“10 Weeks In Jamaica: Theatre Conversations from Jamaica to the World!” is a lively series of weekly discussions with Jamaica’s leading theatre artists exploring the histories and memories of–and visions for–the Jamaican stage. Produced by Boston-based international theatre production company Akiba Abaka Arts, in partnership with Kingston, Jamaica-based talent agency and production company RAW Management, the series aims to connect Jamaican theatre artists with a global platform of theatre makers looking to gain new knowledge, share best practices around progressive theatre-making, and engage members of the greater Caribbean Diaspora longing for familiar stories of home.
“10 Weeks in Jamaica” weekly conversations can be streamed live each Sunday at 4 PM; previous episodes of the series featuring Oliver Samuels O.D., Dr. Brian Heap, Dr. Deborah Hickling-Gordon, and Fae Ellington are available for on-demand viewing on the Akiba Abaka Arts YouTube page here.
The next conversation on Sunday, November 29 at 4 PM is titled Dancehall Reggae and the Nettleford Effect. The sounds and movements of Dancehall Reggae music scores the landscape of Jamaica’s cultural identity. Rooted in the Afro-Jamaican Kumina and Mento traditions, this form of popular music is among the country’s largest exports. The Honorable Rex Nettleford, OM, FIJ, OCC – a Jamaican scholar and choreographer, and co-founder of the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica – shared philosophies on the importance of contemporary Jamaican music and its linkage to pre-colonial African societies. He expressed these philosophies through dance theatre and a rigorous support for the arts in academia, as well as in the shaping of Jamaica’s national identity.
Sunday’s conversation brings together three beneficiaries of Nettleford’s legacy for a conversation on how Dancehall Reggae shows up on the Jamaican stage: Orville “Xpressionz” Hall, artistic director for Theatre Xpressionz and chief judge for Jamaica’s number one dance program “Dancing Dynamite”; Marlon D. Simms, Dean of the School of Dance and Artistic Director for the National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica; and Neila Ebanks, a dancer, choreographer and educator considered one of the Caribbean’s most innovative performing artists. The conversation is moderated by Jamaican-American theater entrepreneur, actress and director Akiba Abaka.
Upcoming programs in the series include:
Sunday, December 6, 4PM EST
JAMAICAN PLAYWRIGHTS ANSWER GEORGE BERNARD SHAW (PART 1)
Speakers: David Tulloch and Fabian Thomas
Sunday, December 13, 4PM EST
JAMAICAN PLAYWRIGHTS ANSWER GEORGE BERNARD SHAW (PART 2)
Speakers: Dahlia Harris and Amba Chevannes
Sunday, December 20, 4PM EST
QUEER NARRATIVES FROM THE JAMAICAN STAGE
Speakers: Karl Williams and Webster McDonald
Sunday, December 27, 4PM EST
LEADERS OF A NEW STAGE
Speakers: Evone Walters, Andrew Barracks and Rayon McLean
Sunday, January 3, 4PM EST
AFRO-FUTURISM AND THE JAMAICAN STAGE
Speakers: Tanya Batson Savage and Michael Holgate