Desperadoes elated over new pan theatre

Desperadoes pan theatre on George Street, Port of Spain. - ANGELO MARCELLE
Desperadoes pan theatre on George Street, Port of Spain. - ANGELO MARCELLE

Desperadoes members are elated that they now have a place to call home, after government officially handed over the steelband's pan theatre at George Street, Port of Spain on Sunday.

General manager Kwesi Moore said on Monday the band is grateful to have the pan theatre for its commercial use, rehearsals and other activities.

Moore said "home", however, remains Laventille, the birthplace of the legendary band, and its navel string remains buried there.

“But as I said before, we remain grateful for the space to operate. It is a big shift from the nomadic nature of the band in the past, where we would have had temporary accommodation, would have built wooden structures, because we know it was a short timeframe.

“So to be able to transition from that into a building that is as world-class as it is brings with it a certain sense of stability, comfort and security.”

Desperadoes originally had a pan theatre in Laventille but was forced to relocate to Port of Spain as gang violence became a security risk to members and supporters.

Moore said the band has not moved into the space as yet, as it is still to receive the keys. He said there was a process which goes from the developer, the Urban Development Corporation (Udecott), to the contractor and then to the band. He said there was also some documentation and legal considerations still to be dealt with.

The band has a series of firsts planned for the space, Moore said.

He said there are plans to make its transition into the space as significant as possible.

It intends to develop the space into a cultural hub in East Port of Spain, Moore added.

Moore said the handing-over was done in a way that showed the general public the space’s performance capabilities.

The Prime Minister and the Minister of Tourism, Culture and the Arts were among those present at the hand-over ceremony on Sunday.

It was reported on April 5 that work on the theatre was complete.

A fact sheet from the Udecott said the $14 million facility, at lot six and eight, George Street, is on 1.35 acres of land.

It includes a two-storey structural-steel-framed commercial building, a pan-storage building with a mezzanine floor, an outdoor concrete-paved pan rehearsal area, spectator stands, high-security fencing, solar lighting, two guard booths, CCTV cameras and 78 carpark spots.

The commercial building has a lounge area with a bar, five commercial spaces, three storage rooms, a gift shop and museum room with a box-office space, a classroom, a services room, two janitorial rooms and a passenger lift.

Udecott added that the project was executed as a design-build contract, with Junior Charles Construction and Transport Services as the contractor. It said the project started on August 23, 2021, and was listed as officially completed as of April 13, this year.


"Desperadoes elated over new pan theatre"

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