Friday 23 August, 2019

NAPA celebrates 9th birthday

Today, November 9, marks nine years since The National Academy for the Performing Arts first opened its doors as the premier performing space in Trinidad and Tobago.

Affectionately referred to as NAPA, this iconic architectural structure is bordered by Memorial Park, the Queen’s Park Savannah, Knowsley Building and the National Museum and Art Gallery.

Formally commissioned by former Prime Minister, the late Patrick Manning on November 9, 2009, NAPA was constructed on the site of the former Princes’ Building Grounds and adopted the legacy of the Princes’ Building whose ballroom hosted many galas, fashionable society events, theatrical productions and receptions over the decades and was the venue for the inaugural Music Festival event.

Its most popular use was as the home of the late Lord Kitchener’s Calypso Revue Tent.

NAPA serves as a performance and teaching academy and houses the University of Trinidad and Tobago’s  (UTT) Academy for the Performing Arts (APA), a Hotel and Restaurant, and The Lord Kitchener (Aldwyn Roberts) Auditorium, the latter being a fitting tribute given the legacy of the location.

The building’s design comprises a cluster of domes configured to resemble Trinidad and Tobago’s national flower, the Chaconia, which is identifiable by a fiery burst of red petals that gently taper into a loosely hanging tail. 

Its seating capacity is 1200, making NAPA one of the largest indoor performance spaces of its kind in Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean region.

Line Minister, Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly described NAPA as an iconic cultural space that “lives and breathes the rich heritage of Trinidad and Tobago”.

“Its legacy is in the young prodigies who cross its stage and the future they will make for themselves and the cultural landscape that is Trinidad and Tobago,” the Minister said.

While the first major event held at NAPA was the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) on November 27, 2009, NAPA was developed to play a pivotal role in the national plan for the development of the arts and culture in Trinidad and Tobago and is the home of the National Steel Symphony Orchestra (NSSO), National Theatre Arts Company (NTAC) and National Philharmonic Orchestra (NPO). 

NAPA has hosted top local, regional and international acts including Calypso Rose, Sparrow, Super Blue, Machel Montano, Heather Headley, US National Symphony Orchestra, Shaggy, Taurus Riley and renowned international speakers such as Malala Yousafzai, Deepak Chopra, Colin Powell, Al Gore, John Maxwell and Immaculee Ilibagiza. NAPA has hosted over 600 shows/events since opening its doors.

With a decade under its belt, the National Academy for the Performing Arts is proud of its legacy. A 10th Anniversary logo will be launched next month to commemorate this milestone and over the next twelve months a calendar of cultural and educational events will be rolled out, including several niche and signal events for CARIFESTA XIV, Trinidad and Tobago, August 16-25, 2019.

The Management Committee along with the management and staff of NAPA celebrate this occasion with the nation and the various creative, cultural and educational organisations that have been a part of this 10 year journey; and are excited about the future of The National Academy for the Performing Arts as it celebrates and solidifies its presence on the Cultural Landscape of Trinidad and Tobago.


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