AWARD WORTHY: Lemaire has a special moment with Nadean Rawlins.
Over the course of its storied five-decade existence, the Edna Manley College’s School of Drama has churned out many of the region’s exemplary theatre practitioners and all-around artists. So little surprise that the venerable institute was unanimously selected as this year’s recipient of the special Actor Boy Award for Excellence in Jamaican theatre. But for long-serving lecturer and stage director Pierre Lemaire, such an award evokes bittersweet sentiments, given their ongoing struggles to acquire sufficient financial support to satisfactorily produce the kind of first-rate graduates the school has become known for.
“Well, we know that the government doesn’t really have money to put into the arts at this point. And it’s also difficult for education, so we have been accustomed to manage and rely on creativity. So we keep going on creativity,” Lemaire explains to TALLAWAH after Monday night’s awards ceremony in Kingston. “But, of course, at some point it becomes difficult. Like now. We have more students wanting to come to School of Drama, and we don’t have enough space. So what we really need now is more space, more studios, so we can take more students. That’s really where the problem is.”
As Lemaire puts it, optimism remains the predominant driving force at play at the School of Drama. “We have been hoping from 1976 that we get more support, so we are still hoping,” emphasizes Lemaire, who just wrapped a run of his latest directorial effort One Smart Pig. “But we are accustomed to working with what we have, so we plan to continue doing that until something comes.”