Nobel Laureate, playwright, and founder of Trinidad Theatre Workshop; Sir Derek Walcott, has passed away.
News of his passing came to the Trinidad and Tobago performing Arts Network from our St. Lucian correspondent at 8:37AM today. Our source shared that Walcott had been ailing for some time and over the past months, has been in and out of hospital.
A media release by the family said “Walcott died peacefully at his home in Cape Estate, St. Lucian on Friday 17th March” after being released from the hospital into the care on Monday. The release further stated that his funeral will be held in St. Lucia with details to be announced shortly.
He was 87.
T&T Culture and Performing Arts Fraternity weigh in
Minister of Community Development, Culture and the Arts Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly has expressed sadness over the death of Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott, according to a report by CNC3. The Ministry released a statement that said:
Walcott gave us in his work a vision of ourselves as Caribbean people in a shared space, unique in the world, worthy of celebration. While we thank Walcott for the gifts he has given us, we extend our condolences to his immediate family, to his extended family in the arts, to St. Lucia, and to the World.
We contacted other members of the T&T Culture and Performing Arts fraternity, and dramatists who worked with Sir. Walcott during his time at Trinidad Theatre Workshop, for their statements on his passing. They said:
He was ill and we knew this day would come. He was the founder of Trinidad Theatre workshop and what we’re trying to do is to continue the legacy of his dream which is helping people to develop, even in the absence of institutions that help to create people in the arts.
Derek Walcott has had a profound influence in my career and I love him dearly. A lot of my experience in the theatre I owe to him. With all his eccentricities, his genius overwhelms us and I am very moved [by his passing].
I’ve worked with him for quite a longtime. He was a great mentor, friend, inspiration and will be sorely missed. I had the privilege to do his work, and I am the richer for it.
Sir Derek Walcott; our very own Homer and Shakespeare of our Caribbean space. [He] made the deepest impact on our collective consciousness in these here islands. Thank you for helping us see, feel and think in new ways, in the theatre and in life; make new and wonderful vibrations in that other realm with the Creator. Godspeed, Derek. Thank you…for everything.
I met Derek in 1967 when I was doing a version of Othello in the Gardens. Walcott was the Guardian arts reviewer and did a piece on Othello. It wasn’t too long after that he invited me to join TTW and that began a career that last until today. He asked me to help create the role of the Joker of Seville in the 1970s and that to me is the greatest role as an actor you can perform. He made me into the actor that I am today. He will be sorely missed by the people who worked with him closely, and the world audience that he created for himself. His plays will be performed forever. I will miss him.
Give thanks for such an inspirational life and works to carry us through generations still.
Derek Wacott encouraged us to occupy our island seascape; to name it and own it; to understand how it shapes us. Sleep soft in the silence of the sea.
An outpouring of condolences to the Walcott family, and tributes to the Sir Derek Walcott continue to be shared on social media.
This article will be updated as more information becomes available