Diary of a roots theatre queen
Trudy Campbell-Fraser

With only two months on the 2023 calendar, it has already been a busy year for Trudy Campbell-Fraser. The veteran actress has done the rounds with Ex-Baby Motha, a comedy which stars Andrea Wright, her long-time friend and colleague.

This evening the play continues its rural run at Dinthill Technical High School in Linstead, St Catherine. Campbell-Fraser has the role of Mabel, a "fierce ex-baby motha", alongside Wright who again plays her signature role of Delcita.

Campbell-Fraser celebrates her 30th anniversary on stage this year. That makes her roots theatre royalty as she is one of the genre's enduring figures along with Wright, with whom she has appeared in many productions.

A past student of the Jamaica School of Drama, she believes there is still room for improvement as an actress.

"At this point in my life I'm at 89-90 per cent. Over the years my development has grown gradually within each role I have been given to play. All the shows that I have been given surpassed all expectation," said Campbell-Fraser.

Born in St Ann, she made her acting debut in church plays and skits. Campbell-Fraser's first taste of commercial theatre came in 1993 in As Yuh Si Mi Gi Mi, directed by Luke Thomas. That was followed by roles in Man Thiefand Fudgie, other slapstick plays by Balfour Anderson, one of roots theatre's most successful writer/directors.

Since the late 1990s, Campbell-Fraser has appeared in numerous productions with Wright. These include Di Driver, Money Worries, Extortionist and Politician, Border Patrol, and Honeymoon.

"She's very witty, a great teacher, and we work well on stage," said Campbell-Fraser of Wright, who has made the uncultured Delcita a roots theatre icon.

Ex-Baby Motha is written and directed by Wright. It opened last May and has done dates in Kingston and throughout rural parishes.

It also stars Calneth Reid, Kai-Alana O'Connor, and Derricka Johnson. Ex-Baby Motha is scheduled to play Marcus Garvey Technical High School in St Ann's Bay on March 5.

Trudy Campbell-Fraser
Howard Campbell

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