Theatre Arts finalists showdown – Creatives will take to the stage next week

Lovers of theatre arts are in for a treat during this month of celebrations for Independence and Republic Day.

The National Independence Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA) Performing Arts competition is into its final stages. And on Tuesday, November 14, starting at 7 p.m., patrons who converge on the Frank Collymore Hall will be regaled by some of the best performing talent the country has to offer.

The National Cultural Foundation’s (NCF) Theatre Arts officer Janelle Mitchell indicated that the fine-tuning and final phase of the various works had been going very well and she expected that patrons would find the showcase of talent to be very exciting and entertaining.
The National Cultural Foundation’s (NCF) Theatre Arts officer Janelle Mitchell indicated that the fine-tuning and final phase of the various works had been going very well and she expected that patrons would find the showcase of talent to be very exciting and entertaining.

She noted that there would be a number of performances from school entrants at both the primary and secondary level. There will also be performances from adults. Community groups will also be featured. Among the categories to be showcased will be spoken word as well as short plays.

“There are works drawn from several areas; how we are treated as individuals, COVID-19-related stress, issues such as racism, mental health, that internal voice,” she explained, noting that the theme of ‘Voices’ would be evident in many of the works.

With NIFCA celebrating 50 years of excellence, Mitchell highlighted that this year would be a special one for Roland Edwards Primary’s principal George Francis.

NIFCA Theatre Arts Finals is Tuesday night.
NIFCA Theatre Arts Finals is Tuesday night.

He has been among the longest participants in NIFCA, taking part since 1979. Francis, who is nearing his retirement, has both written and directed artistic works over four decades. As usual, his school will be among those taking to the stage.

Mitchell explained that the NCF’s contribution to the arts extended beyond NIFCA and noted that aspiring performers were assisted in many ways through the Foundation’s Business Development Office.

She noted that creatives were helped in marketing their works outside of the island and this involved funding. She added that development programmes were also available to aid persons in drama, dance and theatre, among other areas.

Janine White was a class act at NIFCA Finals 2019
Janine White was a class act at NIFCA Finals 2019

The cultural officer also indicated that NIFCA offered a further development component to prospective creatives.

“You can get training and if your work doesn’t advance in the festival in a particular year, that same piece can be entered the following year,” she said.

Finalists in stage next week are: Milton Lynch Primary, Roland Edwards Primary, Reynold Weekes Primary, Deighton Griffith Secondary, La Shawna Griffith, Alister Alexander, Cyndi Marshall (Cyndi Celeste), Akeem Chandler-Prescod (Stoned with Cupid), Theo Greenidge, Nikolai Worrell and Natalie Thornhill, Sandra Squires, NH Productions.

This year there will be a number of awards up for grabs. The Prime Minister’s Scholarship which is sponsored by the Prime Minister’s Office, is worth $35,000, for tertiary studies at any Caribbean Arts institution. Two scholarships will be on offer across all categories of NIFCA.

Pinelands Creative Workshop are perennials in all performing arts disciplines at NIFCA.
Pinelands Creative Workshop are perennials in all performing arts disciplines at NIFCA.

The NIFCA Earl Warner Prize comprising a trophy and a $5,000 scholarship will be awarded to the director of the Most Promising Theatre piece. The Daphne Joseph-Hackett Award of Excellence in the form of $3,000 and a trophy is also up for grabs. Other prizes include The Bruce St. John Award of Excellence in Speech which is $3,000 and a trophy.

Among this year’s new awards will be The Alfred Pragnell Challenge Shield for Acting that takes the form of a scholarship worth $2, 000 applied to the cost of tuition for studies in drama/theatre or culture at an approved institution. Another initiative this year is the Barbados Community College Scholarships. These are two scholarships offered towards training in the Associate Degree programme in Theatre worth $3, 000 each.

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