The Oratory Foundation is a school with the mandate to touch and teach through oration and creative forms of the spoken word. It promotes and encourages the use of various forms of oratory; it is a teaching institution providing the opportunity for the pruning and perfecting of poetry, oratory and performance.
The Oratory Foundation is a valiant vehicle transporting members to oral performance and theatre. Led by founder Deborah Jean-Baptiste-Samuel, who is a versatile creative powerhouse in dramatic performance, the group celebrates oratory and Shakespeare in Trinidad and Tobago.
Deborah is poet, orator, and attorney-at-law. Her degrees are in Literature, and Law. She earned a Nuffield Fellowship for journalism at Wolfson College, Cambridge University, and a fellowship to Merton College, Oxford University. She holds a post-graduate Diploma in International Relations. She has won four journalism awards and has her own law practice in San Fernando, Trinidad.
The Oratory Foundation has delivered 25 annual productions, and nine (9) Shakespeare plays – Macbeth, The Merchant of Venice, King Lear, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Othello, Julius Caesar, Twelfth Night, The Tempest, and The Taming of the Shrew. The Oratory Foundation is known for Caribbean interpretation of the plays, and staged ‘Dream on a Caribbean Night’ with local folk elements, and folklore characters. Othello, Julius Caesar, Twelfth Night, The Taming of the Shrew, and The Tempest were also delivered with Caribbean interpretations.
‘Celebrating Shakespeare’ and ‘Shakespeare – Bard like that’ were staged on the occasion of 400 years since the passing of Shakespeare. It was a mega-tribute with excerpts of Shakespeare’s plays and his sonnets, and performance of Deborah’s original poetry on Shakespeare.
Deborah is author of fourteen books, the most recent being ‘Local Habitation and Name – Caribbean Interpretation of Shakespeare’, ‘In Full Bloom’ and ‘Caribbean Contemplations of Shakespeare’. She also has a podcast with direct relevance to a local embrace of Shakespeare.
This year 2020 marked the 25th anniversary of the Oratory dramatic series and this was celebrated with ‘Oratory 25 – Home’ on November 7, 2020 on YouTube.