New Play Festival

the-director-cast-crew-and-playwright-of-hell-discuss-the-playThree 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, 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.

New Soca

Two soca songs created a bit of buzz this week. The first being from novelty act Uncle Ellis. Uncle Ellis shot to spotlight earlier this year for his now trademark dance, originally performed outside KFC Independence Square by a music cart.

Well he’s capitalising on his notoriety, and has released a song for Carnival 2017. It’s getting some early Jouvert hype. Not sure if that assessment is genuine or if they are pappyshowing the man. Time will tell.

The second has been out for a bit, but the video dropped this week. It was filmed during Chinatown (a fete). I want to like the video, the look of it is of the highest quality, but the video has no story. Before you tell me that it’s a fete video, so it can’t have a story, let me point you to Machel Montano’s The Fog. That director used his shots better, and took enough to create the narrative of a bess fete, that is overly joyous. He was able to single out several story lines: the lovers; the friends; the performers on the stage, including the artist who is almost incidental to the party. It’s a winning production.

Tribute to Mas Master Stephen Derek

I attended the Mastering by the Mentors Awards Ceremony on Monday. I posted during the event, you can read that entry here.

I was really touched by the tributes that came pouring out for Stephen Derek. You got the sense, that far above his talent, he was a kind and decent man, and the most loving father, whose children miss him terribly.

It was touching, and inspirational. May he rest in peace.

COCO Dance Festival

The Contemporary Choreographers’ Collective or COCO is hosting their annual Dance Festival.

I’m really excited to see them add a video element. Founding member of COCO Sonia Dumas, has become quite the filmmaker of late. Fresh off her win at #TTFF16 for a film development prize, this addition of film to COCO Dance Fest is a lovely surprise. Dumas has already produced a film on local dances pioneers called Julia and Joyce.


The COCO Video Festival will offer screenings and workshops at The Little Carib Theatre. See the flyer above for details.


First, that’s my friend Elisha Bartels in the above image. She’s a bess dancer, and frighteningly brilliant, so conversations with her are always edifying.

I’m most excited to see the dance productions at COCO fest. I have pleasant memories of Dave Williams, another founding member of COCO, and his inventive shows at the Carib.


Calypso on Nelson Island


In commemoration of Calypso History Month, the National Trust will host its 2nd Vintage Calypso On Nelson Island on Saturday 22nd October 2016, with Lord Superior and a full cast accompanied by the Reflection Band.  

 This year we will have the pleasure of hearing Bro. Valentino, Bro. Mudada, Twiggy, Abebele along with the iconic Lord Superior.  We can look forward to an exciting evening of nostalgia with calypsos from the 50’s through the 70’s.


·         Place:  Nelson Island Heritage Site

·         Date: Saturday 22nd October 2016

·         Time: 3.00 p.m. to 6.00 p.m.

·         Transportation:  Water Taxi Service

·         Cost: Members : $200, Seniors: $225, Non-Members: $250 and Juniors $150

·Tickets are available at: National Trust Office, 68 – 70 Sackville Street and Water Taxi Terminals, San Fernando and Port of Spain.

 The Water Taxi will depart from the San Fernando Water Taxi Terminal at 1.30 p.m. and from the Port of Spain Water Taxi Terminal at 2.30 p.m. 

 Come out and support our iconic calypsonians, take the opportunity to learn about the Nelson Island Heritage Site and the Five Islands and enjoy a relaxing evening of old time calypsos.

 For further information and to confirm a booking for tickets, please contact the office of the National Trust at 225 – 4750 or 277 – 6105 or by return e-mail.

Jamaican Film Industry Needs Help

A report by Shereita Grizzle for Jamaica’s Gleaner. Jamaican actress, director and producer, Sherando Cupid-Ferril, has her sights set on helping to move Jamaica’s film industry to a place where it can actively compete on the international market. Speaking with The Sunday Gleaner, in a recent interview, the popular personality explained that the country’s industry has […]

via Sherando Ferril Seeks To Help Local Film Industry — Repeating Islands