The Cave Hill Theatre Workshop
It was in 1993 that the Cave Hill Theatre Workshop (CHTW) was formed in order to promote and encourage high-quality theatre on Campus. Its founder members were all students in the newly established LITS2499 Drama and Theatre Arts
course taught in the Department of Literatures in English (as the department was called at the time). Since then, enthusiasm and support for the Workshop has spread rapidly beyond the Faculty of Humanities.
Robert Leyshon, Artistic Director of CHTW and Director of the new course, points out that the Cave Hill Theatre Workshop was founded
"to create a focus and a forum in Barbados for a specific kind of theatre, theatre that stimulates rather than sedates, theatre that is passionate and imaginative, challenging and provocative; theatre that dares, and above all, theatre that is serious."
He goes on to explain:
"Our most profound conviction is that serious need not mean tedious. On the contrary, there is nothing to match the thrill of watching a serious play performed by a cast of actors using all the resources of their bodies and voices."
Like the body, the intellect craves nourishment. And not only the intellect but the spirit too. That is what the Cave Hill Theatre Workshop believes serious theatre provides: sustenance for the soul, food for thought. And these vital ingredients have been the staples for their productions.
From the outset this simple philosophy has been the focus of the Cave Hill Theatre Workshop. In 1994 The Island
by Athol Fugard and In God's Name
devised by Dayo Okunlola were the inaugural productions of the Workshop. Though thematically and formally quite different, they were nonetheless companion pieces. Both were set in Africa (one in South Africa, the other in Nigeria); both were minimalist in-so-far as they dispensed with all theatrical artifice, placing their faith instead in the creative skills of the actors: and both were fiercely political, each play stressing the need for collaboration and resistance in the face of oppression, each play dealing with the struggle to convey that struggle, each play celebrating the transgressive and recuperative power of the imagination, of the story, of theatre.