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Absolute Theatre/Mona Heights School Linking Project

This British Council-funded project is a collaboration between Absolute Theatre; Godwin School (UK); Godwin's twin, Mona Heights Primary, as well as the nearby Mona High School; and the Edna Manley College for the Visual and Performing Arts.


Following the success in 2002 of Absolute Theatre's production of The Crow Gate (a large scale modern opera with a specially commissioned script and modern, dance based music, created in conjunction with eight schools in the London Borough of Newham), Absolute Theatre is enthusiastic about the prospect of creating a piece of work to meet the objectives and aspirations of Godwin and itís partner school Mona Heights.

The Process

A professional production team, including Composer Simon Fraser, Creative Director Andrew Harries, and Playwright Peter Cann, who visited Jamaica recently, began the process by visiting and running workshops in the schools. The ideas and preoccupations brought to life by these sessions, together with extensive local and historical research, will form the basis of the script for the piece, a musical adventure story with elements of local history and culture.

Aims of the Project

We expect that the collaborative process of creating theatre will have a powerful impact on students and teachers, and help them with social and life skills including team work, creativity and self expression and presentation. Absolute Theatre's all-inclusive approach is designed to allow the input of teachers and students alike, and a wide range of students will be involved in the production - i.e. not just those who are featured onstage.

The production - tenatively titled 'Echo in the Stone' will:

  • explore and celebrate areas of both common ground and cultural diversity
  • explore the shared experiences, concerns and aspirations of the children taking part
  • be mounted in Jamaica, but will also involve (most probably through the use of video and audio elements) pupils from Godwin.

success stories...

WebI (web-eye) School Linking Pilot
September to December 2002

WebI was launched on Monday September 9, 2002 at the Courtleigh Hotel & Suites. For more information on the project visit the WebI page and see photos from the launch, or take a peek at some photos from the Environment photo shoot in the beautiful Blue Mountains.

The performing arts have delivered dynamic and positive results in fostering and developing self-esteem, and self-awareness in inner-city youth, as well as in the honing of talents (the Area Youth Project is a great example). We believe the visual arts are capable of generating equally significant results, and photography is the genre we have chosen for our 2002/03 school linking project, WebI.

WebI will establish photography clubs at 4 pilot schools in the Corporate Area, and Central and Western Jamaica. In collaboration with the Photography Club of Jamaica and the Edna Manley College for the Visual and Performing Arts, we have planned a programme which we hope to have a positive effect on the development of photography in Jamaica as a profession, and as an art form, while positively impacting the youth of Jamaica.

    WebI aims to:
  • Forge links between schools in Jamaica and the United Kingdom, leading to an appreciation and understanding of different cultures
  • Introduce photography and journalism, and show how we can use them to communicate
  • Develop self-esteem, and critical faculties to appreciate different perspectives

coming soon...

Carl Campbell Dance Company 7: Respect Tour
February 2003

Carl Campbell Dance Company 7 (CCDC7) will conduct a series of residencies in Jamaican schools and colleges, from 3 to 28 February 2003. The residencies will culminate in a sharing presentation at the Phillip Sherlock Centre for the Creative Arts, on Wednesday 26 February. The schools participating in the residencies include Clonmel Primary/Junior High and Epsom All Age in St Mary, Excelsior and Tivoli High in Kingston, and the Edna Manley College for the Visual and Performing Arts.

CCDC7 working with young people in the UK.

CCDC7 Respect Jamaica tour members are: Carl Campbell (Founder/Artistic Director), Deborah Biddulph and Karen Foster (Dancers) and Kathy O'Brien (Administrator/Fundraiser). With this tour, CCDC7 will be celebrating their 25th anniversary.

