18 April 2011

Essex to host UK premiere of new play by Derek Walcott

Painting by Derek Walcott

The sights and sounds of the Caribbean will fill the Lakeside Theatre at the University of Essex on Saturday April 30 when it hosts the UK premiere of a new work by Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott.

The 2010 T S Eliot Prize winner is visiting Essex as part of his role as Professor of Poetry and will be leading an international cast including actors Wendell Manwarren, Dean Atta and Lesley-Ann Wells to perform a reading of Moon-Child (Ti-Jean in Concert).

The play revisits Professor Walcott’s 1958 play Ti-Jean and His Brothers, first presented at the Little Carib Theatre in Port of Spain, Trinidad. The performance will feature a sound-score by composer Ronald Hinkson and projected images of artwork by Derek Walcott, an accomplished water-colourist and oil painter, and by his artist son Peter Walcott.

Dr Maria Cristina Fumagalli, from the Department of Literature, Film and Theatre Studies at Essex, said: “This is a thrilling, exciting and thought provoking performance and I am so pleased that Professor Walcott has agreed to perform this UK premiere at Essex. It will be a unique experience for everyone who is able to see the show.”

Lakeside Theatre director Pasco Kevlin said: ““Having Derek work with us here at the Lakeside is always a thrill, but to be premiering a brand new work here in the UK is a genuine privilege."

Written in rhymed verse Moon-Child tells the story of three brothers who leave home to seek their fortune. However, in this case it is the idea of home itself that is threatened, as the natural paradise of the island of St. Lucia, once blighted by colonialism and its legacy, is threatened by “a second slavery” in the form of real estate land-grabs for touristic exploitation.

Walcott’s deep love of the natural features of his native island is woven in with Caribbean myth and ritual to make a verse drama of visionary intensity.

Moon-Child will be performed at the Lakeside Theatre at the University of Essex, Colchester Campus on Saturday 30 April at 6pm.

To book tickets email: pennyw@essex.ac.uk or call 01206 872806

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For more information contact the University of Essex Communications Office on 01206 874377.

Additional information:

Derek Walcott was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992 and in January received the T S Eliot Prize for his most recent collection White Egrets.

He was appointed Professor of Poetry at the University of Essex in 2009 and as part of this role he delivers a series of master classes for students each year.

The University of Essex has a strong tradition of research and teaching in creative writing as well as in the literature of the Caribbean. The Arts and Humanities Research Council funded American Tropics project is based in the Department of Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies. The interdisciplinary Centre for Latin American and Caribbean Studies is also based at the University of Essex.

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