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Performing Arts- More Than Just Performance

For over 19 years, educator, Karen Knott has been involved in the performing arts programme of the Little London Primary School in Westmoreland. Throughout these years, she has seen many students excelled in their academic life, several of them products of the performing arts programme.

“I am not saying that the performing arts programme is the sole contributor to the students’ success but it has helped. The students call and express their gratitude for what the performing arts programme has taught them and how it has helped them to develop. They mention that is has helped them to develop their confidence and also with alternative thinking abilities” explained Miss Knott.

In highlighting the structure of the performing arts programme and its direct impact on students, Ms. Knott said the objective is not just about seeing the students perform on stage but it is about preparing them with life skills for the future.

“I always try to motivate the students and explain to them that even if they don’t always win, once they do their best, they are winners. Even when the performing arts is not a student’s strongest area I allow them to be a part of the programme as I have observed it helps to boost their confidence” the teacher noted.

She pointed out that several of the students who have passed through the school’s performing arts programme have advanced to universities pursuing the art form and other areas. She mentioned past student Randy Goldson who is currently on a Fellowship at Yale Divinity School and who was recently awarded for his oratory skills. “He too was a member of the school’s performing arts programme and has expressed his gratitude for the development of such skills,” Ms. Knott added.

Since their participation in the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) Festival of the Performing Arts for the past 18 years, the Little London Primary School has copped an estimated 50 national awards and several parish awards. In 2006, they received a record 13 national awards.

Ms. Knott mentioned that her own experience with the performing arts programme has been a fulfilling one. “Though the programme has its challenges in terms of funding at times, the children are my strongest motivation and our school has developed a strong culture of doing well.”

The JCDC’s Festival of the Performing Arts Speech Competition attracts many entries annually and boasts notable Jamaicans such as Joan Andrea Hutchinson, Tony Patell, Dervan Malcolm, Karen Harriott Wilson, and Nomadzz who have benefited from the competition.

Entries are currently being accepted for the 2015 National Festival of the Performing Arts. The entry forms are available online at the JCDC website, www.jcdc.gov.jm, at the JCDC Head Office located at 3-5 Phoenix Avenue, Kingston 10 and all JCDC parish offices island-wide.

 

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