Around the Corner: World Première of Derek Walcott’s “O Starry, Starry Night!”

walcott_rehearsals2Nobel Laureate Professor Derek Walcott has brought together an outstanding international cast for the world premiere of his new play—“O Starry, Starry Night!”—which looks at the turbulent relationship between Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin. The play will  premiere at the Lakeside Theatre at the University due to the close links with its creative team and Essex academics.

The play is set in the South of France and follows Gauguin’s visit to a troubled Van Gogh while he was living in Arles in 1888. London-based actor Martina Laird plays the prostitute Van Gogh and Gauguin fight over. A Trinidadian actor now based in London, Martina was one of the stars of the acclaimed National Theatre production Moon on a Rainbow Shawl and is well known to UK television audiences after appearing as Comfort Jones in Casualty for five years.

She travelled to St Lucia for initial rehearsals with Walcott and the rest of the cast before completing preparations at the Lakeside Theatre at the Colchester Campus this month. She said: “Working with Derek is the pinnacle for any West Indian actor. This experience is challenging and moving for so many reasons both personal and professional.” Paris-based Brian Carter-Green will play Vincent van Gogh. He said: “It is a real joy and a little bit crazy to be asked by such a great playwright to be in the premiere of his new play. It is also quite a responsibility.” Celebrated Trinidadian actor and musician Wendell Manwarren will play Gauguin and renowned Trinidadian actor Nigel Scott will play Theo Van Gogh.

This new play is the latest product of an incredibly creative period for Walcott. In 2011, he won the prestigious T S Eliot prize for his collection of poetry White Egrets. As Professor of Poetry at Essex over the past four years Walcott has developed exceptionally strong creative links with the team at the Lakeside Theatre and academics in the Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies (LiFTS).

On previous visits to Essex Walcott has directed new productions of his plays Moonchild and Pantomime and the idea for the new play first came to him on his last visit to the University of Essex in 2012.

To book tickets contact the Lakeside Theatre on 01206 873261 or visit the website at:

For more announcements, see Essex students work on world premiere of Walcott’s play and see, Original announcement about O Starry, Starry Night

Journalists wanting more information about the production should call 01206 874377 or e-mail:


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