Ward for KOTE

BY RICHARD JOHNSON Observer senior reporter

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

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LOCAL studio and performing arts festival, Kingston on the Edge (KOTE), has taken on the derelict Ward Theatre as its major project for this year.

KOTE, which runs from June 20-29, aims to bring public attention to the century-old theatre which sits on North Parade in downtown Kingston.

Co-founder of the KOTE, Enola Williams, told the Jamaica Observer, that The Ward, which has been in a state of disrepair for the past decade, has been chosen as a venue for one of its events.

"The festival features 26 events at 22 different venues over nine days, and includes a number of venues including galleries, parks, restaurants and bars," she said.

"We have always sought to highlight venues of historical and cultural significance. One of the big events for us this year is the Ward Theatre Project, which is a concert which features all types of performances which can be performed on the Ward Theatre stage — music, spoken word, theatre and dance."

This event takes place on Sunday, Williams disclosed.

"What we really want to do is open up the theatre and allow persons to enter into the space and bring awareness to the need to restore this wonderful theatre," she added.

In preparation for the event, KOTE joined with Music Unites Jamaica, The ReWard Project, Musicians Without Borders, and the Ward Theatre Foundation for last weekend's clean-up of the theatre which was built in 1912.

"We want people to come into the space... it will not be perfect, but it is our hope that once persons come in they will realise that the Ward is not damaged beyond repair and buy into the need for such a theatre to be restored," Williams said.

Some of the performers booked for Sunday's show are Alpha Boys School Orchestra, the Moder-Ashbourne Gang, No-Maddz, Stephen 'Cat' Coore, Kerry-Ann Henry, Randy McLaren, Jean Small, Ewan Simpson and Bullet Proof Clique.

KOTE's season kicks off Friday at the Redbones Blues Café with a studio and performing exposé featuring expressions in dance, music and art.

Williams noted that after seven 'seasons' it has become difficult to keep the festival fresh and relevant, but added that with growing support it becomes easier for artistes to support the events.

Other KOTE events are a gallery hop on June 26 in which patrons are encouraged to roam the Olympia, NLS, Bolivar and Nanook Galleries from 5:00 pm to 12 midnight.

"With the economic crunch and a number of galleries closing their doors it has become important to support these entities," said Williams.

KOTE closes on June 28 with a wrap party at Forever Young, located opposite the Coronation Market in downtown Kingston.




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