While women such as Honourable Louise Bennett Coverley and Leonie Forbes have essentially set the stage in Jamaican theatre, Terri Salmon is one who is working assiduously to keep the standards high. Terri is an award winning actress who has appeared in a number of local and regional productions alongside some of the best known and loved Jamaican actors.
Her acting career has fittingly brought her several accolades and awards. These include the Actor Boy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Karl Hart’s Dem Good Ole Days in 2001. She won the award again in 2009 for her role in Basil Dawkins’ For Better or Worse.
Salmon started out as a dancer at Holy Trinity with Joy Gordon, whom she credits as the first person to discover her artistic talent. During that time, she was successful in the Jamaica Cultural Development Commissions’ Festival of The Performing Arts, earning gold and silver medals. Her stellar performances and ensuing success prompted a scholarship from the late Joyce Campbell to her dance company — Jamaica Institute of Dance.
From there, Salmon was invited to join the LTM Pantomime as a dancer by Barbara Gloudon. A few years later, Gloudon decided to have a pantomime workshop assisted by the late Rex Nettleford. This exposed Salmon to all aspects of theatre. This exposure further fuelled her desire to become an actress and opened her up to the realisation that she wanted to spend the rest of her life in the theatre.
Since that time Terri Salmon has done at least 12 Pantomimes before being invited by Basil Dawkins to ‘commercial theatre’ with the play Couples. Among Salmon’s acting credits are I’ve Got Your Man, Dutty Wine (UK), Big Yard, Front Room, Jamaica To Rahtid, Dem Good Ole Days, Kiss Mi Neck, Concubine, Devon Haughton’s Mi Get Mi Landed, among many others in Jamaica.
An Audience Puller
Salmon credits her success on stage to her ability to “pull the audience”. Furthermore, her intrinsic nature “allows me to lift the script from the page and make the character my own,” she says.
Where is Terri now?
Having been in so many pantomime productions and commercial theatre, Salmon says there is just one challenge left for her now, and that’s a one-woman show. “I would love to do a one- woman show, for that, to me, is the ultimate. She was however to note: “You have to have comedic timing, which is the hardest to play in an actor’s life.”
Terri’s dramatic and emphatic personality coupled with her determination, tenacity and discipline were the perfect platforms from which to stage the successful dramatic season that is her life. These are the qualities that we can be sure she is passing on to the younger generation of actresses in Jamaica as we can surely see such talent in young women such as Camille Davis and Andrea Wright.
By Norvan Martin