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Richardo Keens-Douglas

 

 

Richardo Keens-DouglasRichardo Keens-Douglas, born in 1953, is a Canadian film and stage actor.

Richardo Keens-Douglas is one of Canada's best known names in storytelling circles as well as in literature and art. He is also very well known for his work as an actor, playwright, television and radio host. He was born in the fifties in the southern Caribbean island of Grenada commonly known as the “Isle of Spice”, and spent his childhood there. He is the youngest of seven brothers and sisters, including popular Trinidadian writer, Paul Keens-Douglas. His love of acting and performing blossomed at a young age and when he was seventeen, Keens-Douglas moved to Montreal to attend Dawson Theater School.Continuing his love affair with the stage, he went on to perform at the Ontario’s Stratford Festival. But when he came up against the systemic racism that existed within the performing arts in Canada at that time, he made a decision to concentrate on writing and performing his own material.

Keens-Douglas had been living in Toronto for more than fifteen years, moving back and forth between the city and his Grenadian home. Since Hurricane Ivan in 2004, however, he has moved back to Grenada in order to help rebuild the island, and to write and perform in benefit events.
A review of Keens-Douglas’ work and themes shows that he is mainly inspired to bring to life the stories of the Caribbean -- to the stage and to the page. He emphasizes the mystical and magical art of oral culture and storytelling, not only in English, but also in French and Spanish. Most of his work has been published by Annick Press and is written mainly for young adults, although he is well known for his work for children.
His first book, The Nutmeg Princess has a very important message: “Follow your dreams, and if you believe in yourself all things are possible.” Two of his other works for children, La Diablesse and the Baby and Freedom Child of the Sea can all be found in the anthology, Tales from the Isle of Spice (2004). Keens-Douglas performs his children's stories at schools and universities and draws on a diversity of sources that include anthologies, his poetry and his musical performances.

Over the years, Keens-Douglas’ career has spanned working on the stage and in films across Canada. His latest musical play, St. George's: Aye Yay Yay Ivan was performed in Toronto in 2005 to raise funds for hurricane-hit Grenada. Other plays written and acted in by Keens-Douglas include the stage rendition of his book The Nutmeg Princess; Mama God, Papa God; and the well known production, Playboy of the West Indies. Keens-Douglas has hosted the CBC radio program, Cloud Nine and has also written for radio. Titles include Tell me a Tale, Once Upon an Island and Caribbean Cindy.
Keens-Douglas has received many awards for his work in theater and his literary work. He received a nomination for the Dora Mavor Moore in 1985 for best actor in his personally penned musical The Obeah Man. He won the same award in 2000 for his musical rendition of his first children's book, The Nutmeg Princess. This play was also a finalist in 2000 for the Chalmers Canadian Play Awards. His 1991 play, Once Upon an Island was nominated for a Sterling Award for best touring production.

For his literary work, Keens-Douglas won a Storytelling World Honor Award for La Diablesse and the Baby, his second book for children. He also won the Oak Adult Literacy Book Award for Tales from the Isle of Spice, an award sponsored by the Ontario Library Association.

Bibliography

Tales from the Isle of Spice, Annick Press 2004
Anancy and the Haunted House, Annick Press 2002
The Trial of the Stone, Annick Press 2000
The Miss Meow Pageant, Annick Press 1998
Grandpa's Visit, Annick Press 1996
Freedom Child of the Sea, Annick Press 1995
La Diablesse and the Baby, Annick Press 1994
La Diablesse et le Bebé, Annick Press 1994
The Nutmeg Princess, Annick Press 1992
El misterio de la isla de las especias, Annick Press 1992
Le mystère de l'île aux épices, Annick Press 1992

Audio

An excerpt from the book "Mama God and Papa God" by Ricardo Keens-Douglas (mp3) Listen Read (PDF) Read (HTML)

Honours & Awards

Nominated for Dora Mavor Moore Award for best actor, 1985, for The Obeah Man; Storytelling World Honor Award for tellable stories for ages four through nine, 1995, for La Diablesse and the Baby; Silver Birch Award finalist, 1996, for Freedom Child of the Sea; Gemini Award nomination for best host in an arts program, for Sunday Arts Entertainment.

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Last modified: Wednesday, 18 July 2018