Once On This Island opens Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre’s summer season.

Adapted from the 1985 novel My Love, My Love; or, The Peasant Girl by Trinidadian-American author Rosa Guy, award-winning musical Once On This Island has a cast including Olivier nominated actress Gabrielle Brooks (Get Up Stand Up! The Bob Marley Musical) and Lejaun Sheppherd (Come From Away). The story directed by the multi-award winning Ola Ince (Tina – The Tina Turner Musical), and described as one of ‘love, grief, faith and hope‘ follows peasant girl Ti Moune, a boy called Daniel, and a union that prejudice forbids. Set under the heat of the Caribbean sun and destruction of tropical storms, Ti Moune is forced to the wager with the Gods, to prove that love is more powerful than death.

In order for this production to come to life on Regent’s Park’s infamous outdoor stage, a resilient crew of creatives are needed. We spoke to a few key members of this formidable team to find out how they navigate the temperamental English weather to bring us a piece of the Caribbean …

Associate Choreographer Niquelle LaTouche Talks … Once On This Island

“When I was offered Once on this Island, I read the novel ‘My Love, My Love, or, The Peasant Girl’ by Rosa Guy and saw a sensibility that subtly explores the complexities of colonialism and alludes to economic power, race relations, linguistic hierarchy, spirituality and class. The Caribbean is not monolithic and this has taken some elements of the book to create a light-hearted version which alludes to the brutality of the French who like the Portuguese, Spanish and British have widespread attitudes which still affect the modern world. Once on this Island offers a glimpse into the variety in the Caribbean outside of the more well-known islands like Jamaica and Barbados which as a ‘small islander’ is very important to share.”

Read full interview here.

Costume Designer Melissa Simon-Hartman Talks … Once On This Island

” ‘Waiting for Life’ is my favourite scene. I love the overall raw aesthetic of it and Asaka is one of my favourite characters. The Asaka costume embodies the true personality of actress Anelisa as well as the character she is playing. She was perfectly cast for this role.”

Read full interview here.

Choreographer Kenrick ‘H20″ Sandy Talks … Once On This Island

The depth of the play continuously reminds me that racism, colourism and discrimination has and still effects our world, whether that be on a large scale or small scale. It also triggers me in regards to the grief I have experienced in my life but then also reminds me that love conquers death.

Read full interview here.

Actor LeJaun Sheppard Talks … Once On This Island

We did an exercise with Annamette Verspeak, our voice coach, on inhabiting characters. We had to connect with one another in character and respond in any way that felt honest and natural. Most people were afraid, submissive or antagonistic towards Papa Ge, so I reflected that energy back to them. One person greeted me with a smile and a laugh and I again reflected that back. It made me realise that Papa Ge is not a villain and if you come to him willingly with a smile and open arms, he will make your passing easy and pleasant. This one exercise really unlocked another layer of my character.”

Read full interview here.

Once On This Island runs until 10th June @ Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre


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