The last couple of weeks have been some of the busiest of the year.
They won’t BE the busiest of the year—that time comes in late September/early October for me—but they HAVE been the busiest.
The reason? Well, as soon as the academic year ends for me, the theatrical year begins. Five years ago I was mad enough to imagine and found a Bahamian theatre festival. Shakespeare in Paradise was launched in October 2009 with a handful of people crazy enough to believe in it—and really crazy, because most of them were willing to work for free—and we pulled it off.
This year is our fifth, and it’s still going. And we’re crazier than ever, because we have determined to revive my father’s folk opera, Sammie Swain, in honour of our festival’s fifth year, in honour of our country’s fortieth anniversary.
These things are crazy because we’ve added about $100k to our bottom line.
Ah well. We’ve been here before, more or less. In 2009 we didn’t have any money at all. We pulled that festival off through the kindness of many people, and by building bartering relationships that paid off. This year we have a track record and some money, but people are (rightly) not so willing to barter and they’re holding their purse strings tighter than ever.
So my vacation has been pretty non-stop grubbing for funds. Translation: my fabulous festival assistant and I have been writing letters, setting up meetings, and looking people in the face, telling them what we need and how much we believe in what we’re doing. A lot of little bits of money does the same job as a few big chunks.
Money might be slow in coming, but recognition is growing. That’s why it’s important that we have to stay afloat long enough to make the festival what we know it can and will be. In the meantime, this past Tuesday I was asked to do a photoshoot with Duke Wells to help create a photograph to go along with an interview done by Caribbean Beat Magazine. This is great, because we are getting regional coverage, and from a personal perspective, because I get new profile shots.
I like this one:
This is turning out to be a sales pitch and I didn’t mean it to be. I just wanted to say that this has been the least like a vacation that I’ve had in a long time.
And to say keep your eye on our facebook page, and remember the name of Shakespeare in Paradise. It’s our fifth year, I’ve spent my vacations working on it for free for the past five years, and I’m doing it because I believe. I believe in our theatre, I believe in our audiences, and I believe that the Caribbean, and the Bahamas, can produce world-class theatre if we are willing to invest in it.