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Conch Een Ga No Bone: Bahamian Culture Now Online at ArtsBahamas.com
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Posted by:Feb 18th 2006, 12:45:27 am
Fig Tree News TeamFebruary 2006
The Bahama Journal

Artists from all disciplines now have a place to air their concerns and share their ideas through a new Internet web forum aimed and at bringing Bahamian artists from different backgrounds together.

Launched in January by Ringplay Productions, a repertory theatre production company, executive member, director of culture Dr. Nicolette Bethel, told Arts and Entertainment that the idea for the forum was inspired by an evening at the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas, which raised the question about the lack of national theatre.

"…Conch een ga no bone – www.artsbahamas.com - is a discussion forum specifically for exchanges on Bahamian arts and culture," said Dr. Bethel. "The purpose behind launching that forum is to bring Bahamian artists from different backgrounds together, because the cultural scene in The Bahamas is currently ghettoised.

"Cultures can’t grow without dialogue, and for too long our artists and performers have been ghettoised, with musicians talking only to musicians, Junkanoos to other Junkanoos, theatre people to one another and writers saying ‘where you put me?’ This forum we hope will provide a place, if only in cyberspace, where we can all meet and talk to one another, and begin to forge the kinds of bonds that allow us to have the influence on our lawmakers that will allow the Bahamian arts the room they need to grow."

Dr. Bethel said that the community provides the opportunity for all artists, not just performing artists, to talk about issues pertaining to arts and culture in the country.

"There’s room for all artists. Currently there are forums for the performing arts, the visual arts, writing and literature, television and film and Junkanoo, but we are open to all suggestions," said Dr. Bethel. "As board traffic increases, no doubt the board will adapt to meet the need."

There is already a group forum set up for video exchanges and there is room for more of these kinds of groups, she added.

In August of 2005, Ringplay started its own blog to discuss the activities of Ringplay and of Bahamian theatre in general.

According to Dr. Bethel, it’s had modest success, being most interesting when it was cataloguing the experiences of its artistic director, Philip A. Burrows, when he was resident director in Michigan, producing Winston Saunders’ "You Can Lead a Horse to Water."

Ringplay was founded in 1998 by a group of people who were formerly members of the management committee of the Dundas Repertory Season, when the Dundas abolished that committee and began the process of disbanding the season.

The people behind Ringplay are Dr. Bethel, Philip Burrows, David Burrows, Marcel Sherman, Carrie Collins, Claudette Allens, Jane Povermo, Samie Bethel and Delores Thompson, among other members and affiliates.

"Ringplay’s mission is to further the development of the arts in The Bahamas by presenting the best in national, regional and world theatre. It is composed of some the most experienced theatre personnel in the country, and its commitment to Bahamian theatre is evident – among us we have produced at least 23 original Bahamian works," says Dr. Bethel.

Among its aims and objectives are to revitalise theatre in the country, expose the public at large to the range of Bahamian theatre, revive classic Bahamian plays and present them to audiences old and new, and foster national pride through excellence in theatre.

Most recently, Ringplay received a grant from the Inter-American Development Bank in the summer of 2005 to hold a series of workshops. The company, which has produced "The Bahamian Macbeth," "Music of The Bahamas," "The Landlord" and "Sweetheartin’ & Numbas," is currently planning a season of plays for 2006.

"There are lots of web communities out there for Bahamians these days," said Dr. Bethel, "but none of them focus specifically on culture or the arts…conch een ga no bone is hoping to fill that gap."

Register for the forum at …conch een ga no bone at www.artsbahamas.com.

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