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Antonevia Ocho-Coultes Debuts Ma's Playhouse

Antonevia Ocho-Coultes Photo Credit: Unknown Antonevia Ocho-Coultes

Antonevia Ocho-Coultes gets her shot at theatre production with Nostalgia: Memories of a Tropical Past

Have you ever found yourself contemplating whether or not to start your own business? You have a great idea, but ultimately decide it can wait till later. Sitting in the lobby of a rehearsal space in Manhattan I conduct my interview with someone who decided to put her great idea into action: Antonevia Ocho-Coultes, owner and artistic director of Ma's Playhouse.

Just one year ago Antonevia founded the Caribbean theater company which will showcase its premiere show, Nostalgia: Memories of a Tropical Past, this Friday at the Brooklyn A.R.T. Theater. Creating a theater company had always been a goal for her, but it was a simple conversation with a member of her church that really put things in motion.

"I always had this idea in the back of my mind to do this sometime in the future," said Antonevia Ocho-Coultes. "Strange enough it was this person in my church; he encouraged me. He asked what I was doing. I said I have this idea that I would like to do but probably next year. And he told me why not now? And I realized you're right why not now? That's kind of really what spurred me on. It was now or never."

A native of Trinidad and Tobago Antonevia obtained her BA from St. Francis College and later went on to obtain her MFA in acting from Brooklyn College. It was during her time at Brooklyn College that she discovered how difficult it was to find Caribbean roles.

"Many of the roles I played were African American roles," Antonevia lamented. "And I really loved portraying those roles, but I felt like there was no opportunity for me to play a role that reminded me of home. It confirmed the idea for me that I had always had in the back of my mind to create a Caribbean theater company."

That idea is now a reality with the company's first show set to premiere on May 31, 2013. Nostalgia is a showcase of various works about the Caribbean experience. It is also Antonevia's debut as a producing artistic director.

Said Antonevia on the move to producing artistic director: "I think it was a transition that was very plausible for me because having gone to very many auditions, I'm used to the format and having been in many plays I was used to the structure; the hierarchy and so it was not a terrible transition moving from actor to director. I would say it was more time intensive; labor intensive. I miss not being on the stage, but I like this as well because this is a different part of the creative process and people get to follow a vision that you've had on paper and I really like that."

Antonevia also has some big plans in store for the company that she hopes to achieve within the next five years. Not only does she want to have a thriving theater community and supporters, she also hopes to incorporate TV and Film into Ma's Playhouse.

With the first show just days away I asked Antonevia how she felt about the premiere close at hand.

"I am excited and petrified simply because as an actor, I think the moment you become most afraid is right before you go on stage and this is another aspect of myself that...It's like baring your soul in a very different way," Antonevia responded. "So I'm excited for people to participate and get into it."

Nostalgia: Memories of a Tropical Past premieres on Friday, May 31 at 7:30p.m. at the A.R.T. Theater in Brooklyn. If you miss the premiere, you can catch the second performance on June 9 at 6:30pm. Tickets can be purchased at or at or at the door.

Hurry they're going fast!