Beryl McBurnie

(1913-2000) – choreographer, dancer, impresario

A leading light of the arts and theatre in Trinidad and Tobago, she studied dance under Martha Graham in New York in the early 1940s and counted Paul Robeson among her friends, to the extent that he came to Trinidad in 1948 to lay the cornerstone of her Little Carib Theatre. Beryl’s dynamism and crusading work inspired Rex Nettleford to establish the Jamaica National Dance Theatre Company.

Beryl McBurnie was a huge inspiration to me as a teenager in Trinidad. A phenomenal force in the arts In Trinidad and Tobago, she single-handedly raised funds to build her theatre in Port of Spain. The Little Carib Theatre became the home of new and original work by the leading poets, playwrights and choreographers of Caribbean arts in the 1970s as our culture emerged in the early heady years of independence to find its own expression.

Dominique Le Gendre

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