BY GIANNA STANLEY
From playing a comic version of the Virgin Mary at the age of nine to playing a complex suicidal character at the age of seventeen, Carmen Anderson has become a very familiar name in the world of drama here in Gibraltar. I spoke to her to learn more about her accomplishments, her new endeavors in journalism, and what she plans to do once at university.
Carmen began with drama ‘in a very random way’, being cast as Mary in her Year Four production of the Nativity. What drew her into the world of theatre was the audience’s reaction; whether it was laughing, applauding, or gasping, this was a new experience that encapsulates her passion for the arts. Another thing that enticed her was the storytelling aspect and ‘getting to step into someone’s shoes and bringing a story to life’. Carmen continued with school plays, but what began her career was joining the Westside and Bayside Drama Group – describing her experience with them as ‘incredible’, and being able to make some of her closest friends here who have become her ‘family’
Falling off a table during a dance piece and winning awards are notable contenders.
I was curious about what her most memorable moment in drama has been. Falling off a table during a dance piece and winning awards are notable contenders, but her stand-out moment was in her performance in Living with Lady Macbeth. Once she had finished performing Lady Macbeth’s monologue, she received a round of applause, which she admits felt very special because she’d never really experienced that before.
Watching the Drama Festival has been a highlight for Carmen as far back as she can remember, but what makes it more memorable is performing in it. She loves performing at the Gala night because it makes her ‘nervous but excited’, and of course, extremely proud of her work, but she also enjoys watching the week of amazing theatre. If you’ve had the privilege of watching Carmen on stage, you might have a favourite role of hers – mine is definitely her role as the British ‘chav’ narrator in Three – but Carmen thinks about each of her roles ‘very dearly’, and cannot pick a favourite.
Not only an actress but a journalist too, Carmen has taken the gap year opportunity to enhance her writing skills, beginning her blog during lockdown. She has become very passionate about meeting new people and getting to tell stories of their amazing lives. Time management has been challenging for her, but the free time her gap year offers has allowed her to be flexible and manage her time accordingly. Creating questions for her interviewees is also difficult because she has to ensure it is ‘interesting and something people would answer’.
Taking a gap year was ‘one hundred percent the right choice’ for Carmen, as she decided this path before achieving her A-Levels. The idea always lingered at the back of her mind since she was young, but the actuality of it was not certain. This past year has provided her with opportunities that would not have been possible if not – performing with the Trafalgar Theatre under the director Daniel Strain Webber provided her with a chance to perform in her first adult play. She was also able to direct for the first time this year, debuting in the Gibraltar Drama Festival, and allowed her to dive into a new experience which she had always wanted to do.
What is certain is that Gibraltar will miss Carmen’s huge personality and tremendous talent, but she plans to return and participate, as she ‘loves contributing to the drama festival’, and hopes to work with the technical side of theatre. She also hopes to create opportunities through putting her own plays on, but plans to continue working on her blog and, of course, her talent in drama at university!