Group Title: CARIFESTA Newspaper Clippings
Title: No suitable centre for performing arts
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 Material Information
Title: No suitable centre for performing arts
Series Title: CARIFESTA Newspaper Clippings
Physical Description: Book
Publisher: Sunday Graphic
Publication Date: 9/17/1972
Subject: Carifesta (1st : 1972 : Guyana), Festivals - Caribbean Area
Caribbean   ( lcsh )
Spatial Coverage: South America -- Guyana -- Georgetown
Funding: Support for the development of the technical infrastructure and partner training provided by the United States Department of Education TICFIA program.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: CA00199618
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat
Holding Location: Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: CARIFESTA I 1972

Full Text

No suitable centre

for performing arts

IF THE LARGER independent Common-
.-wealth Caribbean countries had come
together to select a site for CARIFESTA,
CGuyana would hardly have been chosen in
:front of either Jamaica or Trinidad and
The fact that we did host CARIFESTA
-with a creditable amount of success, is a
i tribute partly to our determination that the
-'how must go on regardless, and partly to
..the uncritical, easy-to-please nature of the
audiences, mostly our own Guyanese
Let's take an objective look at the
--situation. Georgetown, which has been the
venue for all but a handful of the perform-
ances and exhibitions, does not possess a
,.single centre built for and capable of
':'handling with competence, the performing
'arts which formed such a large part of the
CARIFESTA programme.

The Cultural Centre, which may turn
-out to be the first appropriate building of
,.this type, had to be used in an unfinished
'tate, and as a result, the acoustics were
'iad; the posts down the middle supporting
4the temporary tent-roof blocked the vision
-of many spectators, and the metal chairs on
1"a concrete floor provided an unending
Source of noise disturbance.
The Queen's College auditorium, with
,.its flat seating area, produces a visibility
problem for the bulk of the audience-ala
thosee who have to sit behind, say the first
!dozen or so rows.
S If your budget forces you into the
:.-ollar seats, way down at the back, all you
a-can see are the heads of the performers,
;"-nd the sound from amplifiers set, about
~half-way down the hall, comes out in an
i-unintelligible boom, most of. the time. So
-'-tt the back of the bus, you lose heavily on
'^both sight and sound.
':, The auditorium at St. Rose's High
. School, though smaller, is better suited to
Stage shows because of its sloping floor.
-7But here again, the dollar ticket holder is
'"Jn for horrors.

He is placed on the north and south
wings, and separating these wings from
the main auditorium are two rows of about
six posts each. And no matter how he
twists and squirms around, the dollar,
viewer finds that there is always a post
directly between him and that part of the
Stage, where the action is.
The Theatre Guild is perhaps the best

appointed performing arts centre, in the
city, but it is so small that at its side-
splitting best, it can only take 250 people.
And no wonder. It was never originally
built as a theatre. In fact, it started life as a
gymnasium, for the United Kingdom
soldiers, who came here after the 1953
political crisis.
When they left, the building, because
it was empty and available, was pressed
grudgingly into service as a theatre, and
its unsuitability and limitations are glaringly

Part of the top floor of the Public Free
Library was used for poetry reading
sessions, and again, the unsuitability of the
place caused several interruptions. The
blare of traffic from one of the city's
busiest intersections; the rattling of Vene-
tian blinds in the wind and the repeated
clanking noise of library repair staff at
work, all made the readings a difficult
undertaking for bofh the reader and the
listener, especially if the latter is not within
spitting distance of the former.
To add to these general discomforts,
these buildings are not air-conditioned. As
a result, when they are filled to capacity,
as they nearly always were, during the
CARIFESTA shows, they were extremely
hot, even on cool, windy nights. The
Theatre Guild and St. Rose's were particu-
larly distressing in this respect.
Because of these limitations, in proper
facilities, I thought the CARIFESTA planners
would have made use of a few of the
cinemas, in the city, for some of the more
elaborate shows. The Seymour-Pilgrim
oratorio "LEGEND OF KAIETEUR" and some
of the national productions, I felt, could
have been more adequately produced In a

Perhaps the cost of renting a cinema
was too great, to add to the already whop-
ping bill, the staging of CARIFESTA must
present to the Guyana taxpayer, who is
always the ultimate burden-bearer. Perhaps,
the decision not to use a cinema was due
to less obvious technical faults, such as re-
stricted stage space, and, in many cases,
inadequate backstage facilities for the
Whatever the cause, CARIFESTA has
taught us many lessons, one of which is
that we need a few well-appointed cultural
centres, if the performing arts are to thrive
in this country.

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