Steve Hyacinth, the playwright, is being honoured
There is no other name other than Alwin Bully that has done more for theatre arts in Dominica than Steve Hyacinth. Steve is an academic in every respect; a Dominica Grammar School graduate who was trained at the Teacher Training College and taught as a qualified teacher at the Roseau Girl's School and the Goodwill School, also served for 4 years as principal of the latter, where he brought the school to another level, under his stewardship. He recalls the then minister Henry George telling him: "We are giving you a naked baby's clothes," and many did he clothe in the field of education and theatre arts. The President of the Dominica Calypso Association, Davidson "Observer" Victor is one such "baby' who was so clothed, as a student at Goodwill school at the time.
Thus, Steve continued from 1986 after his two-year stint at the now Norman Manley School of Performing Arts. By that time, he had formed and led the New Dimension Theatre and still found time to write and give guidance to the group even while he was engaged in study. He emerged at the top of his drama class in Jamaica nonetheless.
Having served as Principal for Goodwill Secondary and Mahaut Primary School respectively he then attended The University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus in Barbados where he earned a Bachelor Degree in Education Supervision before his ascendancy to the post of Education Officer for the Eastern District, then the office of Dominica's Chief Education Officer. Notwithstanding his degree in Education Administration and a Master's in Education Management and Administration or his acting appointment as Permanent Secretary in the Ministries of National Security and Tourism, it is with the theatre arts that Steve is most loved and he will be fondly remembered because his scripts have made us laugh, cry, infused introspection and yes, induced change.
The pen of Stephenson Peter George Hyacinth Esq. is his most revered accolade and he has been so honored by the nation. From his first play in 1977 "Lover's Loss" I had the opportunity to play lead roles with notable actors such as Henry "Nico" Woodman which was staged by the Roseau Methodist Youth Group of which he was playwright and director under church superintendent Rev Neville Brodie. This play, though written by Steve, was directed by an ace actor of that era, Benji Shillingford, his Wesley village and childhood friend.
In 1983 he gave birth to the New Dimension Theatre with talents like Darius Moses, Ashworth Brown, Henry Woodman, Val Cuffy, Merlin "Wizard" St. Hillaire, Norma Payne, Ermine Belle, Jerry Coipel, Keith Woodman, Jennifer Cuffy, Ian Jackson, Randolph Joseph, Evelyne Coipel, Donille Blackmore, Al Mathurine, Hartley Adams, Donille Blackmore; and at the turn of the century- Jay St John and the Hyacinth daughters following their father's creative footsteps- Meritta and Giselle Hyacinth. All this time dedicated wife Romualda Hyacinth served as "administrator in chief" of New Dimension from its inception.
After over four decades in the arts and 35 full-length plays, several on DVD, it would take this entire newspaper to speak of the exploits of the man Steve. From my days in the 80s there were: "Times to Remember", "In-Laws", "Sweet Heritage; in the 90s- "Mama", "Tree of Confusion", "Guts and Glory", "Talk of the Town", "Your Son My Husband"; then at the turn of the century- "Choices", "The Good, the Bad and the In-between", "Never See Come See", "Sugar Daddy", La Nueva Industrial (one of my favorites); and this decade- "After the Honeymoon"," Desired Will" (Part One and Two) which was also brought to homes via social media during this Covid period. Really it is exhaustive even for the very select few I chose. His themes generally have been a call for unity and have been centered around the family, big yards, galvanize fencing, bars, social and family disputes in a village setting.
So what about the numerous skits penned by Steve, and first place wins during the National Schools Arts Festivals or the play "Once On This Island" in which he teamed up with Dr. Bully as stage manager or his hand at Calypso writing for Checker, King Wizard, Young Bull, Tasha P, and the late Leandra?
Mr. Hyacinth has been received some 17 national awards. Among cultural highlights are the Edward Oliver Trophy in 2002, Golden Drum Award in 2008, and the Meritorious Service Award in 2012. His productions have been staged in Barbados, St Lucia, Antigua, St Vincent, Dutch and French St Martin, Guyana, Nevis, Trinidad and Tobago, Martinique, and Guadeloupe -all with rave reviews. Steve and the NDT have also represented Dominica at CARIFESTA quite a few times.