George Town native Melanie Ebanks, 22, has received the Proud of Them award for her work in promoting Cayman culture and her involvement in community service activities.
Ms. Ebanks is a professional actor who graduated from Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, London, in June with a bachelor’s degree in performance.
“It is an honor to have been picked out of such an impressive group of young Caymanians,” Ms. Ebanks said. “I’d like to thank the ministry for their support and my family for being so incredible and never giving up on me.”
Ms. Ebanks said she realized early on that acting was her calling.
“At the age of 10 I did ‘Oliver!’ and from that point never looked back,” she said. “I realized then that that was what I wanted to do.”
Since then, Ms. Ebanks has been in many productions, both locally and abroad, including the first stage performance of “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” in London.
When asked her favorite production, Ms. Ebanks said that is a difficult question, but there are two standouts.
“My favorite role so far would probably be Logainne in the musical ‘Spelling Bee’ as I basically got to pretend to be a kid for about eight weeks,” she said. “Another production would be the most recent. It was a performance of Shakespeare’s ‘Love’s Labour’s Lost’ where we had the opportunity to perform in both London and the Globe stage in Germany.”
Locally, Ms. Ebanks was co-founder of “Cocktails and Cabaret,” a fundraiser that was staged annually for three years.
“It was an idea originally formed between myself and mentor Glen Inanga in 2012. He thought I should have more experience performing in front of a live audience and I thought that it would be an excellent fundraiser,” she said.
“For the first year we raised funds for the George Town Primary School’s performing arts center, and the following two years we raised money for the Zak Quappe Memorial Scholarship Fund,” Ms. Ebanks said.
“Cocktails and Cabaret” raised approximately $17,000 over three years.
Ms. Ebanks has also volunteered a large amount of her time to the Cayman Drama Society, working backstage, on stage and helping out with workshops.
Her most recent accomplishment is being signed as a professional actor to an agent from Esta Charkham Associates in London.
“If there are any other young Caymanians out there interested in the arts, just remember to never give up,” she said.