“Write about your People” Playwright tells Barbadian writers in Embassy supported workshop

Eleven Barbadian playwrights and writers recently participated in a workshop, led by multiple award-winning American playwright Ms. Katori Hall. The U.S. Embassy to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean helped facilitate the workshop at Frank Collymore Hall in partnership with the Gale Theatre of Barbados and London.

The writers workshop provided authors with the opportunity to share their work and discuss different creative mediums.

The writers workshop provided authors with the opportunity to share their work and discuss different creative mediums.

Ms. Hall, a 32 year old African-American playwright, has focused on issues of love, gender and race in her work. Her play, “The Mountaintop,” about Martin Luther King Jr.’s last night on earth won the Laurence Olivier Awards in March 2010.

Using an excerpt from her new play “Blood Quilt” as a jumping off point, the workshop focused on questions of authenticity, writing dialogue and effective conflict.

“Write in your tongue,” Ms. Hall told the participants, “only you can do them in a way that is authentic, true and loving. When I write about the South a lot of people can be dismissive of it… this is the where I come from, this is the way I walk in this world. It’s very important for you to be that. It’s a lot of responsibility but the cadences and rhythms are there in your blood and in your memory, your writing is the only way we will get an authentic portrayal of those stories.”

A workshop participant and Katori Hall read lines from her new play “Blood Quilt”.

A workshop participant and Katori Hall read lines from her new play “Blood Quilt”.

Poet and writer Winston Farrell read from his play “House of Landship” and credited the workshop with helping his process. “I felt good about that having the group read this work in progress. Katori and the others helped bring up some issues in the work which I can continue to think about and work on,” he said.

“The Mountaintop” is being staged by the Gale Theatre of Barbados and London and Ms. Hall also attended the premiere. The U.S. Embassy, Gale Theatre and the National Organization of Women will be working with local women to put on another series of workshops using drama therapy to help women who have experienced domestic violence.

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