Playwright Hayden Forde launches first collection of plays

By John Robert Lee
Image of Silent Scars by Hayden Forde

HAYDEN Forde, one of St. Lucia’s leading playwrights and directors, will launch his first published collection of plays, Silent Scars and other plays on Wednesday, November 28th at the Castries Central Library at 7 pm.

Image of Hayden Forde
Hayden Forde

Forde has been involved with the arts from the 1970’s and is an accomplished playwright who had been writing for over 25 years.

Born in 1960 in the community of La Clery, he attended the Anglican Infant and Primary Schools before attending the Castries Comprehensive Secondary School. There, he cultivated a love for the arts, first as an actor and later on, writing scripts and plays.

He is a graduate of the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in Jamaica which he attended from 1998-2000. He has won several awards during the existence of the M&C Fine Arts Awards and the National Arts Festival.

Hayden considers himself a “grass-roots” artist whose plays present raw, true-to-life characters and situations. His dramas focus mainly on social issues and highlight the plight of the disadvantaged and marginalised with frequent heart-wrenching scenes and dialogue balanced with comedy.

Forde has written over a dozen plays including ‘De yard’, ‘Anchor’, ‘Dey playing us too close’, ‘Cold vibes’. His collection consists of ‘Silent scars’, ‘Twisters’, and ‘Rottenway.’ All the plays have been performed in Saint Lucia.

Hayden founded his first drama group, “Stone Productions” in 1992. This later metamorphosed into “Gemstones Theatre Productions” which is now the longest-lived drama group in Saint Lucia. In spite of many difficulties facing theatre enthusiasts, Forde and Gemstones have persisted. Their most recent production was a staging of the late Gandolph St. Clair’s “Guess who came to visit the doctor” in August.

Image of Silent Scars by Hayden Forde
Silent Scars by Hayden Forde

The playwright and director’s intention was to develop and express the creative talents of artists; to provide an opportunity for discourse with communities around Saint Lucia; to highlight social and cultural issues which affect citizens and to which audiences can relate. From the beginning, his group staged plays around the island.

In 2017, this committed playwright fulfilled his dream to bring his drama to audiences outside Saint Lucia. His play ‘Twisters’ was showcased at Carifesta 2017 held in Barbados.

The play was shaped to become a musical/theatrical production called ‘Twisters Folklypso’ with a fusion of calypso, folk music and theatre. Well-known and popular calypsonians like Herb Black and Black Pearl were part of the cast.

Hayden’s vision is for all artistes to work together towards the development of arts in Saint Lucia and to bring about a change in the perception of Theatre and the Arts by Saint Lucians.

While many St. Lucian poets and prose writers publish their work regularly, not many playwrights have done so. The Walcott brothers, Stanley French and Gandolph St. Clair were among the few whose plays have appeared in book form.

John Robert Lee, Saint Lucian poet, reviewer and former theatre director, commented that “Publication of these powerful plays will help to keep before us necessary reminders of the complexity of the lives of those we so easily profile, dismiss and take for granted.

In the wider Caribbean and beyond, actors and directors will find much here that is perceptive, and that speaks with relevance to, the post-modern struggles for meaning of the average city dweller.”

Silent Scars and other plays carries a foreword by KendelHippolyte, veteran poet, playwright and director.

The public is invited to join Hayden Forde and friends at the Castries Central Library for the book launch.

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