Three new, never-before-seen plays will premiere at the Trinidad Theatre Workshop (TTW) this weekend, as part of the New Play Festival 2016. The plays are Miracle, written by Ronald John and directed by Brendon O’Brien; Angels Live in Tunapuna, written by Sonja Dumas and directed by Johnathon Thatcher; and Hell, written by Safa Niamat-Ali and directed by Cydelle Crosby.
The directors, who are relatively new, were assisted by experienced dramaturges Wendell Manwarren, Mervyn de Goeas and Rawle Gibbons respectively, with the further assistance of Michael Cherrie and Raymond Choo Kong. The productions also feature an array of new and up-and coming actors. The Festival is being presented by Playwrights Workshop Trinbago and the TTW, with support from the National Drama Association of T&T (NDATT)
Renowned thespian Tony Hall said he originally came up with the idea when he decided to start working towards building theatre in T&T rather than complaining about what wasn’t there. To this end, he founded the Playwrights Workshop Trinbago in 2003, where playwrights can bring their plays to have them read and commented on by their peers and Hall himself. Hall said “the three plays being presented have gone through a process of re-writing, re-structuring and re-shaping at the Workshop. More than likely, they will be re-written, some in their entirety, after this New Play Festival. Such is the birthing process of play making, of play building, to which the young playwrights, directors and actors are introduced.”
One of the organizers of the Festival, Safa Niamat-Ali, said she’s driven by a passion to do everything she can to help theatre in T&T realize its potential. After attending a 2015 NDATT Stakeholder Consultation, she came to understand that despite having theatre practitioners and educational institutions providing theatre programs, there was no theatre industry in T&T, and the theatre fraternity is fragmented. After hearing Hall speak about the concept of the Festival, Niamat-Ali made the decision to assist in pulling the event together.
The Festival will begin on Friday night at 6 pm, and the plays Hell and Miracle will be performed. On Saturday, Angels Live in Tunapuna, Hell and Miracle will be performed beginning at 3pm, 4:30 pm and 6:30 pm respectively on Sunday, Miracle, Angels Live in Tunapuna and Hell will be performed at 3 pm, 4:45pm and 6 pm respectively. There will be panel discussions following each performance where the opinions of the audience will be solicited. On Monday, the plays Angels Live In Tunapuna and Miracle will be performed and the Festival will come to an end.
For more information and tickets, email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 351-6293 or 388-6238 and find them on Facebook at Trinidad & Tobago New Play Festival. Tickets cost $40 for one play, $60 for two shows and $100 for all three.