Wed | Oct 28, 2020

For the Reckord | David Tulloch owns his profession after 26 years (Pt 1)

Published:Tuesday | August 7, 2018 | 12:00 AMMichael Reckord/Gleaner Writer
Tulloch standing beside all his trophies.
Kysanne (Trishanna Wright) talks to her boss George David Tulloch) about her dreams for the future in ‘Sugar Daddy’.
Jermaine (Rolando Fagan) threatens Anita (Samantha Brevett) in a scene from ‘Sugar Daddy’.
George (David Tulloch) and Anita (Samantha Brevett) discus getting a divorce in Tulloch’s play ‘Sugar Daddy’.

After being involved in theatre for 26 years, including working in commercial theatre for 19, David Tulloch has at last decided to "own" the profession.

At his desk in the Phoenix Theatre complex on Haining Road, he told me, "In the past, I just said theatre was something I do. I never owned it (as a career choice). I've decided to own it from this year onwards."

His success in managing the theatre for the past two and a half years was a major factor in his belated 'ownership'. Many onlookers would have thought that success inevitable, considering the dozens of theatrical awards he has won in Tallawah, Actor Boy, Schools' Drama Festival, and JCDC competitions, among others. He also received The 2006 Prime Minister's Youth Award for Excellence in Entrepreneurship.


Most Unlikely to Succeed in Theatre


Perhaps it's just to keep him grounded, but Tulloch kept a 'Most Unlikely to Succeed in Theatre' trophy given to him when he was 14 years old.

"The people who gave it to me don't even have one shelf of what I have," Tulloch said, showing me a three-shelf display stand packed tight with medals and trophies that he and his productions have won over the years.

They are indicative of his many talent. His work in commercial theatre includes acting, singing, writing, directing, producing, composing and designing. He is the founder and managing director of Probemaster Entertainment, a theatre production house, and was artistic director of Montego Bay's Fairfield Theatre from 2005 - 2010.

Though many friends had advised him against it, he took on the management of the Haining Road complex when asked to by the owners - Leighton Chin and his wife. He accepted the challenge - which came "with no capital".

A very religious man, he took it as a sign from God when Mrs Chin told him that she wanted the premises named Phoenix Theatre - the image of the phoenix (the bird) is the emblem for Probemaster Entertainment.

At the time of the request, he was part of the RBT production company at the then Green Gables Theatre, getting property management experience that, though he didn't know it at the time, would come in useful.


The Phoenix Complex


Tulloch said he realised early that he needed a multi-pronged approach to managing the Phoenix complex - and though the Chins were "scared" of renting out space in the building (because of bad experiences), he persuaded them he needed to start there. The first tenant, in June 2016, was Family Word and Worship - a church run by Pastor Junior Tucker, which has three-hour-long services on Sundays.

The Optimists Club also rents spaces in the building for its meetings every second and last Tuesday of the month, and Covenant Christian Academy uses it for its upper-school classes.

Reasoning that to get things going well, he needed "a total community buy-in," Tulloch made parking lot arrangements with surrounding businesses. In exchange for his use of their parking lots for his night-time audiences, they can use his parking lot when it is needed in the day.

Tulloch says the complex is open, and he's on the premises working, seven days a week. He even put a bed in the room beside his office so that he can get a nap in the days. "We still have a lot to do, but at least we're coming back from the red," he revealed.

And while dealing with all this, Tulloch has established a small theatre.

Read more about this in next week's final part.