Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : May 27th 2015 Contents B5
Wednesday, May 27, 2015 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
The Trinidad Theatre Workshop
(TTW) is more than half a century
old, and has produced theatre classics
like Dream on Monkey Mountain and
Joker of Seville that captivated past
generations of lovers of theatre in the
Caribbean. Yet despite its rich cultural
pedigree---it was founded in 1959 by
St Lucian poet/playwright Derek Wal-
cott, his twin brother Roderick Wal-
cott, along with performers including
Beryl McBurnie, Errol Jones, and
Stanley Marshall---the TTW remains,
up to this day, homeless.
In an effort to finally, like Mr Biswas,
obtain a home of their own, the TTW
is launching a crowdfunding campaign
at a private gala function this Saturday
evening at the TTW venue in Belmont.
Artistic associate and drama instruc-
tor Timmia Hearn recalled some of the
theatre s roving history in a telephone
interview with the T&T Guardian on
"We ve been a homeless entity since
1959," she said. "We started at the little
Carib Theatre, but had to move. Then
we were in the Basement Theatre for
a while. Then in the late 80s to early
90s, we applied to the Government for
use of one of their free buildings: the
Old Fire Station. And we were there
for almost 20 years."
Then, she recalled, around 1999,
officials decided they wanted another
kind of partner for the library, and the
TTW once again had to move.
"We then went on Rust Street, and
various other places for a few years...
then in 2004, we got the chance to
lease the Belmont building where we
are located now.
"It was just a house in Belmont,
which used to belong to the Gomes
family. We built the back courtyard of
the house into a theatre. With the help
of sponsors including BP and the Min-
istry of Community Development, we
were able to build the theatre and air-
condition it," said Hearn.
But she emphasised that they only
occupy the Jerningham Avenue, Bel-
mont building on a lease basis. This
means the TTW cannot do any long
term infrastructural development.
Recently, however, the owner of the
property has offered to sell the house
to the TTW.
"In order to seize this opportunity,
and continue our journey stronger than
ever before, we are launching a crowd-
funding campaign titled Trinidad The-
atre Workshop: The Journey Continues,"
"Crowdfunding has made tons of
independent films possible, but there
haven t been many crowdsourcing proj-
ects here. Not because it won t work,
it just hasn t been done much," com-
mented Hearn. Crowdfunding is the
practice of funding a project or venture
by raising monetary contributions from
a large number of people, typically via
the internet. In 2013, according to Daniel
Broderick, an HSBC contributor writing
for www.forbes.com, the crowdfunding
industry grew to be worth over US$5.1
"Internationally, the TTW has friends
who are working in many places,
including Broadway and the West End.
We partnered with a Norwegian theatre
company for a while. There are probably
as many T&T people living abroad as
those who live here," reflected Hearn.
This means many people have either
been part of the TTW or have been
touched by its work, so the company
feels the time is right to reach out to
these friends now.
"We re still struggling to pay rent
every month," reminded Hearn.
The crowdsourcing idea is not just
about raising money, but also about
raising awareness of the TTW s work,
Funds will help fund a permanent
home as well as help fund the TTW s
programmes, including good quality
theatre productions---the kind that once
earned the company the praise of
Jamaican scholar and choreographer
Sir Rex Nettleford, who once called it
"the flagship of the theatre movement
in the Caribbean."
...launches crowdfunding campaign
The Trinidad Theatre
Workshop at 23 Jerningham
Timmia Hearn Feldman
Tomorrowland takes top spot
at box office --- Page A37
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