The Caribbean speaks back to William Shakespeare, 400 years on…
The British Council, the GREAT Britain campaign and an unprecedented number of partners are commemorating the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death with a series of initiatives including a unique online collaboration, performances on stage and film, exhibitions, public readings, conversations, debates and educational resources that people around the world and of all ages can actively join in with from January to December 2016.
British Council Caribbean is working with partners across the region to produce a 15 minute video in partnership with the University of the West Indies (UWI) and colleagues in Cuba, to make a short film in celebration of Shakespeare, demonstrating the impact the well-loved bard has had across the Caribbean. Meet members of the Caribbean team from Barbados, Cuba, Jamaica and Trinidad, who the British Council is collaborating with on this regional initiative.
Giselle Rampaul | Trinidad + Tobago
Giselle Rampaul is a Lecturer in Literatures in English at the St Augustine Campus of the University of the West Indies. She is interested in and has published on the intersections between British and Caribbean literature; and is currently working on a monograph on Shakespeare in the Caribbean. She is also the founder and producer of The Spaces between Words: Conversations with Writers podcast series.
Yao Ramesar | Trinidad + Tobago
Ghana-born, Caribbean filmmaker Yao Ramesar was honoured as the Caribbean’s first Laureate in Arts and Letters, at the inaugural Anthony Norman Sabga Caribbean Awards for Excellence (ANSCAFE) in 2006. The awards recognised that “Ramesar’s most significant contribution is that he has taken Caribbean cinema to the world under the rubric of an original aesthetic deemed ‘Caribbeing’”. Ramesar holds a B.A (Summa cum Laude) in Film Production and M.F.A in Film Directing from Howard University (Washington D.C). On completion of his studies, he immediately returned to Trinidad and Tobago to begin his mission of teaching and developing indigenous cinema in his homeland. He is a lecturer in film at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad.
One of the Caribbean’s most accomplished and prolific directors, he has created over 120 films on the people, history and culture of Trinidad and Tobago, screening in more than 100 countries throughout Africa, Asia, North, South and Central America, Eastern and Western Europe and throughout the Caribbean.
Rob Leyshon | Barbados
Rob Leyshon is a teacher, writer and theatre director. For the past twenty-two years he has taught English and Drama at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies, where he is a Senior Lecturer and the Departmental Coordinator of Graduate Studies. As Director of cave hill theatre workshop he has been responsible for over twenty stage productions. These include the Caribbean premières of Patrick Marber’s Closer (2005), David Mamet’s Oleanna (2007), Philip Nanton’s Island Voices (2008) and (for Dramaworks Barbados Ltd), the highly-acclaimed production of Derek Walcott’s Pantomime (2009), which Walcott himself described as “one of the finest productions of my play that I have seen”. His critical and creative writing has appeared in publications such as BIM: Arts for the 21st Century, POUi: Cave Hill Journal of Creative Writing, African Studies, ArtsEtc and the Journal of West Indian Literature. He was Public Orator for the Cave Hill Campus (2010-13), Chief Judge for the 2009 NIFCA Literary Arts Festival, Jury Member for the 2014 Guyana Prize for Literature and was recently appointed as the new editor of POUi.
Andrew Millington | Barbados
Andrew Millington is an independent filmmaker and educator. He is currently Senior Lecturer in Motion Picture Arts at the Errol Barrow Center for the Creative Imagination, University of the West Indies in Barbados. He holds an undergraduate degree in History and English from that institution and graduate degrees in Film and Mass Communication from Howard University in Washington, DC.
As an educator, he has taught film production and film studies at Emerson College in Boston and served as Coordinator of Howard University’s Film School in Washington, DC. His research interests include film, digital media and the intersections with culture, creativity and education. He is a former founding member of The Creative Edge in Maryland (USA), an initiative designed to support viable and sustainable creative spaces within communities with a specific focus on developing digital media industries.
