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Theatre icon remembered

Published:Monday | January 18, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Nedburn Thaffe, Gleaner Writer

Tributes flowed freely on Saturday as family, friends and members of the art fraternity paid tribute to late theatrical icon Noel Douglas Vaz, who passed away peacefully on December 21, 2009.

The Philip Sherlock Creative Arts Centre at the University of the West Indies, Mona, St Andrew, was packed to capacity as tributes echoed about the great theatre icon, whose association with the Little Theatre Movement (LTM) spanned some 30-odd years.

Chairman of the LTM, Barbara Gloudon, in a tribute read by Dr Keith Amiel, said Vaz's contribution to the LTM was immense. She said he was "accredited with theatrical innovation which we now take for granted".

She said Vaz will always be remembered for his contribution to the development of the national pantomime and Jamaica's theatre arts in general.

"The LTM pays tribute to Noel Vaz, a creative spirit gone but by no means forgotten," she said.

Vice-chancellor emeritus at UWI, Professor Rex Nettleford, said there is much of Vaz that will live forever.

"One such thing is his undying commitment to excellence, which he felt should be made to trump mediocrity at all cost. He would never want to settle for anything that was second-rate," he said, adding that those who knew him well fell under the spell of his artistic integrity.

"The professionalism he brought to the enterprise had long shown itself in such productions as Midsummer Night's Dream which, as a bushboy, I was too young and couldn't afford to see. But I managed, at an older age, to travel up from Montego Bay to see his St Joan, staged at the Rainbow Theatre for the LTM."