ACTRESSES come and go. Many of them ‘miss the mark’ altogether and fail to meet expectations, but some shine like a diamond with such remarkable talents that they soon become legends in the areas of drama and theatre, being propelled to great heights of fame and stardom.
Among those rare gems is versatile award-winning Guyanese actress, Simone Dowding who, over the years, continues to chalk up notable points as she adds more and more accolades to her already bulging belt of achievements.
Simone tells that her journey to fame required immense patience, dedication, and commitment to the arts she has loved so much over the years.
Born under the Zodiac star of Leo, the mother of three attended the Salem Primary and Secondary schools, where her love for the stage was noticed by teachers and peers alike. In no time at all she had become quite a force to be reckoned with, as she participated in numerous school plays and drama presentations with gusto, finesse and bravery.
Being an artistic person, she attended and graduated from the Burrowes School of Art with flying colours in 2007.
As the years went by, Ms Dowding had become quite a face on the local scene, and has always been popular for her steamy showcases on the stages of the National Cultural Centre, Theatre Guild, and numerous other locations.
It came as no surprise when she won the Best Actress Award in 2012 at the Theatre Guild Awards Ceremony. With a flair for cooking, she also holds three separate certificates in all three stages of cake decorating, fabric designing, ceramics, dress making and crochet.
This diva, also an excellent singer, is a past Executive Member of the Theatre Guild’s board of directors, and currently is the Assistant Producer of the ‘First Look Show’ on Channel 9, where she also officiates as a marketing representative.
With a passion for kids, she soon formed her ‘Purple Arts Production’ entity, which is quite a vibrant factor in grooming young children in the areas of drama, theatre, acting, directing, playwriting, costume and stage management, and choreography techniques, among other related concepts.
Each year, Dowding conducts her annual Children’s Drama Workshop for participants aged 6 to 19. This initiative is used as a forum to search, discover and develop the natural drama skills of students, to prepare them for bigger and even international stages. It also serves as a positive space created for children to be taught the basic disciplines of drama. At this venture, students are made to create their own storyline, which is later scripted into a play for workshop production.
Her exploits have seen the making of ‘Emerged 3’, an award-winning children’s group that won Best Theatre Production this year at the Theatre Guild Awards Ceremony.
At the workshop, students are also involved in poetry, dance and short plays. Last year the workshop has created five short plays, with the centrepiece being ‘Sliding Floors’, directed by Dequan Allen (guided by Dowding). The assistant director of this piece is Hannah Walters.
The annual workshop has been supported by Guyana’s former First Lady, Madamme Deolatchmie Ramotar, Habitat for Humanity, Car Care Plus, Lambert’s Electrical, Capital News, NALICO/NAFICO, and Guyenterprise. Dowding, however, welcomes the support of other corporate entities or individuals as she sets about to further enhance the initiative.
Being a woman who likes to multi-task, Dowding also is the presenter of the Sunday afternoon re-broadcasted programme ‘Young Professionals’, an initiative of hers in which young, successful individuals are interviewed, and their stories used as a catalyst to motivate others to always reach for dreams, despite setbacks and hurdles.
Dowding also has her sights set on having her own talk show soon.
“I was catapulted into the media, and (I) have gained lots of experience…. As such, my goal right now is to soon have my own talk show and to be a news anchor… I am multi-talented, so this should be almost like a ‘walkover’ for me…” she disclosed.
Ms Dowding is quite popular for making grand entrances with her elite fashion ideas, and fans particularly look out for her impressive designs at awards ceremonies or other functions to which she is invited or officiates.
With her glossy ‘show stopper lipsticks’ well-kept brows and lashes, she instantly becomes a picture of sophistication and glamour the moment she enters a room.
“I believe in looking my best always, since first impression always counts. Besides, I have always had a flair for fashion; and in the world of showbiz, where the dons and divas are always ready to impress, one has to be on top of one’s game, with choosing clothing and styles that make an impact and leave tongues wagging for a long time after”.
Like anyone else, this diva has her fair share of challenges, particularly in parenting her kids as a single mom. However, she certainly cherishes the support she receives from friends like Verna Welshman, Simone Harris-Cox, June Gilbert, and many others.
“These are just a few of the persons who will remain etched on my memory forever. I was down in the gutter and they refused to allow me to die… In 2006, my sister and pal, Dr. Paloma Mohamed, came along and helped me to understand that there is more to my life than what I thought there was. So I started to discover me, and I actually surprised myself. She taught me to use my talents as a springboard to move my life into its present direction,” Dowding acknowledged.
She notes that her children are indeed a blessing, and they take good care of her. And, of course, she has strengths and weaknesses like any normal person.
“My weakness is that I love hard. I always give of my best to everyone, and I get too emotional when disappointed, and would weep for long periods. My strengths are hidden deep within my being. I can weather storms by being alone even though being alone at times can be very agonizing,” she disclosed.
Ms Dowding has won notable awards each year, and has become quite a household name in the field of theatre and the arts. At the moment, she has her sights set on the international horizons of theatre; and, with her talents, she can surely get there.
She advises potential actors/actresses to stay focused and strive to attain the highest of heights, since the sky is always their limit.
Ms Dowding can be contacted on telephone number 685-0743.
By Alex Wayne