Jamaica Jubilee Photography Awards
20 February to 29 March 2002

Tony Wong, Grand Prizewinner, shows off his entry - 'Jason' to UTECH President Dr Rae Davis, Earl Jarrett, General Manager Jamaica National Building Society, who was Guest speaker at the Awards Ceremony, and Mrs Pat Ramsay, Director, Arts and Culture, UTECH. The British Council organised the Jamaica Jubilee Photography Competition to mark the visit of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II to Jamaica on the occasion of her Golden Jubilee. An exhibition of selected photographs from the competition was mounted at the University of Technology's Centre for the Arts. Tony Wong, grand prize winner for his photo 'Jason' is pictured here showing off his winning entry. You can click on the picture to visit our photo gallery, or view some of the highlights of the awards ceremony by clicking on the links in the report below.

Winners in the Children's Category (15 and under) are in italics.
Special congrats to our Grand Prizewinners, Tony Wong and Kyle Wright!

  • Jamaican Majesty
  • Environmental Photojournalism
    • "Visitors in Garbage Heap" - Rosa Lym
    • "Untitled" - Conroy Thorpe
  • Endemic and Endangered Species
    • "Ringtail Pigeons" - Hugh Vaughan
    • "Good Morning Anancy" - Kyle Wright
  • People
    • "Jason" - Tony Wong
    • "Baby Sitter" - Taneisha Richards

The following persons received Certificates of Honourable Mention, and copies of "Photos and Phantasms", courtesy of the British Council:

  • Marguerite Chambers - "Exuberance of Youth"
  • Donnette Zacca - "And Still I Rise"
  • Owen Minott - "Drummer Boy"
  • Muna Issa - "Blue Mountain Peeks"
  • Jasmine N'Toutoume - "Jus' Us"
  • Roy Sweetland - "The Queens Theatre"
  • Stuart Lacy - "Our National Bird"
  • Lorna Morrison - "Jamaica Burning"
  • Karen Weller - "Chapel in the Woods"

The judges were:

  • Dr Petrine Archer-Straw, Art Historian
  • Dr David Boxer, Curator of the National Gallery of Jamaica
  • Ms Maria LaYacona, 1972 Silver Musgrave Medallist for Photography
  • Mr Deryck Roberts, Advertising/Arts Consultant
  • Dr David Smith, Managing Director, Business & Environmental Mgt Systems

The exhibition was curated by Paula Daley, artist/lecturer at the Edna Manley College for the Visual and Performing Arts, and Andrew Smith, President of the Photography Club of Jamaica.

The Grand Prize in the Adult Section was a return ticket to London, courtesy of British Airways, and in the Children's Section - Kodak photographic equipment, courtesy of Amalgamated Distributors Limited, exclusive distributors of Kodak Products in Jamaica.

Other prizes included a return ticket to a Caribbean destination (Air Jamaica), Books and 1-yr memberships with the Royal Photographic Society, Weekend for a family of four at Starfish Trelawny Beach, Book vouchers from Bolivar Bookshop and Gallery, Weekend for 2 at Starlight Chalet and Health Spa, and an 'Adevnture Weekend' for 2 at Windsor Research Centre in the Cockpit Country.

Travelling Light, and Into the West
24 November to 8 December, 2001

The British Council in Jamaica, in collaboration with the Jamaica School of Drama, Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, hosted a tour by the British Theatre Company Travelling Light last year. The tour was a great success - some 1,000 schoolchildren were enabled to see them perform free of charge, through local sponsorship, and Director Greg Banks conducted workshops with students from the Edna Manley College and Ardenne High School, and with teachers and storytellers from across the island.

INTO THE WEST is a story of today, inspired by a legend from Irelandís past. It was originally produced as a movie, with the same name. The touring cast, which included 2 members of the original cast who developed the script along with Banks, got great reviews in the Jamaican newspapers:

  • "The performance was a cornucopia of wit, drama and action, with an important message to boot."
    • Sunday Gleaner, 16 Dec 2001
  • "The music by Thomas Johnson was phenomenal." / "I found the script a brilliant work of art, employing all the story-telling devices and techniques in such a remarkably creative way."
    • Weekend Observer, 7 Dec 2001
  • "Every theatre practitioner in Jamaica should make it a point of duty to see the show, it's sheer theatre magic."
    • Gleaner, 1 Dec 2001

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