April 1, 2023

Young at Arts performers

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1. YAA Isabel - Isabel and NettieCayman Islands’ Young At Arts Performers Take the Stage

Lines have been memorised, staging has been blocked, lights are in place and the stage is set for the production of Isabel. The production is set to run from 5 – 7 August and is the culmination of the Young At Arts programme.

Seven aspiring actors, dancers and musicians participated in the programme, hosted by the Cayman National Cultural Foundation, which trains young artists in the practical disciplines of performing arts.

The eight week programme is supported by Butterfield. Participants ages 12-19 received instruction from qualified performing arts instructors and practitioners in drama, music/voice, dance and technical theatre. Participants this year are Lebron McLean, Ericka Rockett-McBean, Jada Bodden, Aleah Copeland, Layah Ebanks, Katherine Erskine, Jaedyn Hanna.

Speaking about the experience 19 year old, cast member, Ericka Rockett-McBean said, “This summer has been quite the journey thus far. My tutors have left me with lifelong lessons that I will hold dear forever, mainly to ‘always bare my soul’ when performing, to ‘trust the captain’ when preparing and ‘rehearse at one hundred percent’. When I arrived, I knew no one but now we are like a little family.”

Students in the programme will put the lessons they have learned to practical use as they stage the production of Isabel. The musical is written by local playwright Patricia Bent. It tells the story of a boy and a girl who fall in love under the most unusual circumstances; it’s a Caymanian love story.

2. YAA Isabel - Granpa n PhillipTaking the reins of the production is the regionally acclaimed director Eugene Williams. Mr. Williams has more than thirty years of experience in theatre, starting in his native country Guyana, where he was a leading actor at the Theatre Guild. Most recently he was the director of the Jamaica’s School of Drama.

Reflecting on the talent and growth of the students Mr. Williams said, “It has been a pleasure working with this talented and very intelligent bunch of participants. The process has been about providing stimulation for their own creativity towards an interpretation of their various roles. But it has also been about their personal development as they engage with the literature and expressive demands of the art of the theatre. We look forward to sharing what we expect will be an entertaining outcome.”

The production, which includes music, song and dance, will begin on Friday 5 August at 8.00 p.m. Saturday 6 August will see two productions at 6.00 p.m. and again at 8.00 p.m. The final production will take place on Sunday 7 August at 6.00 p.m. All stagings will take place at the Harquail Theatre at a cost of $5.

3. YAA Isabel GroupCayman National Cultural Foundation’s (CNCF) Programmes Manager Patrice Beersingh said “It amazing to see the talent of each student evolve from the audition process for the Young At Arts Programme held a few weeks ago, to now having worked with a world class director and dramaturge such as Mr. Williams, the successful development is a direct reflection of the work of CNCF and its programmes. The public should not miss this production, as they will have missed the opportunity to see and support the true potential of some of our brightest young stars in the performing arts.”

Photo caption: Cayman National Cultural Foundation
1. (L-r) Layah Ebanks and Jada Bodden, Young At Arts performers, in character as Isabel and Nettie
2. (L-r) Ericka Rockett-McBean and Aleah Copeland in character as Granpa and Phillip.
3. (L-r) Jaedyn Hanna, Layah Ebanks, Lebron McLean, Aleah Copeland, Ericka Rockett- McBean, Katherine Erskine, and Jada Bodden all dressed in character pose for a cast photo.

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