(CMR) The Cayman National Cultural Foundation has bid farewell to Henry and Marcia Muttoo, Artistic Director and Managing Director of the Foundation respectively.
The formidable husband and wife team have retired after 30-plus years, each of invaluable contribution to the development of arts and culture in the Cayman Islands.
Perhaps most widely known locally as writer and director of the hilarious annual comedy revue, Rundown, Henry Muttoo is one of the Caribbean’s foremost theatre arts practitioners and is a household name in regional theatre, arts, and cultural practices.
An award-winning actor, stage director and designer and arts manager, Mr. Muttoo’s memorable and distinguished career began in his birth land of Guyana at the age of 16 with a three-year apprenticeship program at the Theatre Guild of Guyana.
This was followed by studies in advanced Acting, Directing and Stage Management at the University of the West Indies, Theatre Design (Settings & Costumes) at Croydon College of Art & Design (UK), and a master’s degree in Theatre Practices at Manchester University (Rose Bruford College) in Kent, UK.
He has worked in the theatre and cultural arts fields throughout the Caribbean, designing and/or directing for every major artist – including Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott – lectured at the University of the West Indies (Mona, Jamaica) and was, for seven years, a senior tutor at the School of Drama, Edna Manley College of the Arts, in Jamaica.
Mr. Muttoo has also been a regular Visiting Scholar at the University of South Florida, where he has taught design and directed three Caribbean classics. He has directed in London, Holland, and Toronto. He is a founder-member of the iconic Guyanese theatre company, All Ah We, the first regional company to promote Caribbean literature through stage performance seriously.
In Cayman, Mr. Muttoo’s visionary work in culture and the arts at CNCF since 1989 has helped to recalibrate the national discourse on the arts and culture in society, influenced the work of many of Cayman’s finest artists and given a more assured voice to Caymanian artists and culture-makers. He has been the Artistic Director for all but one of Cayman’s showings in CARIFESTA – the Caribbean Festival of the Arts – and, since 1972, has represented three countries at CARIFESTA: Guyana, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands.
Mr. Muttoo has received numerous awards and honors for his work as an actor, director and designer, as well as his contributions to the development, preservation and celebration of Caymanian arts and culture. These include the Member of the British Empire, the Cayman National Cultural Foundation Heritage Cross, the National Heroes Day Award for Cultural Heritage (Pioneer), and Officer of the Order of the Cayman Islands. He is also a recipient of the Golden Arrow of Achievement (NY) for his contribution to Guyanese arts and culture.
Mrs. Marcia Muttoo is an actress, singer, artist, teacher, radio host, emcee and arts manager whose career in the arts spans several decades and countries. She holds a BFA in Drama with a specialization in acting from New York University and trained as an actress at the prestigious Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute, as well as an MFA in Arts Management from Brooklyn College, City University of New York.
Before moving to the Cayman Islands in the 80s, Mrs. Muttoo gained considerable experience in non-profit arts management through various professional placements. These include that of Drama Coordinator at the Barbados Carifesta Secretariat; teacher of drama and drama-in-education techniques at the Jamaica School of Drama at Edna Manley College; Administrative Coordinator at Arts International in New York; Acting Tutor as part of her graduate fellowship at City University New York; Programming & Marketing Assistant at Brooklyn Academy of Music; and Marketing Assistant at the Manhattan Theatre Club.
As Managing Director of the Foundation, she has helped to conceive and realize CNCF’s many cultural initiatives. She is responsible for the entity’s strategic management and operational efficiency, including organizational planning and policy development, financial management, property management, personnel matters, and board liaison. Throughout, Mrs. Muttoo has also been happy to volunteer her time and efforts to several nation-building activities – Vision 2008, the National Heritage and Culture Policy Committee, the National Children’s Festival of the Arts, Batabano, Pirates Week, the National Spelling Bees, and Heroes Day among them. She is also a member of the Cayman Islands Folk Singers.