Wed | Dec 13, 2017

Philip Sherlock Centre celebrates 50 years

Published:Thursday | June 29, 2017 | 12:00 AMShereita Grizzle
UWI Panoridim Orchestra.
From left are: Sir Philip Sherlock, then Vice-Chancellor of the UWI, Frank Hill, then chairman of the Institute’s Board of Governors, and Clifton Neita, then president of the Press Association of Jamaica.
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The Philip Sherlock Centre is this year celebrating its 50th anniversary.

Located on the Mona campus of the University of the West Indies, the performing arts centre is considered as the epicentre of all things cultural on the campus.

The activities to celebrate the milestone occasion were launched on Sunday, the actual date of the anniversary. The first production - the Marat/Sade - directed by Noel Vaz, was staged in the centre's unfinished building on June 25, 1967.

Surviving members of the original production were present at the ceremony, including actress Leonie Forbes, Dr Carol Ball and Professor Freddie Hickling. Michael Holgate, tutor coordinator; Dr Noel Dexter, consultant choral director to the UWI, Mona; Peter Ashbourne, Nadia Roxburgh, the centre's technical manager and Deby-Ann Stern, the Centre's arts administrator, were also in attendance at Sunday's service.

Brian Heap, director of the centre, said that while the centre is celebrating 50 years since its first production, August 2018 will mark 50 years since its official opening, and thus the celebrations will run until then.

The centre was the brainchild of Sir Philip Sherlock. He believed that it was essential to provide a place for the development of the creative imagination at the centre of the university. The centre was renamed in his honour in 1993.

In a release sent to The Gleaner, the administrators of the Philip Sherlock Centre said the institution deserves to be celebrated as an iconic cultural organisation in Jamaica. It is the home of the University Singers, the UWI 'Panoridim' Steel Orchestra, the University Chorale, the University Dramatic Arts Society, the University Dance Society, the UWI Pop Society, and the University Players; groups that have all served as cultural ambassadors on behalf of the UWI, and Jamaica, by extension.