TBB Talks To… Terique Jarrett Star Of ‘Daddy’ @ Almeida Theatre

London-born Terique landed his first role in Motown The Musical.

Following his stint on the West End, he began shooting season 2 of Find Me in Paris for Hulu/Cottonwood Media. Subsequently, he has starred in plays at the National Theatre and Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre.

Terique has now been cast as the lead in the UK premiere of Daddy, an explosive and blistering melodrama from Jeremy O. Harris, whose play Slave Play received a record 12 nominations at the 74th Tony Awards. Daddy follows a young, Black artist named Franklin whose star is on the rise when he gets into a relationship with an older, wealthier white art collector Andre (played by Claes Blang) much to his mother, Zora’s, anguish.

We spoke to Terique to find out more…

Please introduce yourself…

My name is Terique Jarrett (he/him), I’m of Jamaican descent and I’m an actor.

Please share a word or sentence which best describes your life right now.

Say thank you in advance for what’s already yours.’ – Denzel Washington

You are a digital artist and have your own company, Digital Water Prints, what artists do you look up to/inspire you?

Basquiat’s work is inspirational because he eloquently portrays Blackness and Black culture in interesting ways. I have recently been introduced to and inspired by Kehinde Wiley’s work – a lot of his art beautifully subverts the idea that Black men must always be ‘tough’, ‘strong’ and ‘masculine’. It’s refreshing to see us represented as soft, colourful and complex, as well.

Daddy @ Almeida Thetare

Do you find that expressing yourself through drawing is different from acting/performing?

Yes. The difference between these mediums of art is that I have complete control of the digital drawings. With acting, directors, producers and writers all have their input to help create the final image. However, they are similar in that it takes hours of finessing.

As you are a visual/digital artist, a singer, actor and a dancer, despite the variety of disciplines, is there a particular theme or idea, or desire that drives the work you pursue?

I like putting my name to projects that have messages that I want to amplify: I am passionate about representation and giving audiences an insight into how I see and experience the world. A lot of this involves portraying Black people as complex beings with individual personalities and identities.

As an interdisciplinary artist, how would you define your artistic practice?

I’ve never considered this before! In the past, I’ve referred to myself as simply an actor but I think artist is the best word to encapsulate all of my capabilities.

You have entered into the non-fungible tokens (NFTs) business with Digital Water Prints, and in Daddy, the relationship between Franklin and Andre also interrogates the idea of ownership within art. What does having ownership over your art mean to you?

I believe the original creator should always be given credit for their work – we’ve seen, time and time again, people being inspired by/stealing others’ work and getting an imbalanced amount of recognition. To be honest, my introduction to the world of NFTs is an experiment – I just wanted to see what it was all about and I like the idea of the original artist being paid their worth.

Daddy acknowledges that each individual can have their own interpretation of art – one person’s reading is not greater or less than another’s – and I think that’s a beautiful thing about art.

The play interrogates and challenges the difficult financial environments that emerging artists can find themselves in, how have you found navigating the industry and did you use your own experiences to inform Franklin’s character?

Though I’ve always had to work odd jobs to support myself, I always consider myself lucky to have entered this industry because it’s financially demanding and often exclusive; regardless of talent. Every job has taught me something new about navigating this industry: one of the biggest lessons I learned from my first professional job is how to know one’s worth; I worked with some really talented, admirable people who were particular about their craft and how they balanced work/life.

Daddy @ the Almeida. Sharlene Whyte, Terique Jarrett and Ioanna Kimbook. Image Credit – Marc Brenner

We are given insight into Franklin’s hustle and work ethic that allow him to emerge as a revered artist. His mother challenges his public reception by suggesting that, as great and cultured as his work is, his primary audience is white people reducing his art to playthings. Franklin eventually concedes this. Working in British theatre, this is very familiar to me! Early in my career, I was cast in Motown the Musical – a show that celebrates Black culture and every night I looked out into the audience, there were a majority of white faces. I think art should be accessible to everyone but this experience further exemplified the exclusivity of theatre in Britain.

In Daddy, Franklin is preparing for his first big show, this is Jeremy O. Harris’ UK debut and both Slave Play and Daddy received rave reviews in the US, do you see parallels between yourself and Franklin?

Definitely so! This is the most significant role I’ve played to date and I truly believe that the play is brilliant. Jeremy has proved his talent time and time again, so I believe people will also see the play’s greatness.

Daddy interrogates the legacy of white supremacy and how that has impacted the formation of Black identity in the US, what do you hope that white UK audiences will take away from this play?

Daddy @ the Almeida. Terique Jarrett – Image Credit Marc Brenner

The honest answer is that I’m starting to care less about what others think about Blackness. I don’t think Jeremy wrote this play, particularly for white audiences to go away and think about their white guilt! However, I do acknowledge that it would be nice if white U.K. audiences watch Daddy and understand the importance and influence of Black culture on the world, and how it shapes us as people.

I’m more interested in what Black audience members will take from this play – I hope they feel empowered, challenged and more knowledgable. Jeremy likes to put on ‘Black Out’ performances; all tickets are reserved for Black audience members in order to encourage more Black theatregoers. The Blackout performance of Daddy is Tuesday 12th April 2022.

Has this show changed you as an artist and/or your thoughts on the industry?

I have noticed many similarities between Franklin and myself. This is therapeutic for me as he (like any of us) is flawed; it forced me to be introspective and question things about myself, and how I navigate through this world.

GETTING TO KNOW YOU…

  • A book you have to have in your collection? Malcom Gladwell’s Outliers
  • A song/album that defines the soundtrack of your life to date? JP Cooper’s Lost Boy Dreaming explores a boy who was raised in a world of limitations but now that he has ownership over his life, his dreams have allowed him to exceed whatever he was told was possible, and wants to pay his parents back. I’m currently at this stage of life, where I have the autonomy to show gratitude to my parents for encouraging me to dream big.
  • A film/TV show that you can watch/have watched repeatedly?  Modern Family is such a comfort show for me as I’m very family orientated.
  • The first stage production you saw and what it meant to you (play, dance or concert)? I don’t remember my first stage production experience. One performance, however, that really impacted me was seeing Beyoncé in concert. Her ownership, showmanship, stamina and grace were very admiral. I decided that I would always strive for that level of performance!
  • What has made you sad, mad, and glad this week? I’m writing this just after Mother’s Day, so I’m filled with gratitude and gladness about my mother and other women who have helped shape me

Daddy runs @ Almeida Theatre until 30th April

8,729FansLike
42,933FollowersFollow
19,711FollowersFollow
894SubscribersSubscribe

Latest articles

Related articles