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TONY HALL

Veteran Caribbean playwright Anthony “Tony” Hall is being described as a man who devoted his life to the arts.

Hall passed away yesterday morning after suffering a heart attack.

Still in shock over the passing of his former colleague Christopher Laird said, “Hall was a vital comrade for half a century and a lot of what Banyan (Ltd) is (now), is due to him and his talent and his mind and it’s a loss that we all will have to bear.”

Senior lecturer at the University of the West Indies Department of Creative and Festival Arts Rawle Gibbons joined in mourning the loss of his co-worker and friend.

Hall was teaching a Creative Arts course at UWI and co-ordinated an exchange programme for students at Trinity College in Massachusetts.

“He was the key figure in the National Drama Association. He established the playwright’s workshop which meets the first Wednesday of every month. The whole point of that was to encourage and develop new writing,” Gibbons said.

He added that Hall “was always thinking of how to advance Caribbean theatre. That’s what he devoted his life to.”

When asked by Guardian Media about the void created by Hall’s passing, Gibbon said, “It is a question of commitment. Tony comes from a generation where one engaged in the arts out of sheer love of it, not for rewards or contracts. It was a generation that responded to a historical moment. The Caribbean had to be staged and we were part of that.”

Gibbons revealed that up to this past weekend Hall was meeting with co-creators to develop plans to advance theatre even in this time of the pandemic and had developed an online programme on Caribbean theatre in recent weeks.

Hall was born in Port-of-Spain and attended Naparima College, San Fernando. He gained a Bachelor’s degree in drama and education from the University of Alberta (1969-73), Edmonton, Canada and obtained a diploma in film and advanced television production.

Hall was a pioneer in community television in the Caribbean. With the video production house Banyan Limited, in T&T, he was part of a group of artists who created indigenous soap operas, TV dramas and current affairs programmes in the 1970s, 80s and 90s.