We had the good fortune of connecting with Patrina Randolph and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Patrina, what makes you happy? Why?
Happiness starts from the inside for me.  I’m happiest when I am able to express my art with purposeful intention. When I write, I am able to travel to places deep within myself without fear.  I love who I am and who I was created to be.  The purest form of happiness to me…is being able to do what I love.  Once I started rediscovering my passion for writing and digging into my life’s purpose I became a happier person…more fulfilled.  I attribute that to me seeking God for the answers of who I am and why I’m on the earth.  The more I sought those answers the more truths I came to know about myself and what makes me happy.  I know I was put here on this earth to make a difference.  One way I do that is through using the gift of writing.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
At four or five years old I was bit by the creativity bug.  My mother is creative.   Her knack for taking nothing and turning it into something rubbed off on me.  My days growing up were spent watching her sow, cook, and craft.  I was always close by serving as her apprentice.  Biologically, I was an only child. I had to come up with creative ways to entertain myself.  I started writing and drawing to illustrate stories of me performing on stage in a band.  That creative bug grew throughout my adolescence and early teens.  Recently, I found a letter I wrote, when I was in the eighth grade.  I was talking about becoming a playwright way back then.   However,  I was not fully grounded in what I wanted to do.

Some lasting effects from childhood traumas shifted my direction and I started searching for love and acceptance in the wrong places.  In 1994, I graduated from North Shore Senior High School (on Houston’s east side).  I headed off to Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX attempting a degree in communications.  That was short lived.   The demons I battled at outweighed my determination to succeed, at that time in my life.   I spent more time partying, being a wild flower, and chasing love than I did going to class.  Needless to say, I flunked out and came back to Houston.

Years later, after becoming a wife and a mother, my heart started longing for personal fulfillment outside of those family roles.  After some failed attempts to go back to school, while my children were small, I started volunteering at my church.  While volunteering I began writing plays for special events at the church.  I came alive when I wrote.  It started out as small skits and those bloomed into full length productions.  Eventually, I decided I wanted to pursue it as a business.  So I formed my first production company T-N-T World-Wind Productions.  It was a partnership.  I was writing plays that were performed at a church, but they weren’t your typical church plays.  They were edgy, well written, and they included music with choreographed dance.

Our first two ticketed shows, on Mother’s Day weekend, opened to sold out audiences.  My comedy variety show was an instant hit filled with relatable and hilarious characters.  Unfortunately, shortly after that success, my marriage took a turn for the worst.  It ended in divorce.  I did all I could to fight through the pain and keep creating.  It was difficult and I was distracted.

On the bright side,  before the divorce I started on a weight-loss journey.  I lost 110 pounds and donated a kidney to my father, who was suffering from kidney failure.  Through that experience,  I found  hope.  I stepped out on faith,  wrote, and self-published my first book “From Fat to Fierce”.  I sold over three hundred hard copies from the trunk of my car and through the mail by using social media to self-promote.

That was a victory for me, but financially I was still struggling and looking for a way to truly elevate myself.  I got a second job.  Hustling to work two jobs wasn’t the answer.  I finally made up my mind to go back to school.  Nothing would stop me.  I wanted to be an example for my kids.  They needed to know education is important.

Fierce was becoming more than just a book; it was becoming my way of life.  After years of not finishing what I started, I became determined to accomplish anything I set my mind to.   My new way of life and tenacity to pursue theatre production, led me to dissolve my partnership at the end of 2016.  I also started school at Lone Star Community College in the Spring of 2015 to pursue my Associates in Fine Arts.

In December 2016, I launched a new company, The Fierce Arts and Entertainment Group with the purpose of creating high quality original urban stage plays/musicals that entertain, enlighten and inspire. From December 2016 through November 2017,  I was able to self fund and produce eight sold out shows ranging from musical dramas to comedies.  For one of the musicals, I had to replace a lead within two weeks of opening.  That’s why collaborating with great people is so important.   My dear friend, Donna Stewart, who was directing the show, found a replacement (Houston based Actress/Singer Towana Charles).  The show went on like it must and it sold out!

While at Lone Star,  I met a theatre professor, James Horban.   He taught me so many priceless things about the technical aspect of my craft in a short amount of time.  He also wrote my letter of recommendation to transfer to the University of Houston School of Theatre and Dance.  I graduated from Lone Star Community College in May of 2018 and moved on to my pursuits at the U of H in August of 2018.   I took a hiatus from self-producing to focus on school.

Currently, I am completing my BFA in Theatre with a focus on playwriting/dramaturgy.  I’ll graduate with honors in May.  During my time at U of H (Central Campus), I have been blessed to experience exponential growth.  I was most recently honored with the Edward Albee Playwriting Award, which is funded by playwright Theresa Rebeck.

