Spreading the conservation message through popular theatre

The Vieux Fort Town Square buzzed with excitement as hundreds of people gathered for “Sé Maria Nou Ka Alé” a popular theatre production by the Saint Lucia National Trust (SLNT) in collaboration with Coaks Production. The objective of the production on Sunday, March 13, 2016 was to sensitize the public of the rare and endemic species found on Maria Islands, two offshore islands located in the south and the negative consequences that could result if permission is not sought from the SLNT prior to visiting the island.

This production, which was in the pipeline for some time, forms part of a project by the Trust and its partners, the Forestry Department; Fauna & Flora International (FFI); and the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, to protect the world’s known rarest snake, the Saint Lucian Racer and the many rich flora and fauna found on Maria Islands. Thanks to our sponsors Disney Conservation Fund and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), patrons were in for a treat which included face painting and entertainment from young talented artistes from Vieux Fort, Shan Lucien – the 2016 Youth Fest winner, Andrian ‘Drii Notes’ Klein and the Envogue Junior dancers.

Shan Lucien, 2016 Youth Fest winner

Shan Lucien, 2016 Youth Fest winner

The highlight of the evening was the production “Sé Maria Nou Ka Alé” which featured popular actors Coaks, Anglasia, Bishop and Tina. Laughter filled the air as the actors set the scene for a long awaited trip to Maria Island. Following the production, patrons viewed a short film entitled “Hiding for Survival” which goes in depth about the non-venomous, harmless and rare Saint Lucian Racer that once roamed the mainland. To ensure that the audience received the message Carlton ‘Coaks’ Cyril asked a few questions after the film and tokens, such as Saint Lucian Racer tote bags and t-shirts and Maria Islands exercise books were given to those who responded correctly. According to Mr. Matthew Morton of Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, “It was a very impressive turnout on Sunday. Really nice to see so many people enjoying themselves and engaged with the concerns for this incredibly rare species and its only home, Maria Major”.

The SLNT is also extremely pleased that the event went smoothly and was well received. SLNT’s Director, Mr. Bishnu Tulsie said, “The event shows us that we need to find innovative ways to get the conservation message out to the public. Popular Theatre has worked elsewhere and we will explore using this medium in future advocacy programmes. I extend thanks to our partners the Forestry Department, FFI and Durrell and sponsors Disney Conservation Fund and USFWS for their support and to the people of Vieux Fort for turning out to the event”.