Tue | Sep 24, 2019

ASHE to create Otaheite Kingdom

Published:Thursday | December 27, 2018 | 12:00 AMMarcia Rowe/Gleaner Writer
The ASHE Company's Executive Director Conroy Wilson.
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Twenty-five years is a long time in the life of any organisation and is often a journey marked with success and challenges. It is also a time when the organisation explores the prospects of passing on leaderships roles to the next generation.

This is something the Ashe Company's Executive Director, Conroy Wilson, is aware of, and at last Saturday's 25th anniversary gala, held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel, he outlined the company's plans for the next 25 years.

"Ashe must continue, and our job is to leave it better than we got it. It is a legacy of excellence," he said.

And so, the executive body has created a social enterprise, called Otaheite Kingdom. In choosing the name, Wilson explains, "Overseas apple is expensive, and Apple stores are always full, as people are always buying Apple products. We also want to be the Disney of the Caribbean. So Disney does musical theatre, movies, theme parks - the whole spectrum of the arts. We want to use the Apple concept and call it Otaheite as the Jamaican otaheite apple, and the Disney magic kingdom. We coined both concepts to make it Jamaican."

 

Thunderous applause

 

The Ashe Othetite Kingdom even has its own logo, which was presented to thunderous ap-plause. In describing the logo, Wilson noted, "It is cleaner - in the form of a baton, with the colours of the Jamaican flag on the right and Ashe's vibrant orange to the left."

The Ashe Othetite Kingdom will be at the company's present location. The director explained, "In 2018, I am proud to tell you that we own 8 Cargil Avenue. We are constructing a four-storey building at the back to house our IMC (filming, multimedia) house, our theatre, and a cafÈ because we are now a social enterprise."

There is also the Ashe Othetite Foundation, which has been opened in New York to help young people who want to get into the arts.

They also have a new television series called Chill, commissioned by USAID, with the Ministry of Health on board. Wilson said that the purpose of the series, which will be aired on Netflix, is to reach various audiences "in a way that they are not turned off".

Wilson said that their late co-founder, Joseph Robinson, instilled the concept of empowerment to the Ashe members "because if you are empowered, you can make healthy choices". As a result, a GPA society has also been created by a group of young professionals who are not in the field of theatre.

Additionally, they are training persons in the Turks and Caicos Islands to develop something similar to what Ashe is doing in Jamaica in the performing arts.