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Jamaica Performing Arts Centres
Where Creativity Comes Alive

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campion_college_dancers_at_campana_2011Jamaica Performing Arts Centres | Where Creativity Comes Alive

By Venesha Johnson | Associate Writer

There was time when going to the theatre to watch plays was one of the best past time for Jamaicans. Things had certainly died down  for a while in the world of theatre performance here in Jamaica, but over the last few years we have been seeing where things are turning around for the better and the stages of our theatres are coming alive again.

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But where do our people, children and adults alike practice for these live shows, where do they hone their skills? These performing arts centres not only put on a show, but will help you become apart of it. 

1. The Philip Sherlock Centre for the Creative Arts (PSCCA)

Nestled within the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona Campus, the Philip Sherlock Centre for the Creative Arts (PSCCA) stands as a testament to the vision of Sir Philip Sherlock, a literary genius and pioneer of creative expression in Jamaica. Established in February 1968, the PSCCA has become the beating heart of the UWI Mona Campus, earning its reputation as the "creative nucleus" of the region. With its state-of-the-art exhibition hall and theatre, the PSCCA is a haven where artistic souls converge and creativity flourishes.

The PSCCA is more than just a venue; it's a vibrant community where artists and enthusiasts alike come together to celebrate the diverse forms of artistic expression. From soul-stirring dance performances to awe-inspiring art exhibitions, the PSCCA hosts a myriad of events that captivate audiences and leave a lasting impression. With its association with various clubs and societies like The University Singers, The University Dramatic Arts Society, and The University Dance Society, the centre fosters an environment where creativity meets community, nurturing the talents of budding artists and providing a stage for their dreams to unfold.

2. The Little Theatre

The Little Theatre was constructed on land that was acquired from the our government using money earned by the yearly pantomimes, with additional contributions from the general public over time. The theatre was established in September 1961 by Greta and Henry Fowler, and it has been operational ever since. The structure has undergone numerous changes over time to bring it into the twenty-first century.

The complex has two different facilities: The Little-Little Theatre, a smaller performance space in the style of a studio, and the Little Theatre, a fully operational theatre complete with a fly tower.

The National Dance Theatre Company, which has offices and rehearsal spaces on the property, and the Pantomime Company, the group that puts on the yearly LTM Pantomimes, is also located here.

3. The Ward Theatre

In the heart of downtown Kingston, the majestic facade of The Ward Theatre stands as a symbol of Jamaica's enduring passion for the arts. Built in 1912, this architectural masterpiece has been a beacon of cultural enrichment for over a century. Named after Charles James Ward, then Custos of Kingston, the theatre has witnessed countless moments of artistic brilliance and has been the stage for some of Jamaica's most iconic performances.

The Ward Theatre is not just a venue; it's a cultural landmark that has played a pivotal role in shaping Jamaica's artistic landscape. From spellbinding theatrical productions to soul-stirring musical performances, the theatre has been a canvas for artists to paint their dreams and share their stories with the world. Over the years, it has become a cherished institution, fostering creativity and inspiring generations of artists to push the boundaries of their craft.

4. AIR & PA-ASA Foundation

The AIR & PA-ASA Foundation, is an organization dedicated to sparking the creative imaginations of Jamaica's youth. Situated in the tranquil rural area of west St. Andrew, this foundation offers a haven for budding dancers, regardless of their age or experience. Through their Saturday dance theatre program, youths are not only given the chance to explore diverse dance forms, including jazz, hip-hop, and traditional world dances but are also provided with a platform to develop their skills and techniques.

But that's not all โ€“ AIR & PA-ASA goes above and beyond by organizing a summer performing arts camp, a transformative experience that covers an array of disciplines. From dance and speech to drama, music, and even sign language, the camp encourages artistic curiosity and exploration. Here, young minds are encouraged to embrace their creativity, fostering a lifelong love for the arts. In a relatively short span of existence, AIR & PA-ASA has successfully ignited the passion for dance in countless young individuals, guiding them towards a future filled with artistic expression and innovation.

5. First Dance Studios

Established in 2013, this multidisciplinary performing arts group has made significant contributions to Western Jamaica's artistic landscape. More than just a dance studio, First Dance Studios has become a hub for creativity, offering a diverse range of disciplines that go beyond traditional dance forms.

From dance and gymnastics to acting, music, modelling, and even taekwondo, First Dance Studios provides a holistic and enriching environment for students of all ages. Their mission? To create a centre for performing arts in Western Jamaica, where local culture is preserved, and young talents are nurtured into professionals in the arts. This dedication to nurturing young minds is reflected in their achievements, boasting an impressive collection of medals and trophies.

So, whether you're a passionate artist, a devoted enthusiast, or simply someone eager to experience the magic of Jamaica's performing arts, these centres welcome you with open arms. Come, immerse yourself in the enchanting world of theatre, dance, and music, and let the spirit of Jamaica's artistic heritage captivate your soul

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References & Sources For Jamaica Performing Arts Centres | Where Creativity Comes Alive

  1. Welcome to First Dance Studios. (n.d.).
  2. K. (2011, March 16). Taking the Performing Arts to Rural Jamaica - YardEdge. YardEdge.
  3. The Philip Sherlock Centre for the Creative Arts (PSCCA). (n.d.).
  4. Little Theatre. (n.d.).
  5. Ward Theatre. (n.d.). Ward Theatre.
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