Ashe celebrates 25 years with 25 free performances
In celebration of its silver anniversary as Jamaica's most prominent performing arts company, Ashe will count 25 years with 25 free performances throughout the year.
With this philanthropic move, ASHE put out a call to institutions hosting fund-raising events, at which they would give a complimentary demonstration of the troupe's talents.
"Anyone having a fundraiser could apply, but it must be for specific causes, for example, to build a school, renovate a rest room or something of the sort," special events coordinator, Ifidel Williams told The Gleaner. Ashe received approximately 70 applications, and had to narrow the pool down to 25.
Last weekend, Ashe performed its second 'give-back' performance at the Shortwood Teachers' College Evening of Excellence, in the company of reggae stalwart Freddie McGregor and songstress Etana.
"We had many requests, but we chose this event because education is very close to our hearts. We are a company of excellence, and this is what the evening is about. We also admire the college's push to ensure comfortable accommodations for their residents," executive director Conroy Wilson said.
In January, Ashe offered its complimentary service to St Hilda's Diocesan High School in Brown's Town, where there was an event hosted for the benefit of schools throughout the community.
Social Media Action
According to Williams, the troupe has expanded to include a videographer, a photographer, and a graphic designer with the mandate to effectively engage the public via social media. The move has proven to be a positive one.
"We've built out an integrated marketing team, which isn't new, but we found a strategic way to do it. It's working way better for us now than in the past," he said. To keep fans and potentials abreast of the happenings with the troupe, Ashe provides live updates during performances and displays advertisements about where to find them next.
ASHE's Celebration 'Otaheite Kingdom'
For those who are familiar with the Apple brand and the perpetual sensationalism surrounding it, Ashe hopes to incite a similar fever for their performances, themed 'Otaheite Kingdom'.
"Apple[stores] are always full. People are always going in there; it's a constant flow, because they're always coming up with something new. And Walt Disney, everyone who goes to Florida wants to go to Disney," he explained.
For their presentations this year, Williams and the troupe intend for each performance to be scintillating enough to engage that level of excitement.
"Everything will be magical and you want more," Williams said.
Later this year, ASHE will execute an 'edutainment' festival, with invitations extended to schools islandwide. Included in the festival will be master dance, drumming, and drama sessions. During the summer, they plan to host an unconventional summer school. "People aren't coming to class, but to be a part of a musical- theatre experience," he explained.
To wrap up the performance troupe's silver anniversary, they have invited Ashe members currently working around the world to reconvene in Jamaica on December 2, for an extravagant red carpet event to be held at The Jamaica Pegasus Hotel.