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Lashley sees NIFCA for export

The National Independence Festival Of Creative Arts may soon be packaged and exported overseas for the international world to enjoy the talents that abound Barbados. Minister of Culture Stephen Lashley said if he had his way, this would be the next step for the 40–year–old festival.

At a media briefing to launch the 2013 NIFCA at his office in Sky Mall in Haggatt Hall, St Michael, this evening, Lashley said he would soon engage with the National Cultural Foundation, as well as the Barbados Tourism Authority and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade through the various embassies and high commissions to start the ball rolling on how this could
be possible.
“I hold the view that NIFCA has the potential to be one of the key festivals that can go on the international stage and this is one of the things we are currently looking at: how we can showcase NIFCA to the international world. Some of the things we will be doing is to not only package NIFCA for export but to so market NIFCA that we can encourage visitors to come to Barbados just to see a NIFCA performance,” he said.

And he added: “We feel that it is a natural progression, particularly for our young participants, those particularly in the primary and secondary schools that they have that opportunity to showcase their talents outside of Barbados and of course in Barbados to both local and
international audiences.”

New to the festival this year is the rebranded Drama/Speech category, now Theatre/Speech that will reward the top spoken word artist with the Bruce St John Award, in recognition of the outstanding Barbadian poet. The purse will $2,000.
Also new are the Rickey Parris Challenge Shield –– with $500 purse, in recognition of the Black Struggle, and the Africa Caribbean Dance Award, the winner of which will receive $5,000, along with a trophy for the Most Traditional Caribbean
Or African Dance
These awards were being sponsored by the Commission of Pan African Affairs.

The National Anti–Doping Commission Prize trophy and $1,500 will be awarded across
all the disciplines.

The NIFCA Performing Arts Finals have been expanded to accommodate the expected additional primary schools acts that will come as  result of the intriduction of the new Junior Category.
Lashley, who is also Minister of Youth, said this new category was introduced after consultation with stakeholders because there was concerns that it was unfair to judge juniors by the same creteria as adults. So the juniors will range from age seven to 12 and under 17 in dance, once they enroll exclusively in primary and secondary school-based programmes.

Another first will be the community liaison desk at the National Cultural Foundation. This, Lashley revealed, would be in place by November.

One of the things, he said, his ministry was most interested in doing was sustaining the “grass–roots” aspect of the festival. This desk would serve as the link between the community and the Ministry of Culture.

The minster said: “We are asking groups across Barbados to make contact with the NCF; we have to create opportunities for our people to represent. We have seen this year emerging very talented young people . . . and I believe that argurs well
for young talent.

“Our focus is really on engaging the community, we will go ahead in finding new engagements and new opportunities for our young talent and we want to see them on the world stage.”


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