Lotus Theatre launched in south Trinidad
Photo : Members of The National Lotus Theatre.
Individuals, driven with a passion to see drama flourish in Trinidad and Tobago, assembled at the Corinth Mandir, San Fernando on Thursday May 10, 2018, to bring to fruition Lotus Theatre.
Leading the theme of drama enthusiasts was Seeta Persad. Seeta has been involved in drama for more than three decades. Her plays have been staged at packed venues throughout the country. She is also a proud recipient of a national award from the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago for her outstanding contribution to Journalism and the Arts.
Seeta emphasised the need for local stories, “not necessarily with a religious theme but contemporary. It is the kind of story Bollywood is looking for,” she said.
Also present at the meeting was Shami Maharaj. “Lotus Theatre is a vehicle to give expression to the talents of our youths,” said Shami Maharaj, an Electrical and Instrumentation Engineer with Petrotrin/Trinmar. Shami who lives in Vistabella also runs a Kelari and Kung Fu school. “I am keen in bringing a management side to drama. I have training in that field and feel that I can make a significant contribution,” he said.
“Indian artistes and their artistic expressions are not being recognised in NGC Bocas Lit Festival. We need to develop Lotus Theatre to train our kids to create our local Bollywood-style productions,” said Shami.
Photo : A scene from the drama production Shantagrant.
Kenrick Basdeo, a resident of St Mary’s Village, Moruga, was also present. He is a videographer, song writer and musician. Kenrick shared a draft of a video on a song composed and sung by Micheal Salikram on the Indians crossing the Kala Pani. “I plan to develop many such videos with contemporary themes and local music,” he said.
“The National Lotus Theatre is opened to all citizens,” said Shami who was unanimously declared President of a Steering Committee.” Some objectives of Lotus Theatre are to develop, promote and teach drama and drama production, to host drama festivals and work with other individuals and groups engaged in drama.
Members present were unanimous that the current drama groups are not opened and embracing. With no opportunity to develop their talents and highlight issues that that are relevant to their communities, the members felt that they have a duty to establish their own Theatre.
After long and open discussion the following reasons were given to justify a project of this nature:
- Members agreed that there was a critical need to lift the moral of the society. A few felt that what is offered by some drama groups does not make wholesome family entertainment.
- It was agreed that drama will provide an avenue to build self-confidence, which is sorely lacking among the youth. Many of our youth are highly qualified academically but poor at presenting themselves in interviews.
- Many issues in the Indo-Trinidadian community are not being addressed. All agreed that issues such as bullying in the school system, teenage sex and conversion have to be tackled head on.
- Lotus Theatre would provide a platform for networking with other groups that are engaged in similar fields of work.
- It was felt that there was a dearth of young leaders in the community. Many felt that Lotus Theatre would provide that forum for our youth to develop the skills for public speaking and overcoming stage fright.
All are eager and supportive of this initiative and at the end of more than two hour s of discussion a Steering Committee was formed with the following people elected:
Shami Maharaj was nominated President, Vijayanti Rampersad as Vice President, Tara C. Pooranlal as Secretary, Devika Ramkissoon as Assistant Secretary, Seeta Persad as Public Relations Officer, Surindra Ramoutar as Treasurer, Kenrick Basdeo as Assistant Treasurer and Sean Arjan Jagirdar and Juliana Mohammed as Trustees 1 & 2 respectively.
The Steering Committee agreed to hold a few more similar meetings across the country before an Annual General Meeting is called within the next three months.
Immediately after the meeting was adjourned members began rehearsal of their play Shantagrant. With recorded music in the background the actors began rehearsing their scenes. Shantagrant is currently being staged at a venue in south Trinidad.