UWI mourns renowned Playwright and Cultural Pioneer Tony Hall

The St Augustine Campus of The University of the West Indies (The UWI) has issued a statement, mourning the passing of Tony Hall, award-winning playwright, screenwriter, actor and director, who passed away on Monday 27 April, after suffering a heart attack.

The following is the full statement from The UWI…

UWI MOURNS THE PASSING OF RENOWNED PLAYWRIGHT AND CULTURAL PIONEER TONY HALL

ST. AUGUSTINE, Trinidad and Tobago. Tuesday 28 April, 2020 — The St. Augustine Campus of The University of the West Indies (The UWI) is saddened by the passing of well-known playwright, screenwriter, actor and director, Michael Anthony ‘Tony’ Hall, an Adjunct Lecturer in the Theatre Arts Unit, Department of Creative and Festival Arts (DCFA).

A former protegé (1973-81) of Poet Laureate and Nobel Prize winner in Literature, Derek Walcott, Hall had written for street, stage, and screen since the late 1960s – in Trinidad and Tobago and internationally. He continued his theatre practice in Trinidad and Tobago through a Playwrights Workshop, started in 2003, and his own Lordstreet Theatre “Peoples of the Sea” Company co-founded with Errol Fabien in 1990. With Lordstreet Theatre he composed and produced landmark award-winning plays including: Jean and Dinah . . . Speak Their Minds Publicly (1994), which won five Cacique Awards for theatre in 1994-5. More recently, there was Miss Miles The Woman of the World (2011) and the award-winning Marcus & Amy: a ‘state visit’ (Carnival, T&T 2016; Hartford 2017).

An active participant in Carnival mas making since the 1980s, he founded the Jouvay Institute in 2002 with the aim of interrogating the cliché, ‘Jouvay: a community awakening’, and the role and function of the masquerade (mas) as well as other popular cultural forms.

Among his many awards were the Vanguard Award (2002) with Bruce Paddington and Christopher Laird as Banyan for innovative ground-breaking television and a Life Time Achievement Award (2013), both from the National Drama Association of Trinidad and Tobago. The Banyan collaboration also received the Pioneer Award at the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival in 2013 for longstanding contribution to film in the Caribbean. Two of the award-winning projects for screen with Banyan Studio were: And The Dish Ran Away With The Spoon (BBC 1992, USA/Worldwide Release Date: 1994), an award winning BBC/TVE documentary, a ‘searing look’ at television in the Caribbean; GAYELLE (1985-1990), an innovative and internationally acclaimed cultural magazine for TV, a milestone in West Indian broadcasting.

Hall was the brother of comedian Dennis “Sprangalang” Hall. DCFA Head of Department Mr. Louis Mc Williams noted that Hall’s passing was a loss to the national, regional, and international community and extended condolences, on behalf of the University, to his wife Mary and two children. ‘We have lost a brilliant writer, actor, educator, and a nationalist who created in us a greater appreciation for local theatre, music, dance and the Arts. We at The University of the West Indies will miss him.’