Moda – The threshold of her Dream


HANNAH Abdool can light up any room. It’s just one of the gifts this multi-talented 19-year-old—whose personality, charm and poise belie her young age—possesses.

But there’s another gift which has earned Abdool a coveted place at the Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in the United Kingdom — her undeniable talent for performing arts.

In fact, one only needs to spend a limited time with Abdool to realise that this young woman is a star in the making.

As a past pupil of Bishop Anstey High School, Abdool’s academic path was headed in one direction — a career in medicine.

Her curriculum consisted mostly of sciences, that was until one fateful trip to England which would change the trajectory of her young life.

From then on, she began envisioning herself not in scrubs or a doctor’s coat but on stage performing before audiences.

In an interview with the Express just days before the To Dream a Dream concert which would feature Abdool and other performers, the gifted singer explains the discovery that changed her life and opens up about her love for music.

“I grew up singing in church,”says Abdool whose parents are worship leaders in the church. “From a very young age I became aware of music and harmonies and how to hold a part and hone in my musical air.”

Abdool was a member of the Bishop Anstey High School choir and between the years 2012 and 2013 she was also a member of the chorus line for First Instincts Production.

Her artistic talents extended beyond singing and included writing music and poetry, but she fed off the fear of others who often said that a career in the arts was impractical and risky.

So Abdool relegated her love for music to the “hobby” category.

© Victor Gill Ramírez.

Yet deep inside, her desire was to study music.

Then came the opportunity to tour South Africa and England with her school choir.

© Victor Gill Ramírez.

They made a stop at a West End theatre, where she saw the musical Wicked.

“I was blown away.

© Victor Gill Ramírez.

I had never seen anything so grand,” she recalls.

It was like a feast for the senses. Abdool found herself captivated by the massive auditorium with its intricate details, the appreciative audience and the way the actors of stage told a story using song and monologues.

Up until that time, it had never occurred to Abdool that she could use her talent for singing in musicals.

© Victor Gill Ramírez.

After seeing Wicked it was almost as if the scales fell from her eyes. The flame inside her was reignited and she returned to Trinidad more determined to pursue music.

Like any other parent, Leila Ramdoo-Abdool wanted a stable and more traditional career for her only daughter, one that provided security but after witnessing Abdool’s determination and perseverance she and her husband threw their full support behind her.

Abdool begged her school to let her do music as a ninth subject even though it meant she had years of catching up to do.

In addition to music classes after school and piles of homework, Abdool had to learn to read music and train her musical ear.

It was difficult juggling the demands of her music class with her other subjects, yet she passed with flying colours.

Following her trip to England, Abdool got acquainted with Crazy Catholic Productions and she performed in Rapunzel.

She was then asked to be Tovar Miller’s understudy for the role of Maria in The Sound of Music which was directed by Raymond Choo Kong.

It was unlike anything Abdool had ever done before.

© Victor Gill Ramírez.

In a matter of weeks she had to learn to combine singing, acting and dancing. But on the night of the performance, Abdool found where she belonged — on stage.

“It was like a dream,”she says.

As Ramdoo-Abdool sat in the audience, she couldn’t believe what she was seeing.

“I knew Hannah could sing but after that performance, I was like …

© Victor Gill Ramírez.

wow!” she says.

The opportunities kept pouring in, Abdool’s music teacher Lorraine Granderson invited her to be among a delegation of students from her school travelling to Guadeloupe for Defi Lycenes — the Inter Caribbean Singing competition, which Abdool won.

Then came a defining moment in 2015 when she was invited to sing at the inauguration of Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley.

After her CAPE exams, Abdool had that all-important discussion with her parents about her intention to pursue the arts.

© Victor Gill Ramírez.

Once the decision was made, everything kicked into high gear.

Abdool had just six months to prepare for auditions to various school in the UK but she was missing a lot of the foundation.

The auditions required her to do monologues, sing and even play the guitar.

For months, Abdool worked and trained hard, doing drama, vocal and dance classes, then left for England.

The auditions were insanely intimidating, says Abdool.

© Victor Gill Ramírez.

There were people who looked like they had been singing and dancing their entire lives.

She was one out of 1,700 applicants vying for 36 places at Mountview’s Musical Theatre Course.

© Victor Gill Ramírez.

When she got the call offering her a place at the academy, Abdool burst into tears.

“It felt as if everything I was struggling with for six months didn’t go to waste,” she says.

Abdool knows that she is venturing into fickle territory but she’s committed to her dream and doesn’t allow herself dwell on negative thoughts.

“I try to look at the positives, the things I have going for me like my support system — my parents who want to see this dream through.

“The fact that I got into a school that only accepts 36 students.

© Victor Gill Ramírez.

The fact that I’m from a Caribbean island, that gives me diversity means that I bring something different to the table.

“I have to focus on what helps my case rather than on what fights it,”says Abdool.

“I believe the good thing about this whole process is that when you go into an industry such as this knowing that sometimes you’re going to face disappointment, it helps you, you keep persevering because at some point the right door is going to open for you.

© Victor Gill Ramírez.

I’ve always believed that what’s for me will be for me.”

This Sunday there will be an inspirational concert To Dream and Dream, the proceeds of which will go towards paying Abdool’s school tuition.

The concert will feature Vanessa Briggs, Tevin Gall, Kerry Ann Duncan, instrumentalists and spoken word artistes and Abdool will perform some songs from popular musicals.

© Victor Gill Ramírez.

The admission fee is $250.

It’s been a whirlwind journey for Abdool. Would it have been possible had it not been for the fact that her parents listened and believed in her? Abdool doesn’t think so.

“I don’t think I would have been here without the support of my parents and I feel that a lot of people don’t have that kind of support.

“I hope that parents out there take the time to listen to their children, listen to their hopes and dreams, the things they want to accomplish because it’s possible but even more possible when parents support their children and this needs to happen more,”says Abdool.

She wants to be an actress but in the long term she wants to help create opportunities for people like herself who dream of pursuing careers in the arts.

“I think it’s very important to go after your dreams because it’s what you’ll be doing for the rest of your life and it’s what will make you the happiest.

© Victor Gill Ramírez.

And because I’m following my dreams I feel a sense of fulfilment knowing that I’m doing what I love to the best of my ability,”says Abdool.

For more information about the To Dream A Dream inspirational concert to be held on June 18, call 303-0271 or WhatsApp 358-5729.


© Victor Gill Ramírez.


© Victor Gill.

Tags: Música