Designer and mas man Brian Mac Farlane has knocked past and present governments for taking the creative sector for granted for far too long.
He was speaking at the launch of Christmas Joy — The Gift of the Drum, at Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s, on Thursday. The event has been held for the past two years.
“We in this country have been speaking of diversification for many years, but past and present governments have done nothing serious about it,” said Mac Farlane.
“Culture and creativity is a huge way to diversity outside oil and gas.”
He spoke of the origins of Cirque de Soleil, a Canadian entertainment company, and how it became the largest theatrical producer in the world, after a million-dollar grant from the Canadian government in 1984.
“We have something far superior to what they have. We have so many different people, so many different cultures, so many different backgrounds that make us unique from the rest of the world.
We have here in this little small island of TT what they don’t have, but we take it for granted.”
He said governments continue to insult creative people.
“It’s not about Brian Mac Farlane, but rather the creative people who get on that stage.”
He said creative people are just as good as the successful businessman, banker, lawyer, accountant and the likes and, as a result, can generate perhaps a billion-dollar company just like Cirque de Soleil, but need to be given a chance to do it.
With respect to his upcoming Christmas production, the gala opening will be held at Queen’s Hall, St Ann’s on November 26 with a wine and cheese affair, a pre-show at 7pm, and showtime at 8pm. From November 29 to December 2, pre-shows and actual shows will take place each night from 7pm, with the finale on December 3, starting at 5.30pm.
On the cast are the University of Trinidad and Tobago’s (UTT) Rapturous Voices and singers from other choirs totalling 63 chorus members, 13 star cast members including favourites Kelwyn Hutcheon and Lennox Gray, 19 musicians, six Bentley Potter ballet students and some tap dancers. Musical director is Dr Charles Brunner who said on Thursday, “This one will be totally up to international level, as Brian Mac Farlane brings out the best in us.”
Dr Helmer Hilwig, drama director, expressed his excitement about the production, saying the way Brunner has arranged the songs gave him that feel of Christmas. He added: “The show is an experience in itself and it will wow!”
Choir director duties will be handled by UTT lecturer Richard Pierre, and among the featured artistes are Anne Fridal, Wendell Constantine, Wendy Sheppard, Gray and Hutcheon.
Partnering with the Children’s Ark, an NGO led by Simone de la Bastide, part proceeds from the opening gala evening will go towards the relocation and reconstruction of the entire surgical ward, including the operating theatre and the dental suite, of the Princess Elizabeth Home.