Mon | Jan 21, 2019

JCDC’s 55th festival season to open with islandwide workshops

Published:Saturday | November 11, 2017 | 12:00 AMShereita Grizzle
Second-place winner Dannareo Fearon performing ‘Order My Steps’ at the JCDC Jamaica Gospel Song Competition Final at the National Arena earlier this year.
Winner of the 2017 JCDC Jamaica Gospel Song Competition, Shaughna-Lee Steele, collecting her grand prize of $500,000 presented by the Minister of culture, gender, entertainment and sport Olivia Grange.
JCDC Festival Song winner for 2012, Abbygaye 'Abby' Dallas, in performance.
Participants prepare their meal during the 2017 Jamaica Culinary Arts Competition.
Some of the participants who competed for this year’s crown of the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission Miss Saint James Festival Queen.

With the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) set to celebrate 55 years come 2018, the organisation has decided to open next year's festival season with islandwide development workshops.

With a mandate to unearth, develop, promote and preserve the creative talents and cultural expressions of the Jamaican people in mind, the aim of the workshops is to help participants, who will be showcased in the 2018 festival cycle and during JCDC's 55th anniversary celebrations, to learn the background to their craft and to hone that talent.

The Festival of the Performing Arts workshops are a prelude to the Festival of the Performing Arts competition, which begins in January 2018 with auditions. The workshops, conducted by trained personnel, proficient in the various performance areas, aim to advance training, address areas of weakness seen in the 2017 competition, and highlight those entering the competition for the first time. The workshops will also address the development needs of the various subject areas as well as any changes to the performing arts rules and guidelines. Some workshops will span two days and are open to individuals, teachers, students, community groups, youth clubs, social clubs, performing arts clubs and church groups. Costs for the workshop range from $1,000 to $2,500 and will help to cover lunch, workshop material and certificates. The workshops got under way on November 7 and will run until December 5.

The Festival of the Performing Arts, is a part of the JCDC's yearlong programme of cultural activities, which seeks to preserve the best of Jamaica's culture, while unearthing, developing and showcasing the talents of the Jamaican people.

Entries for the 2018 competitions are now being accepted but will close on Friday, December 1, 2017. Entry forms and additional information on the workshops can be found online at, at the JCDC head office, 3-5 Phoenix Avenue, Kingston 10, and all JCDC parish offices islandwide.

Explaining that a year's worth of work goes into preparing for each calendar of festival activities, Stephen Davidson, director of marketing and public relations at the JCDC, stressed the importance of having the workshops.

"What persons see on stage is really the culmination of a year-long process," he said. "As soon as we end the annual Emancipation and Independence celebrations, the JCDC is in preparation and execution mode for the following year. Our year begins with the opening of entries and a series of intense workshops in the various arts - performing (music, speech, drama, dance, traditional folk forms), literary, culinary, visual and unique arts."