No annual theatre awards presentation this year

Guyana Chronicle
May 11, 2001

THE Theatre Arts Awards (TAA) panel has decided not to hold its annual awards presentation this year. In a release, TAA said that means the projected "Best of 2000" programme will not take place.

The TAA panel was founded in 1989 and consists of about a dozen to 15 individuals experienced or interested in various aspects of theatrical performance.

The first award ceremony, "The Best of '89", took place at the National Cultural Centre in 1990. Since that date, the awards have continued to be presented annually, and seem to have gained the acceptance and respect of the theatre-going public, and more significantly, of the performers involved.

TAA, however, said in recent years there has been a general decline in both the number and standard of productions presented at the National Cultural Centre.

"There are probably many reasons for this decline, and one hopes that those concerned with the health of the performing arts in Guyana are urgently seeking the appropriate solutions for the problems that may have arisen.

"But there are certain areas of operation, which impact directly on a production, and these can affect the quality of the performance," the TAA said.

The body said it is "aware of the state of tension" between the administration of the National Cultural Centre and many producers, based apparently on increasing costs in questionable areas and insufficient rehearsal time with technical staff.

"We hear that new lighting and sound systems (paid for by the Guyana Lottery Company) are to be installed in the near future. Let us hope that the producers will be encouraged to experiment with them and use them constructively," TAA said.

It added that one of the "most depressing aspects" of trying to assess the "Best of 2000" was that all the projected awards for drama, none of which was of high standard, came from one play, the writing and technique of which needed much revision. "It was this factor, which led to the sad, but we feel the only correct, decision, to cancel this year's presentation of awards," TAA said.

The body noted there are indications that the situation is improving, and the panel hopes that the coming months will show an improvement in relationships and cooperation that will lead to the resurgence in the performing arts which this country so sorely needs.