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|Second National Drama Festival launched|
|Sunday, 10 June 2012 21:02|
THE Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport, last Friday launched its Second National Drama Festival, catering for writers and groups of dramatists across the country.
The launching activity took place in the conference room of the Ministry on Main Street, in Georgetown. The festival caters for the development of all the skills associated with the nation’s writers, dramatists and producers and it is a structured, national effort to promote and improve playwriting and every aspect of theatre production.
This second year sees the festival accommodating younger enthusiasts from primary schools and there is also a call for entries to the playwriting and drama competitions.
There is firstly the junior category made up of secondary schools, religious groups, culture groups and all other types of youth groups; and the Senior or Open Category. The secondary school segment of the festival will be managed by the Ministry of Education Allied Arts Department.
The Coordinating Committee’s first step with regard to the inclusion of primary schools into the festival will see the limited invitation of primary schools to participate as guests under the guidance of one of Guyana’s leading dramatists.
The ministry is urging children to treat rehearsals or school entrants during the upcoming August holidays as a ‘summer holiday activity’ where a top professional actor from its pool of mentors will act as teacher and guide.
Also, according to the ministry, a lucrative space has been made available to Guyanese writers in the 2012 festival, and those who have plays (published or unpublished) that they may like to see performed in the festival, may submit relevant details of the work and their contact information for uploading to the National Drama Festival link on the ministry’s website and Facebook page.
The coming months will be characterised by an unprecedented schedule of dramatic activities aimed at streamlining and supporting all performers with knowledge of theatre norms, stage usage, set, lights and sound designing and judging criteria, culminating with the Grand Award Ceremony on October 25, 2012 at the National Cultural Centre.
The closing date for all submissions is August 31, 2012 and the organisers are looking at a certain number of entries in each category. All relevant information on the festival can be accessed on the ministry’s website mcys.gov.gy or the NDF Facebook Account.
Minister of Culture, Youth and Sport, Dr. Frank Anthony, speaking at the launching of the 2012 festival said that they are now making this a calendar event, noting, “After last year’s inaugural festival, we made this commitment that we wanted to see this particular festival happen every year”.
He said a vigorous review of the last festival was done to try and expand and improve it, and one of the things that came out of that review is that they needed to shift the timing of the festival, to have an opportunity to go out to various communities and reach out to various schools, while getting more persons to participate in the festival and to also offer them an opportunity to be trained and so forth.
“In the press, I think it was well received and the dramatic community in Guyana has given us good reviews and they have been encouraging us to continue this process, because they see it as a festival that would assist with the development of drama in Guyana,” he noted.
He said apart from improved productions that will be seen throughout the year at the cultural centre and other regional facilities, “we think that this can also lay the basis for us to nurture a film industry.
“And we have seen a number of local producers already emerging and trying to do films and most of them are being based locally, and we think as this festival continues and the spinoff benefits of this festival, that we will see more and more people getting into films,” he anticipated.
Dr. Anthony took the opportunity to thank the Coordinating Committee and Department of Culture, including the Festival Director Godfrey Naughton for working tirelessly on this project.
“I am very confident that as we launch this year’s festival that the groundwork that they would have done would help us to get a very successful festival,” he stated.
He also said that he is very pleased that his ministry will have a stronger collaboration with the Ministry of Education to reach out to a number of schools.
“We are expecting a lot of schools to participate in this year’s festival especially those schools that are doing literature, and we probably would see a number of the plays that they have to study for literature being part of this year’s festival,” he said.
Adding, “Apart from schools participating, we are hoping that we can attract a number of community groups and as we identify these groups, we have a number of mentors’ - people who have been in the dramatic field for years who would lend assistance to them to help them to improve their production”.
Noting that he thinks it is a “win-win for everybody”, he said, “We in the ministry, we are very, very pleased about the first one, and we think that by reviewing it and taking in the comments that we have a more improved version of this year’s festival”.
The Culture Minister said for schoolchildren and others, there are many benefits from participating in this festival, including helping to build self-confidence.
He encouraged patrons to come out and support the groups participating, and also the known groups to come out and lend their support, too.
“If you want to demonstrate your commitment to the development of the dramatic arts in Guyana, here is an opportunity that wherever we are showcasing these things, whichever region we are in and we are having a show, just lend your support,” he encouraged.
“Come out, be there, encourage the children and encourage the people who are involved; that will go a long way in helping us to develop this festival,” the minister reiterated.
“I am sure once we do that; we will be building this festival to become one of the high points of our cultural calendar,” Dr. Anthony posited.
All plays entered into the 2012 National Drama Festival are required for presentation to the judges at the official preliminaries between September 22 and 30, 2012 at the National Cultural Centre, the Theatre Guild of Guyana, Lichas Hall, Linden and other venues around Guyana. Action at these venues during the preliminaries will run almost simultaneously.
Immediately after being preliminarily judged, certificates of merit or excellence will be awarded to all entrants at the end of their performance.
The National Drama Festival 2012 finals will take place at the National Cultural Centre in Georgetown beginning October 9, 2012 with a special presentation of the programme for the eight-day activity followed by a Junior Category Play. The finals will continue on to October 16, 2012.
At the finals, the writers and dramatists will receive Crystal Achievement Awards in the Junior and Senior Categories: Best Actor; Best Actress; Best Supporting Actor; Best Supporting Actress; Best Director; Best Costuming; Best Sound Design and Realisation; Best Lights Design and Realisation; Best Set Design Construction and Use; Best Original Guyanese Stage Play; (Short and Full) and Best Production.
The best production and best playwright will receive cash incentives along with their Crystal Awards accordingly: Short Length Play: Junior Category US$2,000 and Open Category US$2,500; and Full Length Play: Junior Category US$2,500 and Open Category US$5,000. Writers of plays that win in the four categories of ‘Best Original Guyanese Stage Plays’ are eligible for special awards, while several winners of other categories will also receive valuable awards.
The producers of the winning plays will be encouraged to tour the regional townships in an effort to popularise the National Drama Festival, and all assistance possible will be extended by the ministry to the touring winners.
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