With several theatrical companies and venues, options vary from popular farces to lavish song and dance musicals (both local and foreign) or intimate solo shows and dramas. There is usually at least one play running on any given weekend, and sometimes there’s a play at every major auditorium in the country.
Theatre groups mostly stage local adaptations of metropolitan comedies, and sometimes original local work. Some popular production companies include Richard Ragoobarsingh and Ricardo Samuel (RS/RR Productions); Raymond Choo-Kong; Ha Ha Ha Productions (led by Penelope Spencer and Nikki Crosby); Funny Farm Factory; First Instinct; and others. University departments and community organisations produce excerpts or full productions of popular musicals (both local and foreign), while Lilliput presents children’s theatre. The Centre for Creative and Festival Arts at UWI, St Augustine and the emerging theatre programme at the University of Trinidad & Tobago (UTT) stage productions that have included local and regional classics, calypso musicals, and plays based on local history. There are also intimate dramas, solo shows, and experimental performances.
Popular venues for plays include Queen’s Hall and National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA) in Port of Spain; the CLR James Auditorium at the Cipriani Labour College in Valsayn; Naparima Bowl and SAPA (the southern campus of the Academy for the Performing Arts) in San Fernando; and the newly reopened Central Bank Auditorium and Little Carib Theatre, also in Port of Spain. The revitalised, Belmont-based Trinidad Theatre Workshop, founded by Nobel laureate Derek Walcott in 1959, also produces Caribbean and international classics and hosts readings and workshops for new works, both in their small black box theatre and at external venues.
The island’s festivals produce both original and ritual drama. The annual Best Village competition runs each year, and is where many local actors and playwrights cut their teeth. The epic Hindu ritual of Ramleela is staged in central Trinidad annually before Divali.
For stand-up comedy with a strong local flavour, sample shows by Rachel Price and Learie Joseph.