National Library lauds success of ‘To Sir, With Love’ stage adaptation

Chief Librarian at the National Library Gillian Thompson has said the public’s response to the play “To Sir, With Love – A Guyanese Version” was overwhelming and she was particularly pleased that the author of the original novel E.R Braithwaite attended the event.

“We would like to thank Mr Braithwaite for attending the play. We salute him for his outstanding work and for writing the novel that provided the material for us to create a Guyanese version of this wonderful story,” Thompson said in a press release. She also commended the writer, director and the cast of the play for an “exemplary job” done when the play was held at the National cultural Centre last Wednesday.

Braithwaite’s novel was the inspiration for the 1967 British film To Sir With Love, which starred Sidney Poitier. The film was semi-autobiographical as it was based on the events that occurred when Braithwaite took up a teaching post in an East London school.

The local version of the play was written by Mosa Telford and directed by Ron Robinson. The story is about a teacher who has returned to Guyana from England to teach what has turned out to be a group of unruly students. The plot mirrored the current challenges being experienced in local schools and the teacher’s attempts to overcome them.

According to Thompson, the Library aims to showcase local talent and promote local authors through initiatives such as the play. It plans to continue to promote literacy and instil values and morals in the society.

Braithwaite, who recently celebrated his 100th birthday, received a moving tribute from Sidney Poitier moments before the play began. In a recorded statement, Poitier said he was honoured to depict the character created by Braithwaite and wished the author many more birthdays to come.

The Library then presented Braithwaite with a portrait done by artist Rondell Bess and the production team and cast presented him with a plaque in honour of his many achievements and sterling contributions to Guyana. In addition, on August 23, President Donald Ramotar conferred the Cacique Crown of Honour, the nation’s third highest national award on Braithwaite.

The library also extended gratitude to sponsors Banks DIH, DM Enterprise Inc, Bounty Supermarket and others.

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