Edna turns 40

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A report from Jamaica’s Observer.

The Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, celebrates its 40th anniversary this year with a series of events and activities in observance of the milestone. The only college of its kind in the English-speaking Caribbean, the institution continues to offer world-class education in the arts through the Schools of Drama, Dance, Music and Visual Art.

The 40th anniversary is being observed under the theme ‘Inspiring Creativity, Impacting Lives’.

The series of celebratory activities will commence on October 9, and culminate with the Rex Nettleford Arts Conference October 2017. One of our objectives is to highlight the developments of the institution over the period and to raise public awareness of the relevance of an institution of this kind in the Caribbean.

The events kick off with a faculty dance production — Physical Labrish: critical coherence — at the School of Dance on the college campus. Included in the offerings are works in progress by Dr Nicholeen DeGrasse-Johnson featuring, Marlon Simms, Jessica Shaw, Paul Newman and Sophia McKain; Neisha-yen Jones, Patrick Earle, Neila Ebanks, Stefan Clarke; and Kerry-Ann Henry with Jessica Shaw and Camille Quamina.

This will be followed by the staging of Dennis Scott’s sociocultural play Dog, directed by Trevor Nairne at the School of Drama on October 14. Dennis Scott was director of studies of the School of Drama in 1976 and Trevor Nairne, a graduate of the School of Drama, was student director of Dog back in late 1970’s. The play will run October 14-23, 2016.

A number of individuals started programmes in both the visual and performing arts which eventually led to the creation of the schools of Dance, Drama, Music, and Visual Arts at different locations in Kingston. Forty years ago, in 1976, all four Schools were brought together and became a full-time tertiary institution under the aegis of the Cultural Training Centre, an arm of the Institute of Jamaica. Later developments saw the college being recognised as the Inter-American Centre for Caribbean Cultural Development becoming a regional cultural resource institution by the Organization of American States (OAS). The college continued to evolve and was later renamed the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in honour of the Edna Manley, OM in 1995.

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