REV announced that it will serve as a primary sponsor for the 2016 Shakespeare in Paradise Theatre Festival, continuing its tradition of supporting the event since its inception.
The theatre festival runs from Monday September 26 to Saturday, October 8 with two productions hitting the main stage and three taking the Black Box stage at The Dundas Centre for the Performing Arts.
Now in its eighth year, Shakespeare in Paradise has become a calendar event for fans of live theatre who enjoy William Shakespeare’s works and the best in Caribbean, African, American and world theatre.
Over the years, REV has played a key role in expanding public awareness of the event by managing all TV marketing for Shakespeare in Paradise at no cost. In addition, the company’s charitable arm, the Cable Bahamas Cares Foundation, has regularly partnered with festival organisers to give hundreds of young Bahamians complimentary tickets to student matinees.
“The company has always been involved in ensuring that we showcase Bahamian culture,” Cable Bahamas Vice President of Marketing David Burrows said. “We use Bahamian talent in everything we do, which is evident in our marketing. We believe that the foundation of Bahamian culture is a very important thing to foster. If we do not promote our culture, we’re going to lose a sense of who we are as a people.”
Through its partnership with Shakespeare in Paradise, the telecommunications company gave renowned Bahamian folk-opera “The Legend of Sammie Swain” its television debut in 2014 via Our TV, then known as Cable 12.
The broadcast featured the 70-member Shakespeare in Paradise 2013 revival cast in its performance at The Dundas Centre and aired to nearly 15,000 viewers.
“We try to capture cultural history,” David Burrows said. “We are doing our part to get the story about our people to our people. At Our TV, our focus is to ensure that Bahamian culture remains strong and that we have a place to see ourselves.”
The Cable Bahamas executive encouraged Bahamians, REV customers in particular, to support the upcoming festival, noting that it is a wonderful display of Bahamian culture and talent.
This year, Shakespeare in Paradise honours the late Winston V. Saunders, a Bahamian educator, lawyer, actor and playwright whose contributions to Bahamian culture have been celebrated around the world.
His play “You Can Lead a Horse to Water”, about a young man accused of murdering his mother, has been performed in New Providence; Grand Bahama; Trinidad and Tobago; Edinburgh, Scotland; and the American states California and Michigan.
“You Can Lead a Horse to Water” is the 2016 festival’s signature Bahamian work and is set to open on Monday, October 3, which would have been Mr Saunders’ 75th birthday.
Shakespeare in Paradise Artistic Director Phillip Burrows expects mass audiences to visit the Dundas for a chance to see the critically-acclaimed production. He added that this year’s signature Shakespeare work also promises to be a crowd-pleaser.
Ringplay Productions’ modern take on “Macbeth” will serve as the festival opener. Set in The Bahamas, this retelling of a Shakespeare classic finds Macbeth pursuing the post of Prime Minister during election season rather than eyeing the Scottish throne.
Rounding out the Shakespeare in Paradise 2016 schedule are “Gun Boys Rhapsody”, written by Bahamian educator, author and playwright Ian Strachan; “Zora”, a one-woman show based on the life of Zora Neale Hurston; and “The World is My Home”, a one-man show based on the life of Paul Robeson.
Early ticket sales for Shakespeare in Paradise 2016 have indicated that hundreds of students will attend the event once again. Phillip Burrows noted that since the festival’s inception, almost 20,000 students have visited the Dundas Centre to enjoy at least one matinee.
“Our educational outreach has been one of the most important elements of Shakespeare in Paradise,” the festival’s artistic director said. “We get students who are studying Shakespeare in class, and they leave the theatre with a new understanding of the work. We’re also hoping that with these student audiences, we get them interested in theatre and develop future theatre goers.”
Persons interested in viewing the festival calendar or learning more about the two-week event can visit the Shakespeare in Paradise web site at shakespeareinparadise.org.