Derek Walcott Response on Custos

The poem “The Star-Apple Kingdom” starts with this pastoral painting. How do you get from that to the Caribbean? From paint to words. Is that a fair transition? Are you asking too much of your readers that way? First of all tell me about custos.

Derek Walcott replied saying “custos is an example of the things that happen in language in the Caribbean. A custos is a custodian. A Latin custos—custodoes meaning a god. It’s an old Jamaican word which may still be used for someone in charge of a parish, appointed by the government, I think. The custos of a parish is the guard. Continue reading

Stanley French Playwright of the Week

Stanley French, one of the Caribbean’s leading playwrights has died.  Born in 1937 in Castries, Saint Lucia, he attended the Methodist Primary School and St. Mary’s College, following which he moved to London where he completed the Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering at the University of London in 1962.

In London, during the 1960’s, he was exposed to international literature, theatre and cinema, both modern and traditional. London was then a Caribbean intellectual hub nurturing writers and students grappling with issues of Caribbean self-determination and development. The city was a vibrant centre with many professional and “fringe” theatres, cinemas, bookshops and associated facilities.

French’s attraction to theatre began after he saw a St. Lucia Arts Guild performance of Derek Walcott’s play, The Sea at Dauphin at his alma mater the Methodist Primary School in the mid-1950s. It was directed by Roderick Walcott and determined his lifelong interest in grappling with the craft of playwriting.  London gave him opportunities to see performances by some of the world’s leading theatre companies. He developed a particular admiration for the work of the ancient Greek writers of tragedy, Sophocles, Aeschylus and Euripides. Continue reading

Kendel Hippolyte Accomplishments Across the Carribbean

Kendel Hippolyte has participated in poetry workshops by Derek Walcott famous playwright and poet. Both playwrights has been featured on MA’s Playhouse blog honoring their contribution to the Caribbean and Caribbean american society. He has himself designed and taught poetry workshops in various places such as Ty Newydd in Wales and the UWI Caribbean Writers Summer Workshop in Barbados. He has performed his work in the Caribbean, Europe and America at events such as the Miami International Book Fair, the Medellin Poetry Festival, Calabash Literary Festival, Vibrations Caraibes, the Havana Book Fair among others. In 2007, he won the Bridget Jones Travel Award to travel to England to present his one-man dramatized poetry production, Kinky Blues, at the annual conference of the Society for Caribbean Studies.

He has also established himself as an innovative playwright and director, authoring eight plays, and directing scores of others, including his own The Drum-Maker (1976), The Song of One (1995) and Triptych (2000), all of which have been published in drama anthologies. In 1984, he co-founded the Lighthouse Theatre Company in St. Lucia, and has long been involved in all aspects of the dramatic arts on the island. He has toured with theatre productions in the Caribbean and the UK. Continue reading

Kendel Hippolyte Playwright of the Week

Kendel Hippolyte is a St. Lucian poet, playwright, and director. Recently retired from academic work, his present focus is to use his skills as a writer and dramatist to raise public awareness and contribute to active solutions of critical social issues. As a poet, his writing ranges across the continuum of language from Standard English to the varieties of Caribbean English, and he has also written poems in Kweyol, his nation language.

He has published five books of poetry and authored eight plays. In 2000, he was awarded the St. Lucia Medal of Merit (Gold) for Contribution to the Arts. His most recent book, Fault Lines, was the winner   of the 2013 OCM Bocas Prize for Poetry.

Sourced at Saint Lucia Press Release.

Edgar White Playwright of the week

EDGAR NKOSI WHITEBy Dr Alda TerraccianoEdgar Nkosi White was born in the Caribbean island of Montserrat on 4 April 1947 and brought to the United States in 1952, living in Spanish/English speaking Harlem, New York. He was educated at Yale University and New York Theological Seminary where he respectively completed his studies in Drama and Theology. At the age of eighteen his first play, The Mummer’s Play (1965) was produced by Joseph Papp Public Theatre in New York.

