Nation e-Edition

‘Use Empire for riots museum’

‘Use Empire for riots museum’ Henderson Carter: calling for riots museum. (FP)

Mon, November 26, 2012 - 12:08 AM

There is a new idea on how to use the Empire Theatre if it is ever rescued from its derelict state.

Speaking to the DAILY NATION after a lecture on the 1937 Labour Rebellion at Christ Church Foundation School hall on Saturday night, historian Dr Henderson Carter said he would like a riots museum set up on the site of the former cinema.

“I’m saying a riots museum based on the fact that that area was the stomping ground for Clement Payne, what we call the Golden Square, next to the Empire Theatre.  

“. . . It was there where the [1937] rioting started. The first place that was attacked was the Empire Theatre, and on that basis – narrow basis nevertheless – I think we ought to have a riots museum. We ought to help people to remember that this was the epicentre of the riots, which really brought social justice to this country,” Carter said. (YB)

Please read the full story in today’s DAILY NATION, or in the eNATION edition.

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Page 1 of 1 pages

Posted by Kenneth King 1 year, 8 months ago
I am not so sure if this Building should be for only one project because the Arts nets a special home as well. I thought the Government will take over this building as the private sector does not seem to have any interest and it would be a pity if it lands in the hands of a foreign concern. This is an historic Building and for too many years it has build lest to the elements....what a shame.

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Posted by Payel Garcia 1 year, 8 months ago
The Empire Theatre needs to be demolished and a replaced by a modern shopping mall.

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Posted by Alicia Osborne 1 year, 8 months ago
Payel Garcia is that all this world is about? Shopping! Removing a part of our history for unimportant trivial things. And what will this modern mall sell besides the same old overpriced clothing that you can get at the multitude of shops already around the island. This is one of the reasons that Barbados is losing its appeal to the international world. You think that someone wants to come to another part of the world, beautiful Caribbean lisland to see the same old big buildings with clothing that they can get at less than half the price in their own country? Stupse. A museum filled with our history and a venue for major entertainment events would be fantastic.

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Posted by RANDY BRIDGEMAN 1 year, 8 months ago
This building is historic no doubt. However, I'm wondering given it's dilapidated condition, if it would be cost effective to restore and reuse it. If so, who's going to foot the bill? Will it be a cash-strapped government, private enterprise or a combination thereof?

In these hard economic times, it may be more sensible and fair for government to put this project on hold while spending taxpayer funds on things far more beneficial to the majority of our citizens. I could think of a gazillion things on which government should spend money and I'm sure many readers can too. Let's get our priorities right, powers that be.

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Posted by J. Payne 1 year, 8 months ago
@PAYEL GARCIA. Another mall/shopping arcade in Bridgetown???

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Posted by Kenneth King 1 year, 8 months ago
The reason for my comment about the Government taking over this building is because of the Jobs it can create making it a tourist attraction. If we really lean the tourist market you will notice it's the things that we never pay interest in that are profitable. As one mentioned about the 1937 riots etc. that came to mind with some other important historic facts pertaining to Bridgetown including Arts and folk music,Dance and how the city itself had developed. It is our chance to do something positive out of the Building period, we are a tourist destination therefore we should use our skills in finding the right plans to promote it as another historic sight for taxi drivers and adding some life to the dead area with special light facing it giving the building a new face. Then making a tribute to one of our cultural icons by giving it's present name along with that person.

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Posted by wayne husbands 1 year, 8 months ago
SORRY BRIDGEY, I THINK YOU HAVE LOST SIGHT OF OUR RECENT WORLD HERITAGE STATUS , AND A BUILDING WITH THE HISTORY AND ARCHITECTURE OF THE FORMER EMPIRE THEATRE,SHOULD SHE RESTORED TO ITS FORMER GLORY. AND BE UTILISED AS A CULTURAL CENTRE,THAT MONEY WOULD BE BETTER SPENT, THAN ALL THE FRUITLESS COMMISSIONS THAT WE HAVE ACCEPTED AS A WAY OF LIFE IN BARBADOS.

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Posted by RANDY BRIDGEMAN 1 year, 8 months ago
'Hoarse' Husbands, muh Cawmere buddy and 2D/3E goalie of some repute, who in his/her right mind would be advocating setting up useless commissions at taxpayers expense, especially in these difficult times when far too many of our people are sucking the proverbial salt? Certainly not yuh boi!

While I can appreciate the Bridgetown heritage designation, refurbishing/converting the Empire Theater into a cultural arts center at this time wouldn't constitute an exercise in intelligence, in my view. Doesn't Frank Collymore Hall serve this purpose at present?

