JIS News

KINGSTON — Over 20 groups and individuals have delivered items in traditional folk forms, at the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission’s (JCDC) Finals of the National Festival of the Performing Arts.

The finals, which began on Tuesday at the Little Theatre, Tom Redcam Drive, Kingston, will be held throughout the month, starting at 10:00 a.m., except on

June 25, when the Deaf Dance category begins at 3:30 p.m. The Dance finals will be held June 14 to 18, Speech on June 20, 22, and 24, and Drama on June 21 and 23. The Music finals will take place from June 27 to July 1.

Marketing and Public Relations Director at the JCDC, Dorrett Thaxter, told JIS News that she was inspired by the performances over the past two days, and the high level of creativity shown by costume designers.

“So, although things are really hard, economically, the teachers and the group leaders are making every effort to present something that would entice the public, and show them that we are making sure that our culture stays alive,” she said.

She added that persons attending the function will see young people and adults, who are very enthusiastic about Jamaican culture.

“It is educational, entertaining and very informative once you go there,” she said.

Mrs. Thaxter said that the JCDC has noticed an increase in the number of entries in all categories, including an increase in the number of deaf dance groups in the finals.

“This group finds it very useful to work among themselves, so we find entries from as far as St. James and other parts of the island. They come together and they perform very well,” she stated.

Mrs. Thaxter commended the private sector sponsors and partners of the JCDC, for their involvement in the programme over the years.

“Yes, it is a bit challenging, but we do have our sponsors who are on board with us,” she said, noting that  contributions have been in the form of cash awards, incentives, trophies for the most outstanding performances and financial assistance towards the running of the programme.

She said the JCDC has also partnered with the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), Vision 2030 Jamaica, and the Programme of Advancement through Health and Education (PATH), in promoting their messages. She stated that persons have submitted items in keeping with the national vision, to make “Jamaica, the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business by the year 2030."

“We have been identifying such entries, especially in the Festival Queens and the performing arts competitions. We have come across these items, because we have been encouraging it,” she said.

According to Mrs. Thaxter, participants will be allowed to present topics that relate to Vision 2030 in Drama and Speech.  

“We want to continue to encourage persons to work towards ensuring that Jamaica is the place to live, to raise children, to do business and what we want to see in the future, as we work towards 2030.  What better way to promote it than through the performing arts, or the entertainment arts,” the Director said.

She pointed out that participants were also encouraged to enter items in Speech, Drama and Music that speak to the benefits of PATH.


By E. HARTMAN RECKORD, JIS Information Officer