Frank Collymore Hall

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Frank Collymore Hall

This state of the art Theatre is for Barbadians and visitors to enjoy the arts in the heart of the capital Bridgetown. This technically advanced Theatre has excellent acoustics, lighting, recording facilities. and a full range of multi-media capabilities, including professional quality recording of events and concerts. It seats 491 and is therefore one of the largest venues for Theatre in Barbados.

The Central Bank of Barbados wanted to honour Frank Collymore, who spent his life as a teacher at Combermere School, and so built this venue within the Central Bank Building in Bridgetown.

Frank Collymore was a keen writer, artist and actor until his death in 1980 aged 87. His work on the stage spanned 47 years with The Bridgetown Players and he co-founded the Green Room Theatre Club. In this time he appeared in over 41 plays. He is remembered for his warmth and wisdom. He made his mark as an actor and his writing is still being anthologised.

He showed his appreciation for Barbadian culture by publishing Notes for a Glossary of Words and Phrases of Barbadian Dialect. From 1942 until 1972 he edited the literary magazine, Bim. During this period there were few outlets for West Indian writers and so he maintained close links with Henry Swanzy of the BBC’s Caribbean Voices and was able to promote and get the work of Austin Clarke, Kamau Brathwaite, Shake Keane, George Lamming, Edgar Mittleholzer and Sam Selvon broadcast.

He had an eye for talent and in 1949, he wrote to Swanzy about a young St. Lucian poet, then 19, who had recently come to his attention. He wrote “I think I have made an important discovery. Derek Walcott’s work is obviously sincere and wonderfully mature.
I do not know when I have read anything so exciting”.

In effect he launched the career of the now famous Nobel Laureate.

The Central Bank is proud to continue the tradition of creating an environment in which young writers may thrive. Frank Collymore Hall now stages performances from aspiring local, regional and international artistes and lecturers. It serves as an attractive alternative to convention centres, school halls and hotel conference rooms. It also provides the stage for special events such as concerts, plays, film screenings, conferences and a host of cultural activities.

There are 4 venues within the complex, which are all available to hire and they are The Frank Collymore Hall, The Grande Salle, The Meeting Room, The Cathedral Plaza, The Terrace and The Inner Courtyard.

The Central Bank of Barbados also wanted to honour the memory of Frank Collymore through the Frank Collymore Literary Endowment, which recognises, supports and rewards today’s literary talent.

All entries are judged by a Committee, who come from the education, entertainment, journalism, and literature fields. They have been selected not only on the basis of their commitment to the ideals set by Collymore, but also for their ability to look forward and to respond to a changing social climate.

The Committee has high standards yet also recognizes that unpublished work will not have had the benefit of feedback from many readers. Part of the Committee’s task, therefore, is to recognise and encourage potential, while evaluating and rewarding work which could hold its own in any literary arena.

It is hoped that by entering for the award, writers, even if they do not win prizes immediately, will be encouraged to persevere, to acquire new skills, to learn and to try again.

It is in this spirit of constructive competition that writers are invited to submit their work in one or more of the categories. Winners receive cash prizes and are expected to put their work forward for publication. with the help of the Committee. Work can be submitted in the poetry, drama, prose fiction and non-fiction categories.

For upcoming events and further information about the venue or the Frank Collymore Literary Endowment, please go to www.fch.org.bb or call (246) 436-9083.