Why have we become so government-dependent nowadays? Why can't people who participate in and patronize the arts/entertainment come together and do some refurbishing fundraising? Maybe national girlfriend Ms. Rihanna will kick in some of her considerable funds (duh tellmuh she got deap pokkits!). This in turn may spur corporate B'dos to contribute, followed by individual donations from those who have a vested interest in seeing the ET up and running again. Also, aren't there funds that come with the heritage designation? I say to the government once again, put this project on hold, and instead, focus on things that would better serve the peoples' needs rather than wants. Wuh yuh sey, 'Hoarse' muh boi?

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Posted by Payel Garcia 1 year, 8 months ago
Barbados depends on tourism and tourists like malls. That is the beginning, middle and end. Demolish the Empire and build another mall. We already have a museum.

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Posted by Olutoye WALROND 1 year, 8 months ago
The best option for the The Empire building, I think, is to turn it into what its name says it is: a theatre.
The dramatic arts in Barbados are starved for spaces to practise.

How many years has it been now that the Daphne Hackett Theatre has been disfunctional? I find it shocking that as a country looking to advance our image and status in the world we could demonstrate so little respect for the arts.

The Empire could be turned into a modern theatre for the performing arts. It will cost money, but it will be an investment from which the nation will reap rich dividends.

A nation without art is like a steeple without a bell.

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Posted by Jim McGowan 1 year, 8 months ago
The riot museum is an interesting idea...and one that could be accommodated within the EMPIRE plans already submitted to Town Planning.

BEAT has included an area intended to be a museum and cafe space. Given the riots are a part of the recorded history and genesis of the EMPIRE, this historical event could and should have a place along side the performers of a bygone era as well as the cultural icons of modern day Barbados in the museum space.

An authentic heritage restoration is about saving the building so that the history of past generations is preserved and can be told to, and not forgotten by future generations...I actually like the idea if it can be integrated into an economically viable and sustainable plan...meaning the BEAT proposal!

To clarify some facts - BEAT foundation is a registered charitable organization in Barbados, whose board of Trustees include prominent Barbadians who are the key decision makers and hold the majority of votes.

The BEAT Foundation proposal, if and when approved by Cabinet, will raise the funds, restore, equip and operate the facility as a cultural hub and creative space for public benefit. There is no cost to government, as this is a private sector charitable foundation whose mandate is to build capacity for the creative arts. Becoming the stewards for and saving and restoring the iconic Empire...as a Theatre for the enjoyment and enrichment of the wider pubic is our first major project and our highest priority.

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Posted by John Da Silva 1 year, 8 months ago
Judging from the handful of people attend the ceremony every year to commemorate the 1937 riots, That is not something that most Bajans care about. What we need are a souse and rum museum. That would be well patronised.

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Posted by Pan Wallie 1 year, 8 months ago
Apart from the Republic Bank at the corner, all the other buildings in that environ (Lower Bay Street to Independence Square) need some sort of upgrade. To demolish all and modernise with a building that would incorporate both a cultural centre and an added War Museum overlooking Indepence Square won't be a bad thing. We really should pay attention to the performing arts that haven't had a home for so long. Even the Richard Stoute show, catering to the needs of the young people we want to save and develop, has been roaming for too long.

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Posted by RANDY BRIDGEMAN 1 year, 8 months ago
'Hoarse' Husbands, muh Cawmere buddy and 2D/3E goalie of some repute, who in his/her right mind would be advocating setting up useless commissions at taxpayers expense, especially in these difficult times when far too many of our people are sucking the proverbial salt? Certainly not yuh boi!

While I can appreciate the Bridgetown heritage designation, refurbishing/converting the Empire Theater into a cultural arts center at this time wouldn't constitute an exercise in intelligence, in my view. Doesn't Frank Collymore Hall serve this purpose at present?

Why have we become so government-dependent nowadays? Why can't people who participate in and patronize the arts/entertainment come together and do some refurbishing fundraising? Maybe national girlfriend Ms. Rihanna will kick in some of her considerable funds (duh tellmuh she got deap pokkits!). This in turn may spur corporate B'dos to contribute, followed by individual donations from those who have a vested interest in seeing the ET up and running again. Also, aren't there funds that come with the heritage designation? I say to the government once again, put this project on hold, and instead, focus on things that would better serve the peoples' needs rather than wants. Wuh yuh sey, 'Hoarse' muh boi?

  • 1
Posted by Olutoye WALROND 1 year, 7 months ago
Mr. Bridgeman, have you ever tried to rent the Frank Collymore Hall? It is unbelievable, but this facility which was built with taxpayers money is priced way out of the reach of the said taxpayers.

Artistes, whose money built this performance space, cannot afford to rent it because the Bank - with the approval of the government - has set the cost of rental way over their heads.

Barbadians should be able to use this facility at subsidized rates. It is almost immoral to charge us the rates that are current to use something our money paid for.

And talk as you like, there are some things that are just best done by the government. Where will ordinary citizens find the millions needed to refurbish the Empire? Get real.

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