Wooden cultural iconic edifices of Georgetown – by Francis Quamina Farrier

Houses of culture: Wooden cultural iconic edifices of Georgetown

Stabroek News – August 19, 2008 – In Guyana Review

Francis Quamina Farrier reflects on three of Georgetown’s wooden buildings and their impact on the shaping of contemporary Guyanese culture.

Some buildings talk; at least they talk to me. If you want to hear their stories you have to listen carefully. Sometimes you  have to touch them in order to absorb their treasure troves of information.

Ken CorsbieThree of Georgetown’s wooden structures come  to mind. They have myriad stories to tell and they have told me some of those stories.  Each of these three buildings lay legitimate claim to being a catalyst for CARIFESTA.

First, there is the Taitt Family home on Quamina Street, now The Cara Lodge. Then there is the home of Dr. Singh on Lamaha Street.. The third building is the City Hall. 

Some of Guyana’s truly great cultural icons were spawned in the Taitt family home. Half a century or more ago it used to serve as a kind of cultural headquarters for creative souls, people who immersed themselves in music, art and theatre; people like Ron Savory, one of Guyana’s truly great artists, come to mind. Ron now lives in St Lucia. That is where he has been for thirty years or more.

Dr, Rupert RoopnarineThen there is Michael Gilkes, a member of the Taitt clan, whose distinguished career in the theatre and in literature was spawned in that very home and whose memorable play, COUVADE,  was staged at the Theatre Guild Playhouse in August 1972. More recently, Michael  staged his truly impressive one-man theatrical performance, “THE LAST OF THE REDMEN” at ‘the big house’ on Quamina Street.

Then there was Cecile Nobrega, another creative product of ‘the big house.’ Her musical play STABROEK FANTASY had its origins there and I recall that it was staged at the Queens College Auditorium to large and appreciative audiences and, afterwards, basked  in rave reviews.  The music for STABROEK FANTASY  was written by musical genius  Hugh Sam  who now lives in Manhattan. Hugh led a Steelband and Symphonia which remains one of the outstanding musical  products of the Taitt House.

The careers of some of Guyana’s outstanding  pre- and post independence men of theatre were fashioned at the Taitt House. Ken Corsbie, Clairmont Taitt, Ricardo Smith and Marc Matthews, all benefited from kindergarten lessons in theatre at the Taitt house.  Read more : http://www.stabroeknews.com/2008/guyana-review/08/19/arts/print/

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Comments

  • Rosaliene Bacchus  On 01/29/2014 at 2:17 am

    For a year in the late 1970s, I took dance classes at the Taitt House with Pertab (not sure of spelling). Fond memories.

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