The Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture Annual E. Clement Bethel National Arts Festival opened in Grand Bahama on Tuesday, April 18 with an explosion of talent from students at St. George’s High School.
The first round of adjudications took place at St. George’s High School Gymnasium with students showcasing their talent in drama and music.
Adjudicators from the capital, who will have covered 16 islands in the coming weeks, are in Grand Bahama for the next 10 days and will travel to various schools and venues to facilitate the national arts competition which features music, dance, art and drama. The festival is open for all from age two to adult.
Sonovia Pierre, Organizing Secretary for the National Arts Festival and Senior Cultural Affairs Officer at the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture explained that things are being done differently this year and the team will be hosting drama performances for the remainder of the week at the C.A. Smith Building and Vocals at Mary Star of the Sea Catholic Academy.
With some 25 schools on Grand Bahama entered this year from primary to high school and community groups, the team of six Ministry officials and five adjudicators will be moving around to some of the schools next week for arts and crafts, carpentry and fashion.
All band performances, such as pop and jazz, that require staging and lighting will be held at the Belinda Wilson Convention Centre.
Having conducted drama adjudications virtually over the last two years, Philip Burrows, who is the artistic director at the Dundas Centre for the Performing Arts, said it is no comparison to the in-person experience.
“It’s great to see it back in the form that it is supposed to be in as far as I’m concerned because judging via zoom is quite a little different than judging when you’re seeing them in person and they’re standing up there and them doing it. So you get to see all the nuances and everything that they’ve worked on and so that’s been really refreshing,” he said.
Burrows had a few pointers for the contestants following their performance pointed out that participation in the festival doesn’t necessarily mean one will come away with aspirations of becoming an actor, rather, it helps those from all walks of life to develop into a well-rounded individual, speak comfortably in front of a group of people and builds confidence.
The Annual E. Clement Bethel National Arts Festival is being held through May 18, 2023.
By LEDEDRA MARCHE/Bahamas Information Services