The Government is exploring the option of upgrading existing performing arts venues to provide more space to accommodate audiences as well as technical equipment and personnel.
State Minister for Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Damion Crawford, made the disclosure on Tuesday, July 2, during his contribution to the 2013/14 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives.
He said that while it is widely accepted that there is a need for the construction of performing art spaces, for a number of reasons, including funding, this is not a feasible short-term option.
“A more practical approach being explored is to upgrade existing spaces creating greater venue access for producers, promoters and patrons. These spaces would already have basic infrastructure in place to mount productions and an upgrade would enhance the technical capacity of the facility and lower the prohibitive costs associated with technical equipment rental,” he told the House.
Based on these considerations, he said, one option for venue upgrade would be improving the auditoriums of a number of well-recognised secondary schools.
“Often, a number of these facilities have been used to mount creative work, with the advantage of ease of access by producers and audience alike,” Mr. Crawford noted.
Another deficit that will be addressed by the upgrade is the shortfall of editing, sound and lighting technicians and engineers in the island.
“The project will dovetail with the Ministry of Education’s CSEC (Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate) curriculum in theatre arts and stage craft, which, while grooming and producing budding actors/actresses, dancers, directors, choreographers, cultural agents among others, is not meeting the technical needs of the creative industries due to the lack of equipment to train technicians in these areas,” he outlined.
One recommended action, he said, is the development of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Education and identified schools, to provide access to performing arts space while keeping cost down.
Students in the selected schools, he said, would be taught production skills such as sound engineering, lighting and stage craft.
Contact: Alphea Saunders