Andrew is currently producing a documentary called Sugar, spirits and Sovereignty, a historical treatment of the evolution of Barbadian society. He is the writer, director and editor of the narrative feature film Guttaperc (2000). Zora’s Dream, another feature is scheduled for re-release in October 2016 while he is also scheduled to begin production on a new film entitled John Crow Paradise this summer, both through his company Shango Films LLC.
Paola Pinto Parra | Colombia/Barbados
Paola Pinto Parra was born in Bogotá, Colombia, where she lived until she got her degree in Philology and Languages with emphasis in English. Before finishing her studies in 2009, she started teaching English as second language to teenagers and adults. She lives in Barbados where she works as a Spanish Lecturer at the Cave Hill campus of The University of the West Indies. Besides teaching languages, Paola had always been interested in translation and interpretation. In 2010 she moved to Argentina where she founded the small editorial services company, Words & Worlds (W&W). W&W offers translation services and promotes culture, with o focus on creating stronger partnerships between the continental Caribbean and Caribbean islands. Paola has had the honour to work with Canadian, Colombian, Argentinian and Barbadian authors, filmmakers, musicians and institutions as a translator, producer and cultural manager.
Lisa R. Brown | Jamaica
Lisa R. Brown lectures in the Department of Literatures in English, UWI, Mona, Jamaica. She teaches undergraduate courses in Drama, Shakespeare and Caribbean Life Writing. Lisa is a graduate of Shortwood Teachers’ College, UWI, Mona and the University of British Columbia where she was a 1998 Commonwealth Scholar. With twenty-five years teaching experience at the secondary and tertiary level, she is an engaging and innovative teacher and researcher. In addition to teaching, Lisa has written courses for the Joint Board of Teacher Education (JBTE) and lead workshops in CAPE Literatures in English for both teachers and students. She has also served as adjudicator for the JCDC Festival Competition, Short Story and Essay category as well as the International Theatre Institute (ITI), Actor Boy Awards for Jamaican drama.
Gabrielle Blackwood | Jamaica
Gabrielle Blackwood is a Jamaican Director and Director of Photography who has shot, directed and crewed on short films, commercials and documentaries in both Jamaica and New Zealand. Her work which has been nominated and selected for awards, has been screened in New York, Jamaica and New Zealand and at the Trinidad & Tobago Film Festival, the Edinburgh Short Film Festival, the Havana International Film Festival, the Chinese Caribbean Film Festival and the Festival Lle Courts, Mauritius. Gabrielle currently resides in Jamaica where she is a freelancer in directing and cinematography.
Arturo Soto |Cuba
Arturo Soto is a Cuban Screenwriter and film director. He graduated with a Bachelor's degree in Performing Arts at the Instituto Superior de Arte la Habana (ISA) and in Direction at the Escuela Internacional de Cine y TV de San Antonio de los Baños. He has participated in festivals in Oberhausen, Tokyo, New York, Sao Paulo, Viña del Mar, Toronto, Biarritz, Thessaloniki, Chicago, Washington, Valdivia, Lima, Brussels, Gramado and Biarritz. Soto has been twice nominated to the Goya Spanish Film Academy Award for "Pon tu pensamiento en mi" and "Amor vertical". These films were selected by Cuba to represent the country in the nominations for an Oscar. Soto was awarded best short film for "Talco para lo negro" at the Havana Film Festival and the Festival Iberoamericano de Huelva. He also received a Prize from the jury of the Biarritz Festival for "La noche de los inocentes".
Francisco López Sacha | Cuba
Francisco López Sacha is a narrator and essayist. He graduated in Hispanic letters and as a specialist in theatre from the Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA). He is currently a writer and Associate Professor at the International School of Cinema and Television of San Antonio de los Baños (EICTV) He has given readings and participated in conferences in cultural centres and universities in the United States, Mexico, Costa Rica, Venezuela, Canada, Chile, Brazil and Argentina. Sacha has participated in various cultural events in England, France, Spain, Yugoslavia, Germany and Italy. He has published a novel, a collection of five short stories and three volumes of essays. His personal anthology, Figuras en el Lienzo, was published in Mexico in 1996. He was awarded a Distinction for National Culture.