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Recognising a Noble contribution
“It’s an opportunity for us to respect the contribution of an individual and to recognise that without their being in the space, the space would not be in the place that it is in and we have to give thanks for that.”
3Canal’s Wendell Manwarren made the statement as he spoke about the Gala Concert, A Noble Cause, being organised to assist iconic dancer, choreographer and teacher Noble Douglas to offset expenses associated with recent back surgeries.
Aunty Noble, as she’s fondly called, had been part of the theatre landscape of T&T for over four decades.
She founded the Lilliput Children’s Theater Company 45 years ago, and it remains the only fully operation children’s theatre in T&T.
Other long-running institutions Douglas founded include theLilliput Children’s Carnival Band (35 years); the Noble Douglas Dance Company for infants and young adults (30 years); and a Creative Camp for children and youth (25 years). She has also choreographed for Peter Minshall’s Carnival productions, is the creator and director of the Noble Douglas Foundation for the Support of Young Dancers, amd has taught dance in rural schools and special classes for elders.
Manwarren said the Gala Concert is not only a means of raising funds to assist, but also to pay tribute to her while she is around to appreciate it. “One of the things we tend to do is to wait until somebody passes on to say ‘oh you did this or you did that,” said Manwarren. “So we decided while she’s here with us and she’s in the audience, let’s take a moment and invite certain people who’ve been instrumental in her creative life to share stories and make it an evening of celebration of 50 years of artistic excellence.
“The event is being staged by the Noble Douglas/Lilliput Foundation for the Arts, which is a whole new entity which was created recently to help ensure that all the work that Aunty Noble has done on her own is able to live on beyond her, so there’s a lot involved here and it’s Noble Douglas — takes a bow for a job well done. signalling a big moment in institution building as far as I’m concerned.”
The concert will feature 3Canal, The Marionettes Chorale, Lord Relator, David Happy Williams, Ron Reid, the Lilliput Children’s Theatre and others. Manwarren added: “I’ve been working with Noble for close to 30 years and I could not have imagined that I would have been working this long and still be this invested. I think that’s such a testament to Noble’s commitment over time that had just rubbed off on the other people that are now a part of the institutions like Lilliput, NDDCI, the Marionettes.
“Her association with Relator is an old deep friendship. You know every Boxing Night she’d have a lime at her house and Relator would pull out his guitar and start to jam and you don’t get sweeter than that.
So we thought that the Friday night in Queen’s Hall should feel like that and since we’ve put the word out, other people have volunteered to come on board.”
Manwarren said Douglas has influenced the lives of many of the people who she’s worked with and has been a mentor to a multitude of people who’ve passed through her school. He continued: “They haven’t necessarily gone on to a career in the performing arts, they’ve gone on to succeed in whatever field, whether it’s as a doctor or a lawyer or actuary, and they would all credit their experience of working with Lilliput, working in the theatre, the push that Noble gave them, as being fundamental to why they were able to do what they do and function on the level that they function.”
Manwarren is calling on those who’ve been influenced by Douglas and her work over the years to come out and support the cause. “This is a woman who has influenced generations and you can’t discount the value of that.”
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