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Sparrow musical Ten to One to be staged for Carnival

Monday, January 12, 2015
Carnival 2015
Lead actor in Ten To One, David Bereaux, in white shirt, is surrounded by the enthusiastic cast at the launch for the musical about the early life of Mighty Sparrow. PHOTO: KRISTIAN DE SILVA

Two decades ago, Canboulay Productions staged the musical Ten to One which told the story of the Mighty Sparrow’s early life and his insatiable thirst for success. The musical will be staged again next month by Iere Theatre Productions and Canboulay Productions.

The production which begins on February 4, was written by prolific playwright Rawle Gibbons and directed by Louis McWilliams.

Members of the media were treated to a trip down memory lane when veteran calypsonian, David Bereaux, who plays Sparrow in the production, sang Ten to One at the official media launch on January 6 at Nalis, Port-of-Spain. 

Iere Productions creative director Victor Edwards said the production was special because it focused on a time in Sparrow’s career when he wanted to conquer the calypso world.

“It is a time of a young Sparrow, a Sparrow with a lot of bravado, a young man trying to find his way in the world of calypso and trying to pave a way for the calypso and the calypsonian as well.”

Edwards said he approached Gibbons with the idea last year when the two groups collaborated on a five-part lecture series about Sparrow. The lectures were held in February 2014 to raise funds to assist Sparrow with his medical bills after a serious illness. 

Edwards believes one of the reasons the play needs to be staged again is to enlighten an entire generation that missed out on the story of Sparrow’s struggle and rise to fame. 

“Yes we know Sparrow, we may be able to sing Jean and Dinah or we might be able to sing a little piece of Ten to One but do we know Sparrow really, do we know the battles he fought to really bring significance to the calypsonian?”

Director Louis McWilliams echoed similar sentiments and added that he was very pleased to work with the young people of Iere Productions as they are a professional and committed group. 

Even though he directed this play—which is part of a trilogy by Gibbons—20 years ago, McWilliams said he had a greater passion for it this time, as he has the chance to work with young people and see firsthand their new appreciation for a living legend. 

Arts and Multiculturalism minister Lincoln Douglas said he was happy that the ministry was associated with the production. Ten To One is part of an initiative in which the ministry is producing 41 memoirs of significant pioneers in various artistic fields. Douglas said 20 memoirs have already been commissioned. 

Douglas also added that it was only fitting that Sparrow be honoured through a musical since his music put T&T on the map.

“What the Mighty Sparrow, Slinger Francisco has done for Trinidad in terms of the art and culture and developing a culture of memory is very significant. Of course this production I’m sure will meet up to that high standard.”

In addition to highlighting the journey of Sparrow, Edwards said Iere Theatre is completely committed to “legitimising the culture and the heritage of T&T.”

He said, “If we don’t do our own plays, sing our own songs, write our own poems, write our own novels, who will? I have never seen a broadway director take a Rawle Gibbons play or Victor Edwards play or a Zeno Constance play and do it on Broadway. We have to begin in a really dynamic way to produce our own work.”



February 4 – 8
Central Bank Auditorium

February 4 
School Show 
Time: 9.30 am

February 5 
School Show 
TimeE: 9.30 am

Gala Performance 
Time: 7 pm

February 6 & 7
Nightly performance
Time: 8 pm

February 8
Evening performance
Time: 6 pm

February 27 – March 1
Napa South

February 27 & 28 
Nightly performance
Time: 8 pm

March 1
Evening performance
Time: 6 pm
Admission for the gala performance is $300, for regular shows $150. 

Tickets are available at
 Department of Creative and
Festival Arts, UWI—663-2222 or 663-2141
 Central Bank Auditorium Box Office—623-0845 (from two weeks before the show)
 Sapa Box Office (from two weeks before the show)


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