Performing arts school

Tobago House of Assembly.
Tobago’s cultural groups want the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) to construct a school for the performing arts. However, with the meagre budget allocation they admitted that it is impossible for it to be done in this fiscal year.

The groups met Community Development and Culture Secretary Denise Tsoiafatt-Angus recently to discuss the way forward for the cultural industries in the island and put their request to her.

Tsoiafatt-Angus told this to Thursday’s debate on the $4.77 million allocation to the Assembly. She said: “The groups agreed that if we are serious about stepping into the arena of cultural industries then ideally there is a need to construct an official school for the performing arts, but they also admitted that with this meagre budget it is impossible.”

She said the groups insisted that as part of the preparation this year, investment must be made in training and certification of not just tutors as being done now, but even having a curriculum for students that were connected to certification. She said they also welcomed training in grant proposal writing and business development to improve their opportunities to capture external funding and manage their art as a business.

She said there was a significant call to do more research into all of the art forms to preserve the authenticity of Tobago’s heritage and they fully endorsed the extended heritage initiative as an opportunity to improve Tobago’s economic standing and likewise the need to rebrand Tobago’s Carnival as a tourism product.

Tsoiafatt-Angus said it was heartening when many persons and groups agreed to volunteer their services to the new initiative from the Division to provide a Caravan of “Cheer and Care” for the less fortunate at the prisons, children’s homes and senior citizen’s homes.

She also announced that the Festival Commission, recognising the need for assisting smaller bands to get started earlier, will made a partial distribution of grants in November at a pre-launch event for Carnival 2014.

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