Sat | Mar 28, 2020

Johnny’s Place to be a hub for live entertainment

Published:Tuesday | March 24, 2020 | 12:07 AMStephanie Lyew/Gleaner Writer

Theatre is a potent art which combines light, sound and action and connects them with mind, body and soul to create intense expressions. And, no two shows are alike, but all come to life by the spaces and places in which they are presented. In Jamaica, the theatre scene has experienced many changes over the past decade, and some of the spaces that were once available have had to draw their curtains to a permanent close. One of the more popular spaces, Phoenix Theatre, closed earlier this year, forcing them to make do with smaller or inadequate alternatives.

Not surprisingly, persons within the industry have repeatedly voiced that there is a lack of dedicated theatres for plays and an even greater dearth outside the island’s capital of spaces. Actor, comedian and host, Christopher ‘Johnny’ Daley revealed that he has been working to create what he has named ‘Johnny’s Place’ in Kingston – a multipurpose centre for theatre.

According to Daley, launching a new theatre space was the plan from the start of 2020 “but with the hand the world has been dealt with the pandemic, there has been a turn of events”.

Motivation

This, however, is the motivation for the comedian to finish his script-flipping project, and while he conscious of the social climate, he continues to work with a small crew to stay on track.

“We coordinate – the electrician, the carpenter – it’s not a lot of us so the work can carry on for now,” Daley told The Gleaner. “Originally it was conceptualised as the office for Johnny Live Productions and a place to host live comedy shows, but it has literally transformed into a hub for creatives, for live music, drama and dance with the stage, lighting and all the amenities. It is also suitable for parties.”

Daley also shared that he wants to develop the skit or sketch-comedy scene in Jamaica through a Skit Comedy Night at Johnny’s Place when it finally opens its doors.

“When I travel the Caribbean, there is a lot of skit-comedies which are about five to 10 minutes long. Skit and comedy can be powerful for the discussion of a wide range of topics and I want to pursue that as well,” he said.

Acknowledging that the entertainment industry has taken a serious hit, he said, “We are unsure how long it is going to go on for, but we just have to get ready for when the time comes for us to emerge out of hiding.”

stephanie.lyew@gleanerjm.com