The Barbados Association of Drama Educators has been lauded for demonstrating to this island’s youth that drama and art are valuable to the society as well as viable career and business options.
Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Science, Technology and Innovation, Senator Harry Husbands, praised the group over the weekend during the launch of the seventh Caribbean Secondary Schools’ Drama Festival at Divi Southwinds resort.
He commended BADE and the Caribbean Secondary Schools’ Drama Association for reviving the festival, which is slated for December 8 to 15 in Barbados.
Husbands further acknowledged the support of the Maria Holder Memorial Trust, the Cultural Development Programme of the Inter-American Development Bank, and the Arts and Sports Fund for providing grant funding to make the event a reality.
Insisting that BADE was extremely perceptive in its work, Husbands said, “I was drawn to the mission statement of the organisation, which in my view marries three important elements – to create a theatre aesthetic in Barbadian schools through the exposure of the arts; the promotion of the arts as a viable career choice; and, the facilitation and development of drama educators.”
Recalling that parents of “yesteryear” would discourage their children from pursuing a career in the creative industry, he said: “[Back then, parents would say] you cannot get a job doing that, [but] we know differently today.”
He urged the educators to also share with the students the value of the arts in education and in life.
“While it is important that we expose our young people to the theatre and the arts in the context of developing employment opportunities, we also ought not to ignore, the value of theatre and the arts. In education, we spend a lot of time stressing that the value of education and training is for seeking employment … [but] I say you should never lose sight of the value – that we read Shakespeare and George Lamming, for the sake of reading it; even if no job [is] associated at the end with reading George Lamming or Shakespeare, but it has value in and of itself and it is important for human development,” he reasoned.
The education official suggested it was critical to develop this aesthetic in young people. He also emphasised that at the same time, it was important to stress the value of these activities in the search for employment.
Husbands further noted that the drama festival could only enhance the skills of the participants and advised youngsters to take advantage of the inter-regional experience.
“I would recommend to the young students who are participating in the festival in December, if nothing else comes out of it that is productive and meaningful, interact with your colleagues and friends from throughout the region – that is an educational experience in itself,” he said.
He also praised BADE members for enhancing their professional skills in a wider effort to improve the quality of the drama and the way the art form was viewed by fellow teachers.