The Shakespeare in Paradise family—indeed the whole theatre family in Nassau, if not The Bahamas, was saddened two weeks ago to learn of the death of Elizabeth “Betty” Knowles, who for the past twenty-five years was manager of the Dundas Centre for the Performing Arts.
The day after she passed, the following was posted on our Facebook Page:
On Saturday March 22, SiP’s Artistic Director, Philip A. Burrows, gave the following tribute to Betty on behalf of the theatre community:
First, in my best Betty vocabulary, I would like to say that I and Betty had a very interesting relationship over the past 33 years.
My first encounter with Betty Knowles was at the beginning of the Dundas Repertory Season, in 1981, when she was brought to the Season to work by Warren Jones. I knew that she was one of the helpers backstage but she really came to my attention when the renowned Jamaican playwright, Trevor Rhone, who was here directing his play Smile Orange, came to me after that production and said that Betty would make an excellent Stage Manager. He was quite impressed with how on the ball she was and he thought that she might have a future in some area of the theatre.
Winston Saunders and I approached Betty to run the Box Office for the Repertory Season and that is where she stayed for quite sometime. In 1985 I asked her to be my Stage Manager for a production of Sammie Swain. This was the production that took place at the then Bahama Rhythm Theatre and one of the evenings of that production was the command performance for Queen Elizabeth II. This of course was at that most historic Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. In the years to follow I would tell many stories about that production and Betty would feature prominently in them. Apart from being one of the directors of the production, I was also calling the show so I was in the booth with the lighting and sound technicians and I was communicating with Betty, who was backstage, on headset. Now sometimes in the theatre we say that the real show happens backstage and the audience never gets to see all of the drama, only the performance happening onstage.