Monday, 4 January 2016

PRAISING PANTOMIME: Three elite actresses reflect on the LTM’s journey to 75

“There is nothing like live theatre, and as Jamaicans we owe it to our children to expose them to live theatre because there’s something magical about the experience.” So says acclaimed stage director and UWI-based lecturer Dr. Brian Heap, reflecting on the core appeal of the annual LTM pantomime, which is now celebrating 75 years of folklore, family fun and wholesome entertainment. He’s not alone in this assessment, as many of his colleagues in the industry feel the same way. TALLAWAH caught up with a handful of our most popular and accomplished thespians to hear their thoughts on the LTM’s huge milestone:


“Acting in the pantomime was a major part of my early theatrical career. It’s where I first learg 75 years this year, I think it’s a major, major achievement in terms of tradition in local theatre. [Pantomime] is where I met and got to work with a lot of the pioneers like Leonie [Forbes], Oliver [Samuels] and Volier [Johnson] in the late 80s and early 90s. So it’s one ofned to act, and it contributed to my growth as an actress. So to hear that the pantomime is celebrating the best experiences of my life.” – Terri Salmon, currently starring in Bangarang at Green Gables

“First of all, for any cultural institution to reach 75 years is a remarkable achievement in itself. The arts in Jamaica lack the consistent support required to achieve accomplishments like this. So I admire how the LTM has been able to continue showcasing the folklore and new talents while exposing existing talents. I wish them 75 more years.” – Dahlia Harris, who wrote, produced and directed this season’s Same Difference

“Being the longest-running theatre [tradition] in Jamaica is a great achievement, and to have been a part of that is very humbling. I still feel like I’m a part of the Pantomime Company. I did 10 consecutive pantomimes, and it’s where I got all my training because when I started out I wasn’t a trained actress. So I’m honoured to have had that experience. And I’d love to do one more pantomime. Kudos to Barbara Gloudon for keeping the flag flying, and to the stalwarts like Brian Heap and Bobby Clarke, who have directed some of the best pantomimes over the years.” – Nadean Rawlins, whose latest directorial effort (a revival of Aston Cooke’s Concubine?) is on at the Fairfield Theatre in Montego Bay



&g; MORE FROM BRIAN: “It’s fantastic that we got to 75 years because if you travel around Jamaica you don’t see much of an institution going on for 75 years. The LTM has served the community well. The pantomime comes from the people, so we can’t lose sight of the fact that the LTM has been very influential over time. What worries me is what’s in store for the next 75 years.” (Heap directed 15 pantomimes, the all-time record.)






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