Cable Bahamas has a long-standing history of supporting Bahamian culture and that tradition will continue when the telecommunications company broadcasts the Bahamian folk opera ‘The Legend of Sammie Swain’ on Cable 12 this Sunday, September 28 at 7:30 p.m.
‘Sammie Swain,’ as performed by the 70-member revival cast at Shakespeare in Paradise 2013, will premiere exclusively on Cable 12 and will be featured on the channel throughout the month of October. The television special is sponsored by the Cable Bahamas Cares Foundation, Cable 12 and Shakespeare in Paradise.
The Bahamian stage production, written by E. Clement Bethel as a ballet in 1968, and later as a folk opera in 1983, tells the story of a disabled Cat Island man who falls in love with the village beauty and sells his soul to the devil to be with her. The folk opera gained popularity among local audiences in the 1980s and is deemed a significant component of Bahamian culture.
Cable 12 Station Manager Alexia Coakley said she considers the station a hub for Bahamian art and entertainment and the broadcast of the iconic folk opera helps to support that view.
“It is definitely a privilege to be able to premiere a work such as ‘Sammie Swain’ on Cable 12. Being able to feature this production is really an honour for us,” Mrs Coakley said. “So much about our culture, our folkways and traditions are represented in that story and it’s exciting for us to be the exclusive presenter of that work on Cable 12.”
She added that residents who tune in for the ‘Sammie Swain’ premiere on Sunday will identify with a number of the timeless production’s themes, and will come to appreciate the piece just as audiences did in the past.
This television presentation also features brand new segments with key participants, performers and the children of author E. Clement Bethel as they share their unique experiences and passion for the show.
The ‘Sammie Swain’ revival – the first in 28 years – was wildly successful at the fifth anniversary of Shakespeare in Paradise, and with the televised premiere set to kick off the 2014 festival, coordinators and sponsors are hopeful that the production will get audiences excited for the upcoming festival, which will run from October 3rd through to October 11th.
“This is a wonderful way to open the season,” ‘Sammie Swain’ revival director and Shakespeare in Paradise Artistic Director Philip A. Burrows said. “It gives people an idea of what Shakespeare in Paradise is capable of. You may see advertisements for our production of ‘Romeo and Juliet’ and all these sorts of things, but when you get an opportunity to see the entire two-hour production of ‘Sammie Swain’, you really get to appreciate the quality of work that comes out of Shakespeare in Paradise through Ringplay Productions.”
This year’s festival will feature five productions over the course of nine days: ‘Romeo and Juliet,’ featuring Cable Bahamas spokesperson Angelique Sabrina as Juliet; ‘For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When The Rainbow Is Enuf’; the South African play ‘Sizwe Banzi is Dead’; performances by Tingum Dem; and ‘Bruce Katooska: Laughter is the Best MAGIC!’
Cable Bahamas has served as a major sponsor for the theatre festival since its inception and Cable Bahamas Head of Marketing David Burrows said this partnership is due to the company’s ongoing commitment to cultivating Bahamian culture.
“Cable Bahamas, through its television product, and the people who are a part of our portfolio of actors, the majority of them come from the theatrical background. We have a strong history of supporting theatrical talent,” Mr Burrows said. “We have a history of supporting culture. If you look back at our early years, you’ll see that we’ve done television advertising that has focused on Bahamian culture, Bahamian dance. So this has always been a part of the fabric of Cable Bahamas, celebrating Bahamian culture.”
‘The Legend of Sammie Swain’ airs Sunday night on Cable 12, starting at 7:30 p.m.