JCDC Adds Stand-Up Comedy to Performing Arts Competition

Photo: Melroy Sterling Popular comedian Owen ‘Blakka’ Ellis (centre), interacts with participants in a Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) stand-up comedy workshop held on Thursday (November 3) at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre, Hope Road, St. Andrew.

Story Highlights

  • The Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) has added a new category to its Festival of the Performing Arts Competition.
  • A workshop was staged at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre on Thursday (November 3), to prepare persons for the JCDC competition.

The Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) has added a new category to its Festival of the Performing Arts Competition.

Entries are now being accepted for Jamaican Stand-up Comedy under the speech programme. Persons have until the end of November to submit entries.

A workshop was staged at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre on Thursday (November 3), to prepare persons for the JCDC competition.

Speech Development Specialist of the JCDC, Andrew Brodber, said the workshop was organised because of the high level of interest in stand-up comedy and to get more persons involved in the craft.

About 30 participants from the JCDC’s Kingston and St. Andrew region attended the one-day session, which was conducted by popular comedian Owen ‘Blakka’ Ellis.

They included teachers, students and persons who want to sharpen their skills.
“We had some persons who were showing interest; therefore, we thought that we ought to get one of the practitioners to come in and to empower you, so you can empower your youngsters,” Mr. Brodber told the participants.

He noted that comedy is very popular in Jamaica. “We pay to laugh. We will go to the theatre and if we know that it is a comedy, we are going to spend our money and we are going to watch that play because we hear it would make us laugh. So, money is in the laughing business. It is not a joke,” he said.

Mr. Brodber, who is also Acting Director of Arts Development and Training, said the JCDC stands ready to train persons who are interested in the entertainment aspects of the speech programme.

“Suppose you want to be a storyteller; we have prepared persons along that line already. It is not just about entertainment, but it is also about preparing some of our youngsters, who are looking towards this kind of career,” he pointed out.

Meanwhile, Mr. Ellis said he wants to start a comedy college to provide training for persons interested in the field.

“I put a big value on education and training, and Jamaicans have the ability. I think training is the root to greater ability and I put a big value on process over product,” he said.

He noted the importance of having interactive sessions with students instead of “giving a lecture”.

To emphasise his point, he referred to a quote by American author and philosopher, Benjamin Franklin, “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn”.

For additional information on future stand-up comedy workshops, persons can contact the JCDC Kingston and St. Andrew Parish Office located at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre or call 960-7725.

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