National Drama Festival a resounding success – ministry

The Ministry of Culture has lauded the talent and commitment displayed by all the participants who thrilled audiences at the recently concluded National Drama Festival.

In a press release the ministry said the festival was held from May 30 – June 5 and saw participation from hundreds of persons across the country. Over 500 performers including upcoming actors, directors and producers as well as seasoned dramatists delighted audiences at the National Cultural Centre. About 30 creative plays were performed by schools, groups and independent dramatic theatrical organisations vying to win coveted titles and $2 million in cash and prizes from cell phone company Digicel. Eighteen plays from the Open and School and Youth Group categories were selected at the preliminary competition held between May 14 and May 21.

“The participants displayed discipline, creativity and zest that led to competent acting and the execution of their plays,” the ministry said. Among the young performers the International Business Institute’s This is Guyana came in for high plaudits for the use of Indian dialect. Queen’s College second form students also won rave reviews for their play I-Phone Diasata along with Gems Theatre Youth Workshop’s Enough is Enough and Ascension Secondary School’s Ah Who In Charge of We. Upcoming Director Tivia Collins was also given honourable mention for Shadows. The audiences also loved Jamal LaRose who single-handedly produced, directed and acted his own play called I Am Man.

In the junior category Ascenion Secondary School won the majority of the awards – Best Production, Best Use of Lighting, Best Original One Act and Best Use of Sound. The New Amsterdam Multilateral School won the Best Costume Award for Odale’s Choice while the Best Original Full Length play went to Youth Challenge Guyana for the play A Child Scorned.  Gems Theatre carted off the Best Set Award and the Best Director Award.

In the individual awards in the junior category Ascension again carried away most of the awards. Jamal Younge won for his portrayal of “Brother”; Candacy Anderson won the first runner-up award for Best Actress for her portrayal as “Ruth”. The actress from the IBE won this award for her portrayal of “Lilouttie.” The Best Supporting Actress award was won by Imani Anthony for her role as “Sister” and Vinay Punwa of the New Amsterdam school won the Best Actor award for his role as “King Creo”. Punwa was also voted the Most Outstanding Performer.

In the open category, Full Hundred won the Best Original Full Length, Best Costume and Best Use of Sound awards. The Best Use of Lighting and Best Set awards went to Swingers on the Playground while Shadows stole the Best Original Act award. Shadows beat out its competitors in the Best Director, Best Actor in a lead role (Kijani Lewis), Best Supporting Actor (Lynyus Adams) and Best Supporting Actress (Lisa Punch) awards. Sonia Yarde won the Best Actress in a lead role award for her role in Swingers and Tamika Henry for her role in Full Hundred. The Best Production award went to Full Hundred followed by Shadows and Swingers.

The ministry also commended Henry Rodney, Ron Robinson, Malcolm DeFreitas, Richard Narine, Yarde and Lavonne George for their contribution to the festival’s success. This was greatly aided by the dedication and commitment demonstrated by Director of Culture James Rose, Fred Christian, Dr Paloma Mohammed, Al Creighton, Margaret Lawrence and Godfrey Naughton Henry.

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