It started in 1992 as an experiment.
The Caribbean Secondary School Drama Festival, that is.
Being held later this year, it started when Icil Phillips who was studying directing at the time at the Festival Centre for Creative Arts, UWI, St. Augustine, met Victor Edwards who was the President of the Trinidad and Tobago Secondary Schools’ Drama Association. He was keen to carry the message and activities of Youth Theatre beyond his home land and he invited her to bring her group – the Combermere Dramatic Society – to Trinidad to participate in their festival which was held late November 1992.
The TTSSDA paid for accommodation and local transport, while Combermere Dramatic Society paid for air travel. The piece done was an adaptation of Olive Senior’s Country of the One-eye God and the students who participated were Alison Freeman, Pauline Bayley, Annese Graham, Nicole Drakes, Dyrstra Browne, Ross Clarke, Mark Jackman and Ryan Darlington.
According to Dyrstra Browne the performance at the Naparima Bowl, San Fernando by the CDS was “fantastic.”
“It was great performing with fellow Combermerians outside of Barbados, and the reaction of the large audience of school children was heartwarming. That experience solidified my desire to be a professional actor.”
This 7th Festival being staged in Barbados, was held previously in Antigua, Guyana, Jamaica. Barbadian representation at these Festivals was facilitated by the NCF through its hosting of a local schools’ drama festival and through identifying potential at NIFCA.
To date, Christ Church Foundation, Parkinson Memorial and Alexandra School have represented Barbados at the CSSDF.
The Festival, which runs from December 8-15, 2013 is being organised by the Barbados Association of Drama Educators which hosted two local drama festivals in January 2011- the Playmaking Festival and in April 2012 – the Secondary Schools’ Drama Festival.
This year’s Festival is funded by the Maria Holder Trust, The Arts and Sports Promotion Fund and IADB.
Countries slated to attend are: Anguilla, British VirginIslands, Bermuda, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, Jamaica and host country Barbados.
Apart from presenting plays by the visiting delegations, the Festival will have cultural exchanges with local secondary schools, a teacher’s workshop on assessing the performing arts, the Annual General Meeting of the CSSDF, and a youth Forum that discusses the state of theatre in CSME.