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

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

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.

Yvonne Weekes Playwright of the Week

Born in  1965 even as a young child Yvonne Weekes  had the desire to be apart of the theatre.  she is currently an established an actress, writer/director, teacher, and currently the Theatre Arts Coordinator at Barbados Community College. Winner of the Frank Collymore Literary Award in 2004 for her memoir, Volcano, her first play, Blue Soap, was published in 2010. Her most recent work, Broken Dolls, aired on CBC in 2011. Yvonne is currently involved in writing and directing community drama pieces for the AIDS Foundation of Barbados, the Ministry of Health and the Barbados Government Information Service that deal with AIDS awareness, stigmatization and discrimination as well as other chronic non-communicable diseases. [more…]

Yvonne’s appearance at GR11 on Saturday, June 18, bridges the literary and theatrical when she takes to the Folkestone stage with the Barbados Community College theatre group. (Green Readings is a trademark of ArtsEtc.)

For additional information check out Stage Right, Stage Left blog!

David Tulloch “A Helping hand goes along way”

Talented and brilliant, Jamaica observer news recognizes David Tulloch as a writer, composer, director, producer…Tulloch wears many hats in the theatre industry. His vision for Probemaster Entertainment is not only to produce more plays, but to provide an opportunity for newcomers like Bryce, Marlon Brown and Candice Tomlinson Minott to showcase their talent. It’s his way of continuing the cycle of development.

“Someone took a chance on me too so it’s only fair that I give back,” he explained.

Read more: Jamaica Observer