes," Robinson recalled. Glass Roots marked her theatre debut and she has been hooked since.
Written by Dahlia Harris, To The Finish is based on the challenges professional athletes face. Robinson plays Victoria Speid, a promising sprinter whose parents have differing opinions on her future.
She spoke about her preparation for the role.
"I spoke with other athletes, went very early one morning to the UTech (University of Technology) track to watch (Olympic double sprint champion) Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce train as well as went to the gym, training for over three hours," she told the Jamaica Observer.
According to Robinson, she wanted to know what the body goes through after a rigorous workout.
Victoria Speid is Robinson's first lead role. Her previous productions were Hair Piece, Tapestry and Where Is My Father.
Robinson is so taken with acting, she is uncertain of a return to the laboratory anytime soon.
"I'm just excited about what's coming next. The only chemistry I'm involved with now is being on stage with my fellow cast members," she said.