He has been immortalized in literature and performing arts with his play You Can Lead A Horse To Water and was hailed as one of the most prolific icons in Bahamian culture when he died in November 2006. Now, the late Winston V. Saunders will become synonymous with the craft he treasured as the local theatre community pays homage with the Winston V. Saunders Repertory Season, set to launch at the Dundas Centre for Performing Arts by the end of January.
Director of Culture, Dr. Nicolette Bethel says that the Winston V. Saunders Repertory Season will resurrect theatre in The Bahamas and breathe life back into the performance culture all year round. She added that naming the season after Saunders is a way to say thank you to the man who dedicated over 30 years of himself as Chairman of the Dundas.
“Winston was a teacher, an artist and friend,” said Bethel. “He was also a visionary and pioneer in Bahamian theatre and culture. Winston often shared his desire to see theatre re-established to such a level that we could present original works and revive classics to the stage within an organized theatre season. With so many up and coming companies aspiring for many of the same goals in the performing arts, we feel that we will maximize the potential for Winston`s vision by having everyone come together in a culminative effort.”
The renaissance in Bahamian theatre with the Winston Saunders Repertory Season will see performances from some of the top theatre groups including Scribes Ltd, Track Road Foundation and ThoughtKatcher Productions. The first play in the new season will be the put on by Ringplay Productions, which is spearheaded by Bethel and veteran director Philip Burrows.
Educator, attorney, performer, director and playwright were just a few of the many roles Saunders played in his lifetime filled with accolades. He was Chairman of the Dundas Civic Centre from 1975 to 1998 and is credited to supervising renovations of the theatre and establishing a thriving repertory season. Saunders was the
recipient of a number of awards, including several DANSAs for playwriting, the Meta, a special DANSA for Excellence in Theatre, the Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Citizen Award for contribution to Culture, the Silver Jubilee Award for Culture given by the Government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas in 1998.
In 2004, he was made a Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George (CMG). At the time of his death, he served as Chairman of both the National Commission on Cultural Development and Independence Committee.