Jun 30, 2008 News Comments Off on The show must go on, and it shall…The rebirth of the Theatre Guild
The handing-over ceremony of the fully renovated facility to members of the executive committee was held last Saturday, and was an event filled with memories and reminisces of days long past of the theatre, its actors, its guild and its glory. Notable performances from Frank Pilgrim’s ‘Miriamy’ and Derek Walcott’s ‘Pantomime’ thrilled the audience, while song and dance captivated them.
After falling into a state of disrepair, the Theatre Guild was refurbished, redecorated and reconstructed through contributions made by individuals, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and corporate entities.
With close to $66 million in cash being donated to the project, and $18 million in kind, the project was well supported. Ms Cathy Hughes, member of the Theatre Guild Board of Trustees, said that the rehabilitation of the theatre was a national effort which will greatly assist the performing arts in Guyana.
Consulting Engineer of the Rehabilitation Project, Bert Carter, walked the audience through the process of rehabilitating the building. He explained that it started out as a simple rehabilitation project, but after it was announced that Guyana would host Carifesta X, “we had to go back to the drawing board, and that gave us the opportunity to start some new thinking,” Carter explained. He also noted that, to prevent flooding, the floor was raised, along with the roof, and a ceiling installed.
A slideshow of pictures, showing the building before and during the renovation process, was shown.
Chairman of the Theatre Guild, Russel Lancaster, expressed extreme pleasure and satisfaction at seeing the facility ‘reborn,’ and thanked those who had contributed towards it. He said that the reconstruction of the theatre was, “not about building a building, but about nurturing minds and making people come together to create something that will last beyond us all.”
Lancaster informed that, as an act of appreciation to some of those who contributed significantly towards the Theatre Guild, different parts of the theatre have been named for them. The balcony has been named after Consulting Engineer of the Rehabilitation Project, Bert Carter.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the Theatre Guild Board of Trustees, David de Caires, who is in the United Kingdom, sent a congratulatory message which was read by Ian Mc Donald.
The message reminded of the real contributions made by the Theatre Guild to cultural life in Guyana. De Caires opined that the rehabilitation of the facility should give hope to Guyana and to Guyanese that positive developments can still occur, and that all is not lost.
He lauded the fact that the efforts towards the rehabilitation of the theatre were almost entirely local.
De Caires expressed gratitude for the contributions of the Canada Fund and the Guyanese Government. He also lauded the Board of Trustees, whom he noted pulled their weight throughout the entire process of the rehabilitation.
The Chairman of the Board of Trustees called on Guyanese to maintain and care the facility now that it is fully functional again.
“We need to recreate a quality of theatre that will justify the efforts put into the reconstruction process.”
Retired Major General Joe Singh, who took up the mantle of chairmanship after de Caires left the country, also signalled his appreciation to all the contributors and the Board of Trustees.
Singh expressed the hope that the theatre would be used to inspire creativity and to be a forum for ideas and talent. He also expressed optimism that the performances and training done in the building would play its role in inspiring Guyanese, as well as people from elsewhere.
Prime Minister Samuel Hinds congratulated those involved with the restoration of the project on its success.
He expressed gratitude on behalf of President Bharrat Jagdeo and the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Dr Frank Anthony, who could not be present at the handing-over ceremony.
Tokens of appreciation were presented to three people for their continued and outstanding sacrifices towards the project. Recipients of the tokens were Bert Carter, David de Caries and retired Major General Joe Singh.
The Prime Minister unveiled the Donors’ Plaque that had inscribed on it the names of those organizations and entities that made significant contributions towards the restoration process.
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