According to the publication the success of this production, which revealed his talent as a playwright, convinced the producer to stage his next four plays, including The Crucificado a drama set within the Hispanic community in Harlem, New York.Disillusioned with the Church, Edgar White’s interest in the relationship between man and God began to be increasingly transferred in his writings. Continue reading

Barbara Gloudon Playwright of the Week

Jamaican born Barbara Gloudon is a journalist, playwright, writer, and the first female chair of the Jamaican Council Institute for the Arts. Gloudon has worked extensively with Jamaica’s Little Movement Theatre Company (LTM) has written an extensive number of pantomimes for them. Her pantomime The Pirate Princess first staged in Jamaica in 1981 was later produced by Temba Theatre Company for the 1986 Black Theatre Season.


Production Date Theatre
Anansi Come Back 1995 Hackney Empire Theatre
The Pirate Princess 1986 Arts Theatre

Sourced at National Theatre Plays Archive.

Godfrey Thomas Playwright of The Week

Son of Thomas Godfrey (1704–1749), a Philadelphia glazier and member of Benjamin Franklin’s Junto Club, Godfrey produced some significant work in his short life.
Well known in literary circles in Philadelphia, he was a close friend of the poet Nathaniel Evans and the college provost William Smith. In 1758 he left Philadelphia for Wilmington, North Carolina, to enter business.
Continue reading

Derek Walcott Poetry: A Far Cry from Africa

 A Far Cry From Africa

By Derek Walcott, Nobel Literature Laureate, Saint Lucia, West Indies.

A wind is ruffling the tawny pelt
Of Africa, Kikuyu, quick as flies,
Batten upon the bloodstreams of the veldt.
Corpses are scattered through a paradise.
Only the worm, colonel of carrion, cries:
’Waste no compassion on these separate dead!’
Statistics justify and scholars seize
The salients of colonial policy.
What is that to the white child hacked in bed?
To savages, expendable as Jews? Continue reading

The Birth of The Alfred Fagon Award

The circumstances  concerning Alfred Fagon’s death was quite contestable since most people wasn’t quite sure based on the information posted online regarding his death, required some further explanation. On the 29th August 1986  Alfred Fagon experienced a fatal heart attack while jogging home.

The police at the time proclaimed that they  were not able to locate any identifiable documents on him, as a result he was given a pauper’s funeral. When he did not turn up for a meeting at the BBC they contacted his agent Harriet Cruickshank who eventually discovered what had happened to him. Alfred Fagon’s friends and family decided to set up an award in his name, to celebrate and recognize writers of Caribbean and African descent. Continue reading

Alfred Fagon Playwright of the Week

The playwright and actor Alfred Fagon was born in 1937 on the Caribbean island of Jamaica. He came to Britain, and spent some years in Bristol. Sadly, Fagon died of a heart attack aged only 49 in 1986. He was in the prime of his career, having written and acted for the theatre, radio and television. Fagon wrote the plays, 11 Josephine House, The Death of a Blackman, Four Hundred Pounds, Lonely Cowboy. One play Shakespeare Country was produced by BBC2.

There is now a bronze statue to Fagon’s memory, sculpted by David G. Mutasa and commissioned by the Friends of Fagon Committee. It stands on the green at the junction of Ashley Road and Grosvenor Road in the St Pauls area of Bristol. [more…]There is also an Alfred Fagon Award, funded by the Peggy Ramsay Foundation, set up in his honour. Applications are invited by writers from the Caribbean or with Caribbean antecedents for the best new play (which need not have been produced) for the theatre in English. The first Alfred Fagon Award was presented in 1997 and is given annually. Previous winners have been: Roy Williams, Shenagh Cameron, Sheila White, Grant Buchanan-Marshall, Adeshegun Ikoli, Linda Brogan and Penny Marshall.

Bristol Black Writers Group, based at Kuumba Project, in St Pauls, is a group for black writers in the Bristol area. The group publishes a monthly newsletter and holds performance groups and workshops. Members from the group, such as Bertel Martin and Edson Burton perform in various venues around Bristol.

Playwright of the week sourced from Bristol Black Writers Group.