From my start there in the Fall of 2018, all four of my play submissions were accepted for production, including my full length play “The Carrier” which is available on my YouTube channel.  My final U of H submission, “Secret Cousins”, will be produced in the Spring 2021 ten minute play festival.  Not only have I written and been produced through the school, I have also acted, as well as, served as a dramaturg on multiple plays.  One of my favorites, a new work, “Old Black and White Hollywood” by ShaWanna Goffney.

My time in this program has been saturated with opportunities to learn, grow, and network. I’ll forever be grateful for that.  When I had my interview with the programs director, Dr. Robert Shimko, I knew I had found a home.  I look forward to being a continued beacon for diversity and a voice for marginalized people at UH. I’m  preparing to submit my portfolio to the Master’s program in Theatre Education and Arts Leadership.

As I move out into the theatre world, I declare to be the “Queen of Urban Theatre”.   The Fierce Arts and Entertainment Group will be a household name in Houston first and then around our nation.   We bring something fresh to the table.  Coupling my years of experience and education will allow me to advance the stories of people who look like me.  Representation is important and it is my aim to represent in excellence.  We will tell well developed stories with an urban style and broadway excellence by collaborating with professionals who want to have a positive impact on the urban culture.  I am ready to conquer the challenges ahead. Stay on the lookout for TFAEG.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?

Houston’s heritage is rich with many spiritual, mental, and recreational offerings.   Friday night we might hit the Improv and catch a headliner.  Maybe we could swing by “The Corner Lounge” in Humble.  It’s small, drama-free, and the DJ spins some ole’ school music.

Saturday morning we would mosey on down to the Third Ward.  It is full of all kinds of wonderful surprises from great comfort foods to unique small business boutiques.  One of my favorite places is the Reggae Bodega on Almeda Rd.  They have natural body essentials, supplements, clothes, and unique jewelry.  The owner is so welcoming.  Next, we’d grab a bite at the Breakfast Klub and afterwards walk it off in the nearby Hermann Park (I love the Japanese Garden.) We could also go kick it on the hill and catch a free play or musical performance at Miller Outdoor Theatre.  There’s nothing like that hill on a starry Texas night.  If they are game to do a little people watching and lounge hopping we could go back to Almeda Road.   There are a number of spots that have live music and great DJs.  If we were looking for a late night snack, BB’s on Montrose would hit the spot.

I’m from the east side of Houston. I was raised in church and I’m grounded in my spirituality.  On Sunday morning, I would take my friend to my church, Praise Christian Center World Outreach.  We’d  get a taste of some spiritual food.  Church is over before 11:30 am and brunch would be on my mind.  Phil and Derek’s in midtown is a cool spot.   The day could end there or we could cruise over to Dixie Road and check out the biker sports bar scene at Dreams.  They sell the best fish out back.   There are always people cheering on their favorite teams and the DJ is cool.  It’s just like Houston laid back and high energy at the same time.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My biggest shoutout goes to God.  Spiritual awareness has helped me navigate through some really dark places. My family is next on my list.  They inspire, encourage, provoke, motivate, and support me through it all.  When I shared my dreams with them they got out the way so I could pursue them.  My parents and my children have been my biggest rocks.  My close circle of friends are so supportive.  They never miss a play and I am forever grateful for that.  I have had lots of support through the years from my family, friends, and community.

Mentorship is also important on this journey.  I have some awesome mentors both near and far.  One mentor in particular, Helen Callier, spoke some simple yet powerful words to me “step your game up”.  Those words motivated me to get my butt back in school and set me on this path.  A simple book that changed the trajectory of my life was “The Dream Giver” by Bruce Wilkinson.  It was a recommended read from our women’s group at church.  That book ignited my hunger to seek my life’s purpose.  My church and church family at Praise Christian Center World Outreach helped me step outside my box and relentlessly pursue my dreams.  Literally, I don’t know where I would be without the lessons I’ve learned there and the love I’ve received.

Website: www.thefierceartsgroup.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/fierce_arts_group/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/patrina-randolph-09a88a129/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/FIERCEMZANN

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Patrina.T.Randolph/

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWodzP5qt1uKTwFH_MfKZ4g

Other: https://www.facebook.com/fierceartsandentertainmentgroup https://www.facebook.com/ThrowingDownwithTrina

Image Credits
Photography:Elroy McDaniel Makeup: Elroy McDaniel Lip Color:Tracy Faultry/ XOXOTracy Hair/Locs: Brandon Polson and Mijahza

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