Folk Research Centre reflects on Caribbean cultural stalwarts [Michael Gilkes and Tony Hall]

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[Many thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.] The Msgr. Patrick Anthony Folk Research Centre (FRC) pays tribute to Michael Gilkes and Tony Hall (St. Lucia New Online):

The Msgr. Patrick Anthony Folk Research Centre (FRC) joins the people of the Caribbean, particularly members of the cultural and artistic community, in paying tribute to the lives of two renowned Caribbean artists, Dr Michael Gilkes and Mr. Anthony Hall, who recently passed away.

Dr. Michael Gilkes was a native of Guyana. He lectured at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, University of Guyana and several UK universities. He wrote poetry, drama and literary criticism. He was a scholar of Caribbean literature and specialised in the work of Guyanese novelist Wilson Harris. He was acknowledged as an excellent teacher, as well as a theatre director and actor. He worked for a number of years in Saint Lucia at the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College.

He directed and acted in several of Derek Walcott’s plays, including playing the lead role in a St. Lucian production of Walcott’s “Remembrance” in 1999. In Saint Lucia he also staged his one-man play The Last of the Redmen at the Folk Research Centre, Mount Pleasant. He was a film- maker directing creative work and documentaries. At the time of his death he was working with Amerindians of Guyana on a film. He passed away in England on April 12th from complications related to COVID – 19.

Mr. Anthony Tony Hall, a native of Trinidad and Tobago who recently served as a tutor at the Creative Arts Centre in at the University of the West Indies, Trinidad and was an accomplished writer, actor and director, died at his home in Tobago.

Tony as he was affectionately called, was renowned for his pioneering work in the creation of Caribbean content for television through the Banyan production company. He partnered with Christopher Laird and Bruce Paddington to create the first all-local television station in the Trinidad and the Caribbean, Gayelle TV (available locally on Flow 132). Among the popular programmes were Late Night Lime and Caribbean Eye. With the station he produced several popular soap-opera type programmes and other TV dramas.

Hall was integrally involved in the production of the award-winning television documentary “And the Dish Ran Away With the Spoon” which examined the impact of North American influences on Caribbean culture.

Hall was also an actor and director and a playwright with several award–winning plays to his credit including his well-received Jean and Dinah, a drama featuring the two female figures from the well-known calypso by the Mighty Sparrow.

Another of his plays featured the music of David Rudder. He taught theatre all over the world and developed his ideas of Jouvay Theatre looking to “Mas”, the overall culture of Carnival, for his ideas and theories of a popular kind of theatre in theme and acting style. He died suddenly of a heart attack on Monday April 27th.

Both Gilkes and Hall worked with the FRC through the delivery of cultural studies and media productions. Tony Hall was also a key facilitator in the training and development of popular theatre practitioners in the Eastern Caribbean. They contributed immensely to increasing public consciousness of the values of Caribbean cultural life.

The passing of these two pioneers is a further call to persons domestically and in the diaspora, who have in their possession archival material on St. Lucian and Caribbean culture, to share with the FRC as part of efforts to rebuild its collection. Material or enquiry for arrangements to deposit items can be sent to folkresearchcentrelibrary@gmail.com.

During the reduced social and economic activity in Saint Lucia and the Caribbean, the FRC is continuing to use information and communications technologies in research and documentation of Saint Lucian cultural forms and the promotion of the use of Kwéyòl in communications with the population.

Source: https://www.stlucianewsonline.com/frc-reflects-on-contributions-of-late-caribbean-cultural-stalwarts

[Above: Michael Gilkes 1933-2020 and Tony Hall 1948-2020. Michael Gilkes’s photo is from http://guyanachronicle.com/2020/04/15/guyanese-playwright-michael-gilkes-dies-from-covid-19-complications-2; Tony Hall’s photo is by Pablo Delano; provided by the photographer.]

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