Ashe to get city keys

Observer writer

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

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A resolution was passed at the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation's (KSAMC) monthly meeting recommending that 25-year-old performing arts outfit, Ashe Company, be given the keys to the city.

The meeting took place on Tuesday, November 13.

The resolution, which described the performing arts company, as a “sterling example of what is good about Jamaica,” was moved by People's National Party (PNP) Councillor Andrew Swaby (Vineyard Town division) and seconded by Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Councillor Andrew Bellamy.

Pointing to the emphasis the company places on cultural retention and its commitment to renew and transmit Afro Jamaican/Caribbean culture, the resolution stated that Ashe performances recognised “the inherent dignity and creativity as expressed by our cultural heritage.”

Ashe's contribution to performance theatre and edutainment is recognised by several government and non-governmental entities the resolution stated.

“The company has developed and published numerous educational guides and teaching tools in performing arts, which are widely used in Jamaica and the Caribbean reinforcing the role of the performing arts as a contribution to national development.

“The company has unlocked the true potential and capabilities of our young persons across Jamaica; providing avenues for cultural expression and economic endeavour ... and has made a difference in guiding and developing the lives of young people,” the resolution stated.

Started by Paulette Bellamy and Joseph Robinson in 1993, Ashe has endured the growing pains and carved out a niche for itself, specialising in what it calls 'edutainment', which uses the performing arts as a conduit to impart knowledge and training on some serious social issues.

Robinson, who hailed from Turks & Caicos, died in 2005.

Today, the company is run by two of its founding members — Conroy Wilson, who serves as executive director; and artistic director Michael Holgate. Both are pleased with where the company is now and look forward to continue the tradition of its founders while taking the company into a new era.

The Ashe Company, which has received more that 20 international awards for excellence in the performing arts and innovativeness in education (edutainment) for community transformation, was a participant at the Parliament of the World's Religions in Toronto Canada, from November 1-7. More than 10,000 people from 80 nations attended the event.

Earlier last week, a resolution was passed for the National Dance Theatre Company and Stella Maris Ensemble be given the city's keys.

No official date has been set for the ceremonies.

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