Organized by Guyana Speaks (Rod Westmaas and Juanita Westmaas Cox), “The Art of Oral Storytelling: A conversation with Doris Harper-Wills, Henry Muttoo and Tuup,” will take place on Sunday, April 25, 2021, 9:00am to 12:00pm (AST). Register here. See participant information below. [Many thanks to Peter Jordens for bringing this item to our attention.]
Doris Harper-Wills was born in Guyana where she gained recognition as a performance poet, storyteller and songwriter who choreographed her own scripts. Her first poem was published at the age of nine in ‘Wee Wisdom’, an international magazine produced by Unity School Of Christianity, USA. She has won several awards and prizes for her songs, short stories and performance poetry and has been aptly described as “A brilliant cultural patriot.” Doris’s stories are rooted in the history, legend and lore of the people who came to the Caribbean. Her songs are derived from the oral tradition. She has dramatised her songs and stories for international festivals in Guyana (Carifesta), New York (Lincoln Center & Billie Holiday Theater), London (Trafalgar Square & Covent Garden) and for museum events (Commonwealth Institute, British Natural History and Science Museums) as well as for the BBC radio and various television programmes. School children and students the world over have been given the opportunity to participate with her on television, radio, stage and in parks. Doris Harper-Wills featured in the Black Archives touring exhibition and has been described as “a guiding light focused on teaching the history and culture of the Caribbean diaspora through her art forms.”
Godfrey Duncan aka TUUP (The Unorthodox, Unprecedented Preacher) is an international storyteller, musician, and poet who was born in London to Guyanese parents. TUUP became a professional storyteller in 1981 when he joined forces with Ben Haggarty as part of the West London Storytelling Unit, which went on to become the internationally acclaimed Crick Crack Club, where he still performs today. An epic entertainer, TUUP has travelled the world extensively, captivating audiences across Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas along the way. He has been described as “truly an elder of the storytelling revival in Britain. His style of total improvisation, fabulous capacity for mimicry and ear for a wild story is outstanding.”
Henry Muttoo MBE has been a veteran of Caribbean theatre for 55 years. He trained in his practice at the Theatre Guild of Guyana, the University of the West Indians, Croydon College of Art & Design (UK) as well as Rose Bruford College, UK. His full and varied work career includes his full-time membership of the Guyana Theatre Company, All Ah We. He was Senior Tutor at the Jamaica School of Drama, three-time Artist-in-Residence at the University of South Florida and Artistic Director, Cayman National Cultural Foundation.
He is the recipient of several awards including:
• Cayman Cultural Pioneer
• CNCF Heritage Cross (Gold)
• Order of Cayman
• MBE for outstanding services to Culture and Heritage Development in the Cayman Islands.
• Doctor of Arts (Honouris causa) – University of the Cayman Islands
• Many awards for Design, Directing and acting.
• Lifetime Achievement Award – Theatre Guild of Guyana