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 UTT- Steering the Way Forward in the Arts
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UTT- Steering the Way Forward in the Arts


Members of the theatre community were given a perspective into The Way Forward as they gathered on Sunday 17 January, 2010, at the National Academy for the Performing Arts, Queen’s Park East, Port-of-Spain, for a symposium hosted by The University of Trinidad and Tobago (UTT), the National Drama Association of Trinidad and Tobago (NDATT), T&T Entertainment Company and the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs. 

Chairman of the Board of Governors and President of UTT, Kenneth S. Julien (Professor Emeritus), opened the symposium with an overview of the evolution of UTT and the role that the University and, by extension, the Academy for the Performing Arts, will have in the development of society.

Founding member of NDATT and the Secondary Schools Drama Festival, James Lee Wah, delivered an informative and historical perspective of drama in Trinidad and Tobago while President of NDATT, Joel Greaves, described several initiatives undertaken by NDATT to improve communication amongst its membership and the plans embarked upon, by the organisation, to strengthen the local drama fraternity.

In his contribution, Damian Richardson, Cultural Officer II of the Division of Culture in the Ministry of Community Development, Culture and Gender Affairs, expounded on his Ministry’s efforts to ensure the sustainability of the theatre industry.  He attributed the establishment of the National Theatre Arts Company as one vital initiative in achieving this.  In addition, he explained that the Ministry was in the process of establishing a registry of Artists and Cultural Workers- a critical element of the 100% tax incentive support of the Arts. The Government’s drive to ensure the viability of the performing arts was reiterated by Dionne McNicols, C.E.O. of the T&T Entertainment Company, as she spoke of her organisation’s policy of Revolving Investment Arrangement, a facility which is available to persons in the performing arts industry.

Assistant Professor at UTT’s Academy for the Performing Arts, Belinda Barnes-Durity, treated the participants to an insight into the University’s Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) Degree (Acting) programme and elicited input from the candidates present as to any elements which would aid in furthering the formulation of this programme at the University.
The written evaluations, as submitted by participants of the seminar, have revealed that future symposia are greatly needed to discuss relevant details as it relates to this topic. The initiatives presented by all stakeholders, however, will continue to direct Trinidad and Tobago’s theatre and the performing arts community forward in their efforts to achieve complete sustainability.