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Former soccer star turned theater standout earns Gamm Theater Fellowship for 2022–23

EDDYSeptember 19, 2022 

Warwick, RI – Community College of Rhode Island Class of 2022 graduate and Pawtucket, RI, native Ednilson “Eddy” Tavares is one of three theater students joining the 2022–23 Sandra Feinstein-Gamm Theater’s Gamm Fellowship Program, created to provide on-the-job training and educational opportunities for emerging artists of color.

The Gamm Fellowship is a paid, 10-month program in which fellows work alongside theater professionals engage in all areas of creative, administrative, and educational theater-making. Each fellow is also paired with an advanced career mentor, who will provide guidance on how to succeed in the theater industry.

“I’m excited for this opportunity and thankful for all the help CCRI’s Theater Department has given me,” Tavares said. “From the guidance to the script work, they were tremendous. I don’t know where I would be if I didn’t come to CCRI.”

Tavares, 21, attended Shea High School for three years before transferring to the Jacqueline Walsh School for the Arts as a senior to begin focusing on theater. He also interned at The Gamm as part of the theater’s Gamm Summer Intensive (GSI) program, a summer session for young actors to sharpen their skills, which gave him his first opportunity to perform in front of a live audience.

Theater, however, was still a hobby for Tavares when he enrolled at CCRI. He dreamt of playing professional soccer, but the COVID-19 pandemic canceled CCRI’s 2020 season, so, at the behest of the college’s Theater Program Director Ted Clement (who later nominated him for the Gamm Fellowship), joined CCRI’s student-run theater group, The Players. Tavares rediscovered his passion as a performer, starring in Detroit ’67, I And You, Water by the Spoonful, Three Years From Thirty, and Othello.

Within the past year, he was a semifinalist for the Region 1 Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship, performed in the staged reading of the National Playwriting Program’s award-winning play Closing Costs on 6101 Nyanza Park Drive APT D6 Flushing, NY 11351, and played his first and only season for CCRI’s soccer team as the starting goalkeeper.

Tavares credits his limited time on the field with keeping him disciplined, which, he says, “I bring with me to theater.” During the Players’ production of I And You in October, Tavares stopped eight shots in the soccer team’s 5-1 win over Bristol Community College on a Saturday and then four nights later hit the stage for the show’s premiere. As pressure mounted from both sides, Tavares decided to pursue Theater as a career and graduated from CCRI last spring with an Associate Degree in General Studies and a Theater/Acting concentration.

“Once I started taking theater more seriously, I noticed a lot of opportunities were coming to me more naturally,” Tavares said. “I thought to myself, ‘Why would I love it as a hobby instead of making it a career path?’ I started to do my research, read books, read plays, and just began studying different methods.”

Tavares will be mentored during his fellowship by Sophia Blum, a stage and film actress, teaching artist for both The Gamm and Moses Brown School, and independent monologue coach.

“I’m looking forward to helping in any way I can and absorbing as much information as possible,” Tavares said. “I want to study script analysis, specifically how to dissect a script and approach my dialogue in a certain way. There’s no better place to learn than The Gamm.”

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