..and teacher of the Prime Minister, Chief Justice and ministers of government
Tobagonian Cyril Anthony Collier, 77, is a recent retiree of the University of T&T where he was a senior instructor in drama. Collier’s career in the field of education spanned over four decades where he served in the capacity of teacher/educator.
Collier earned his diploma in drama in education at the University of Newcastle–upon-Tyne, under the stewardship of world-renowned Dorothy Heathcote. He is also the holder of a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Philosophy in drama\theatre arts, which he obtained at the University of Exeter in the UK.
Collier has been heavily involved in the cultural landscape of T&T having served as director /producer of the annual Carnival Sunday night Dimanche Gras show on numerous occasions and as an adjudicator in the Prime Minister’s Best Village competition. Collier has also served as a board member of the National Carnival Commission (NCC), a position which afforded him the opportunity to make an immense contribution to T&T Carnival. He has also served on the board of the Export Centres Company of T&T, assisting with the export of our local Carnival culture to Phoenix and Los Angeles.
Collier was born in Lambeau, Tobago and attended the Lambeau Anglican School. He later attended Scarborough RC and Bishop’s High School. His teaching career commenced in 1962. His first teaching appointment was at the Bon Accord Primary School where he served for a period of four years before entering the Port-of-Spain Teachers Training College, graduating in 1967.
Given his passion for the art form, upon his return to Tobago, Collier enrolled as a member of the Kilarney’s Dance Group and later formed the Phoenix Dance Company which outshone rivals at the Arts Festival for several years. Collier eventually returned to his alma mater when he received a teaching appointment at Bishop’s High School and taught geography and physical education. While at Bishop’s, he not only revitalised the drama club.
Among Collier’s students during his tenure at Bishop’s High School were Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, Ivor Archie, Rennie Dumas, Dennis Moses and Eudine Job-Davis. Collier’s teaching career eventually took him to St Mary’s College. Here he had the privilege of teaching public servants as government ministers Maxie Cuffie, Stuart Young and Daryl Smith.
After an extensive and prominent career in both primary and secondary education, Collier transitioned to tertiary education with his appointment as a lecturer at the Valsayn Teachers Training College. Here he taught geography and dance/drama.
In 2006, when the Valsayn Teachers’ College was appended to the University of Trinidad and Tobago, Collier was elevated to the position of senior lecturer in drama. While at UTT, he guided his students into the production of numerous weddings to showcase the traditions and cultural differences of the diverse ethnic groups in T&T.
Collier’s most recent contribution is the completion of his doctoral thesis at the age of 77. His dissertation is entitled Behind the Mask: A Phenomenological inquiry into the Meanings, Practices and Socio-political Relations of the Dimanche Gras Show from 1999-2015 in Trinidad.
Collier has expressed is deep gratitude to professor Hollis Liverpool, Dr Rita Pemberton and Dr Hazel-Ann Gibbs De Peza. He also acknowledged professor Valerie Stoute for her support and encouragement throughout this journey. As for his plans for the future, Dr Collier would like to publish certain aspects of his doctoral dissertation and is currently working towards achieving such. “I guess once an academic, always an academic,” he concluded.
Source: Shastri Boodan. Trinidad Guardian, January 3-, 2018
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