Guyana’s theatre arts community was in uproar during the past few weeks over a proposed increase to rental rates for the National Cultural Centre that would cost potential renters more than triple what they would have paid over the years.
This venue has housed a number of beloved productions by Guyana’s creative community over the years including “A treat for my mother”, “The Link Show” and political satire show, “Nothing to Laugh About”, beloved by local patrons of the performance arts.
Prominent local producers were frustrated at the proposed increase, with their concerns compounded by the inability to concretise a date to meet with the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Charles Ramson Jr. to voice their concerns.
Rental for the entire theatre was recommended at $500,000 per event, an increase from $80,000 in a letter seen by MTV News Update. Rental for the Lower Auditorium was proposed at $250,000 per event, rental for the recital hall stood at $175,000 and rehearsals at $50,000.
Following concerns from several producers about the increase being raised with the authorities and on social media, the rates have returned to the original price.
This was confirmed by Playwright and producer Gem Madhoo who said she has been appealing for the rates to revert to its normal price.
“It’s reverted back to what it was originally…So that high rate, that new rate that they had, the $500,000 is no longer there,” Madhoo told MTV News Update on Monday.
Madhoo expressed, “We’re really happy that they gone back to the original.”
Madhoo, on behalf of local creatives, had also been lobbying for a 10 percent decrease from a 20 percent on the surcharge noting that performance artists have already struggled during the pandemic and are in need of some leeway as the art re-emerges.
“I had appealed for the 20% to drop to 10% because I was saying...[..] we’re still in COVID, I don’t know what kind of turn out we will get and to give producers an incentive….my suggestion was the 10% and they didn’t take them on.”