Mr Trevor Nairne among the greats of Jamaican theatre
The late theatre director Trevor Nairne

The passing of Mr Trevor Nairne last Friday has robbed Jamaica of one its most talented sons whose contribution to local theatre is beyond measure.

Although Mr Nairne had been ill for some time, his passing has hit his family, many friends and associates very hard. That is understandable because Mr Nairne was easily one of the most decent human beings we have ever known.

His Jambiz International business partner Mr Lenford Salmon correctly described him as “a giant of a man” whose willingness to share his knowledge and experience was one of his most endearing qualities.

In addition to those characteristics, our recollection of Mr Nairne was of a quiet man whose skills as a theatrical director provided many great moments on stage and, indeed, at major national events, chief among them the annual Independence Grand Gala.

One of those Grand Gala moments was highlighted by Mr Salmon in our Sunday Observer report on Mr Nairne’s passing.

Mr Salmon related how, during the planning of the 2012 Independence Grand Gala, Mr Nairne came up with the idea of having 50 motorcycles roar into the National Stadium to commemorate Jamaica’s 50th anniversary of nationhood.

Mr Salmon said he expressed doubt about the proposed manoeuvre. However, Mr Nairne’s calm response was, ‘Stop talking about what can’t happen and just make it happen’.

“I never forgot those words. On the night of the event when the bikes came into the stadium...it is a moment I will never forget,” Mr Salmon told our senior staff reporter Mr Richard Johnson.

That steely resolve to transform ideas into reality is what sets the ordinary apart from the brilliant. It is actually a gift that makes working with the individuals that are so blessed a great privilege.

As our story on Sunday pointed out, Mr Nairne worked closely with Mr Salmon on a number of stage productions, among them Saving Alligator High, Ladies of the Night, Right Girl Wrong Address, Straight Jacket, and Windscream Posse.

What struck us most about those productions was that amid their satirical portrayal of life in Jamaica, they posed very potent questions about the values we hold as a people and society and left us thinking how we can improve social conditions in our country.

It was clear to us that Mr Nairne and his business partners were well aware that they, through their craft, have a role to play in the development of the country. Their stage productions, thankfully, were not given to gimmickry simply to elicit laughter.

That the Government of Jamaica saw it fit to invest Mr Nairne with the Order of Distinction (Officer Class) in 2010 was entirely appropriate given his significant contribution to the growth and development of Jamaican theatre.

We share the view of Entertainment and Culture Minister Ms Olivia “Babsy” Grange that Mr Nairne was one of the most influential theatre directors in Jamaica’s history.

Ms Grange, and the Government, we believe, should see about the preservation of his legacy.

May Mr Nairne’s soul rest in peace, and may he find joy in the grand theatre above.

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