Arts & Entertainment, Letters & Opinion

Future Creatives Should Not Count on Saint Lucia if They Want to Score the Walcott Prize

By Little Black Girl

“IF you have passion, there is no need for excuses because your enthusiasm will trump any negative reasoning you might come up with. Enthusiasm makes excuses a nonissue”, a quote by Wayne Dyer

The “Arts” in St. Lucia has been suffering for a very long time.  I will, for the purposes of this article, remove music from the discussion because it’s been a little better for musicians.  But when it comes to Theatre Arts, especially stage plays, dancing and poetry writing, our ancestors are devoid of resting in peace.  We hypocritically celebrate our Noble Laureates especially Walcott, the giant creative, with mediocre performances and lack-luster instruction.

It is my belief that out of all the Theatre Arts teachers in St. Lucia, there are only five of them, (if so many), with passion and enthusiasm.  Notwithstanding that most of them may have lost their passion and enthusiasm through our mediocre arts system. We are in dire need of support, collaboration, resources, passion and great enthusiasm.  Those who have it, painstakingly pour their all into their work only to be blocked on the left and victimized on the right.  Their countenances are aged and haggard with wide disparities to their real chronological born-day entrance; It’s sad and soul-killing.  We repeat the cliche’ “The children are our Future” however, when I attempt to imagine that future, I get a taser-gun panic attack.  You may be wondering why I sound so hurt and despondent concerning creativity here in St. Lucia, but then again, you may understand immediately and know exactly where it hurts.  Creativity is the bedrock of individuality.  Outside of our daily jobs and occupations, we are all innately creative to our core.  We are all artists, dancers, painters, actors, architects, singers, and the list could go on and on like an infinite mathematical Venn Diagram class.

On March 13th, 2024, I attended Theatre Billboard 2024, the presentation was dubbed “Laureates on Display”.  The responsible officer for Theater Arts for the island is a walking ball of enthusiasm and passion.  She lives and breathes everything to do with theatre and its varying modules.  She had spoken so highly of the efforts by the schools in the south and was looking forward to the same replicate from the Northern and Castries basin.  Suffice it to say, I was excited to be invited because in my head, I am a great dancer like Janet Jackson and boy I have lyrics more than any man trying to shoot his shot at a damsel.  I gleefully pranced into the Vladmir Theatre Centre for the Arts in Gros Islet intending to be at least pleasantly surprised by the schools which were expected to perform their various pieces.

First, only three to four schools were in attendance and notwithstanding my need to express my doubtful gratitude, I couldn’t help but question the sources of instruction for the pieces on display.  Most of the schools required to be there, never showed up and then the quality of the plays was bleak to say it kindly.  What is really going on in our sweet St. Lucia?  Are we only interested in carnival?  Now please fall back if you’re a reveler because I like the melody in Ked-ek too.  My concern is that we are letting our youth down bigtime.  We don’t seem to be interested in them enough to teach them that the correct thing to say when doing a jab dance is “woi woi mi jab la”, “kee lear eeyay” and not “ee yay ee yay”.  The kids are talented, but it is painfully obvious that we are not honing in on their skills.  We are not interested in creating stars, we do not love them enough to hear their voices ring through mics with the rhetoric of great actors and actresses.  We are simply lazy, uninterested, and uninspiring.  My heart broke when I saw the lack of interest from the top down.  Not one Ministry of Education Official, not many teachers to encourage greatness, not a Minister in sight, not a pekko.   Way, way, way, way, ah wha wee, according to our local parlance.  I just had to say something.

This is a plea article, please save our kids, save our young men and women, and help them become sustainable human beings.  Their narratives are traumatic and that won’t augur well for us.  Teachers please, if you’re not interested in making a difference in our children’s lives, the ones we call our future, please leave the teaching profession, and go elsewhere.  But if you’re passionate about the profession, do it with pride and do it so that it can be reflected on stage. Please I beg, we must aim to be great and consistently so.  I hope this message will spark a little interest in the instruction of the Arts, especially Theater.

To those who are working incessantly, I just want to personally thank you for your commitment.  You do have your reward in the success of your students, there is still hope, I hope.

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