Drums and Colours: The Early Works of Walcott

Derek Walcott (photograph by Nigel Parry, courtesy of Faber & Faber)

For more information

  • This event has taken place
  • Tel: +44 (0)1937 546546
  • Email: boxoffice@bl.uk
  • Full Price: £12.00 Member: £12.00 Under 18: £8.00 Other concessions available

Discover one of the first plays by Nobel laureate, poet and playwright Derek Walcott

Burt Caesar directs the first ever UK presentation of Derek Walcott’s epic play, Drums and Colours, followed by a panel conversation exploring the early life of the St Lucian poet, led by Walcott specialist Maria Cristina Fumagalli.

Drums and Colours was commissioned by the University College of The West Indies in 1957 in honour of the West Indian Federation inaugurated in 1958. Written when Walcott was just 27 years old, it spans 600 years of Caribbean and European history. Originally written for a cast of 58 characters that include Christopher Columbus, Sir Walter Raleigh and Toussaint L'Ouverture, this staged reading has 10 actors and one musician.

Derek Walcott (1930 – 2017), awarding winning poet, playwright, critic and Nobel laureate, was born on the island of St Lucia. Originally staring his career as a painter he turned to writing fairly early. At the age of 18, he made his debut with 25 Poems, but his breakthrough came with the collection of poems, In a Green Night (1962). One of the most celebrated on Caribbean poets, his epic poem Omeros was published in 1990 to critical acclaim. Walcott’s plays generally dealt with aspects of the Caribbean experience, often dealing with the implications of post-colonialism and drawing upon various forms such as the fable, allegory, folk, and morality play.

Maria Cristina Fumagalli is Professor in Literature at the University of Essex. She is the author of The Flight of the Vernacular: Seamus Heaney, Derek Walcott and the Impress of Dante and Caribbean Perspectives on Modernity: Returning Medusa's Gaze. Maria Cristina also worked with Derek Walcott, co-producing a number of his plays which he directed.

Burt Caesar is a British actor, broadcaster and director for stage and television.  Born in St Kitts he migrated to England with his family as a child. His wide-ranging career has encompassed acting in cinema on stage, and radio. Burt works regularly as a director and is an artistic advisor at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). He is also a commentator on theatre and literature.

Directed by Burt Caesar and with a cast that includes Joseph Marcell, Martina Laird, Ben Onwukwe, Marina Bye, Aurora Burghart, Matthew Truesmith, Akiya Henry, Rez Skempton and Tobi Bamtefa

Sponsored by the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library in association with StrongBack Productions

Image: Derek Walcott photographed by Nigel Parry, courtesy of Faber and Faber


Name: Drums and Colours: The Early Works of Walcott
Where: Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Price: Full Price: £12.00
Member: £12.00
Senior 60+: £10.00
Student: £8.00
Registered Unemployed: £8.00
Under 18: £8.00
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546