Sun | Dec 11, 2016

Roy Hall Scholarship goes up by a degree

Published:Friday | September 12, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Contributed Ricardo McFarlane (left), the most recent Roy Hall Memorial Scholarship award recipient, receives his award from Eloine Hall, president of the Roy Hall Scholarship Foundation, earlier this year.

Annual fundraiser at The Deck on Sept 28

Mel Cooke, Gleaner Writer

Now into its 14th year, the Roy Hall Memorial Scholarship, which is awarded to a final-year School of Drama student at the Edna Manley College of the Visual Arts annually, has gone up by a degree - literally.

Eloine Hall, who spearheads the scholarship named for her late husband, actor and broadcaster, Roy Hall, says with pride that the tuition payment now goes to a degree student at the Arthur Wint Drive, St Andrew, institution. This means, though, that more money has to be gathered to fund the scholarship recipient's last often exhausting push towards completion.

fundraiser target

So while the contribution in 2012 was $163,000, last year it rose to $284,000, where it remains - for now, at least. That, therefore is the target of this year's fundraiser at The Deck, 14 Trafalgar Road, New Kingston, on Sunday, September 28.

It goes from 5 p.m. until "the last man leaves", Hall said. "The Deck is not a place where we have to lock down at any given time."

She said the event will feature the 50/50 Band and a deejay who will provide recorded music. There will be a brief talk - not to interrupt the party - with past scholarship recipients at the break. "We really want them to speak for themselves and say what they are up to and what the scholarship has done for them. We need to have their input. Without them, we would not have any fund," Hall said.

Admission is $1,500, with food and drink on sale.

Looking back at the number of years the scholarship has been functioning, Hall said, "We have come of age." It has taken considerable effort to maintain the commitment of funding one student's tuition for an academic year, Hall saying, "If it is possible, and we have the funds, we might assist another person. But we are committed to funding one person."

The scholarship grew out of an annual home-based lyme around hambone and gungo soup centred around the late Roy Hall for over two decades until he died in 1998. The group of his friends not only carried on the tradition, but also decided, on the suggestion of his brother, to establish the scholarship in Hall's honour.

Hall once described her late husband as "a serious theatre man." He was also multifaceted, playing with the band Blue Notes in England after World War II. In Jamaica, on radio, he was involved in Teenage Dance Party and Jamaica Bandstand and as an actor, Hall was a member of Jamaica Playhouse. He played Dr Gordon in the film, Passion and Paradise, with Rod Steiger.

All this was in addition to his career in broadcasting.

Past recipients of the Roy Hall Memorial Scholarship include Monique Ceasar (2001), Cassandra Henry (2003), Carl Samuels (2004), Troy Chambers (2006), Mervin Spence (2008). Jodi-Ann Robinson (2011) and Rachael Allen (2012). When the scholarship was started in 2001, the required tuition was about $30,000.

good recipients

Despite the changes in amount and by degree, the academic and acting stipulations remain the same. This turns up awardees who carry through after graduation from the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, Hall saying "We are fortunate, as so far, we have not missed with anyone. They have been good recipients. They are on stage, they are on screen, they are teaching. They have done us proud."

Hall said the most recent recipient, Ricardo McFarlane, will be teaching in Mandeville, Manchester. In addition, she commented, he is "busy, busy all over the place".

The Roy Hall Memorial Scholarship recipients' activities are in keeping with the spirit of the man in whose name it was established. "We want them to be active in society," Hall said.