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10 February 2011

EMANCIPATION MOMENTS

New Regional Collection of Plays by UWI Open Campus commemorates

‘Emancipation Moments’ the latest collection of plays by the UWI Open Campus will be launched at 6.30pm on Monday February 21, 2011 at National Library of Trinidad and Tobago in Port of Spain. The launch of the anthology compiled and edited by Mr. Rawle Gibbons, will feature live performances from the Eintou Pearl Springer plays in the collection. Noted playwright and director Lester Efebo Wilkinson will deliver the keynote address.

A distinctive feature of the volume is that the plays are all written by women: Jamaica’s Barbara Gloudon, Trinidad and Tobago’s Eintou Pearl Springer and Yvonne Weekes of Montserrat/Barbados.

Rawle Gibbons notes that “these women are display a certitude of identity that, in my view, marks their work as clearly post-1970, as well as, a readiness to take creative risks. Further, the plays have benefitted from the process of being produced and performed for audiences, before being re-scripted to the stage that we now present them. This process has ensured that each script is stage-worthy. This means that students of Caribbean drama at secondary (CXC) and tertiary levels as well as community groups, have ready historical material for performance, production and study”.

With this anthology, UWI’s Open Campus resumes one strand of the critical service it once provided to the development of drama and theatre in the region. In the 1950’s Errol Hill, then Extra-Mural Tutor in Drama, undertook a pioneering task of making the work of the regions’ still emergent playwrights available through publication. That body of plays sustained productions at school and community levels up to the present. The current series, ‘Contemporary Caribbean Drama’, advances the same mission to encourage, develop and produce writing for the theatre. The theme of this first volume ’Emancipation Moments’ was selected as three of the plays were written in 2007 to commemorate the Bicentennial of the Abolition of the Trade in Enslaved Africans.

This volume was first launched last October in Barbados at the Caribbean Arts Education Festival. It is fitting however, that a project which began for the writers to mark Abolition should be launched early in the United Nations Year for People of African Descent.

Members of the public are invited to come and share in the launch of this substantial and timely collection of works.

UN Year for People of African Descent


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