Fri | Dec 14, 2018

Footprints: Dr Carroll Dawes - Curtain comes down on theatre scholar and educator

Published:Tuesday | February 16, 2016 | 12:00 AM


Carroll Morrison was born in Hopewell, Hanover, on February 3, 1932.

Ten years after she left home for St Hilda?s Diocesan School in Brown?s Town, St Ann.

There, she stood out in academics and drama.

Morrison moved to the big city in 1950 to attend the newly formed University College of the West Indies on scholarship. At college, Morrison?s involvement in theatre grew. In 1955 she left with an honours degree in English. In that year she married Nigeria-born Jamaican poet and aspiring novelist, Neville Dawes.

They left for Ghana in 1956, but she returned to Jamaica divorced with her daughter, Gwyneth, in 1958. Not long after she became acting principal at Merl Grove High School. Yet, she once again became a student in 1960 when she won a Fulbright fellowship through which she obtained a certificate in education through a State Department teachers? course in Washington, D.C.

In 1963, Dawes got a Commonwealth bursary to Rose Bruford Training College of Speech and Drama in Sidcup, Kent, England. She also attended the Royal Academy of Music and Drama, from which she earned a diploma in speech, drama and mime, and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where she pursued a certificate in acting.

Dawes was in 1966 granted a coveted Brodkin Fellowship to Yale which granted her a master of fine arts in directing and a doctorate of fine arts in theatre history. She also lectured in the Department of Speech and Communication at Boston College. In 1971, Dawes returned to Jamaica, where she held teaching and administrative jobs. She retired in 1991 and moved to England with her daughter.

"Intellectual vitality, sparkling humour, swift improvisational acuity and a profound respect for the word written and spoken and the body, disciplined and malleable, and above all, a full passion for humanity and a capacity for untrammeled empathy all bundled up inside this woman of great creative ambition," her friends, Kwame Dawes and Quinton Yeard'e, told Footprints.

Dawes died on February 4 at 83 years old, with Gwyneth, 'her angel', at her side.

She predeceased her only sister, Joyce Gayle; niece, Maxine Gayle and many other beloved relatives.

- Paul Williams