Miss Lou Reading Festival Celebrates Jamaica’s 50th Anniversary
The fifth annual Louise Bennett-Coverley Reading Festival, an evening of rich cultural performances, will be staged on Saturday, February 11, 2012, at the South Regional Broward College Library in Pembroke Pines.
The show titled “Fifty years A We Kulcha – Pantomime to Ring-Ding” will celebrate Jamaica’s 50th anniversary of Independence and observe February as Black History Month along with several other activities planned at the Library.
Under the patronage of Jamaica’s Consul General, Sandra Grant Griffiths, the milestone event will feature special guest, the eminent Marjorie Whylie, an ethnomusicologist, and musical director of the National Dance Theatre Company. Oftentimes described as a "national treasure," Ms. Whylie, is also known for her long and close association as performer and student with the late Hon. Louise Bennett Coverley.
The annual Reading Festival was started in 2007 by Mrs. Norma Darby, former Executive Director of the Jamaica Folk Revue, following the death of the Hon. Louise Bennett Coverley, O.J. who passed away at age 86 years old in Toronto, Canada. Ms. Lou was buried at the Jamaica’s National Heroes Park in Kingston.
According to Mrs. Darby, “As we celebrate Jamaica’s 50th anniversary of Independence, here in the Diaspora, the performers at the Festival will interpret significant works of our esteemed Miss Lou through acts of song, dance and drama.” The Reading Festival, over the years, has explored and addressed the immense influence the works of the late Hon. Louise Bennett-Coverley has had on Jamaicans at home and in the Diaspora.
The event is free to the public and will also include performances from a selection of notable Jamaican artists from the South Florida Diasporic community who had worked with the Jamaican cultural icon and international renowned folklorist, comedienne, author, and social commentator during her long and expansive career. They are Dr. Ivy Armstrong, poet and public speaker; Dr. Susan Davis, actress, poet and educator; Geoffrey Philp, author and educator, and Malachi Smith, dub poet. Other performers expected to participate will also include the Jamaica Folk Revue, Tallawah Mento Band, and Body Nation Dance Theatre.
Proceeds from sales of Miss Lou’s works – books, CDs, and other memorabilia will continue to support of the Louise Bennett Coverley Scholarship at the Edna Manley College of Visual and Performing Arts in Kingston. The scholarship was named, posthumously, in honor of Jamaica’s cultural ambassador and is awarded to a student at the college pursuing studies in the performing arts. To date, six students have been recipients of the scholarship at the Schools of Drama and Dance, and Music.
Ms. Valrie Simpson, Regional Library Manager at Broward’s South Regional –Broward College campus has said that the Friends of the Library and the Broward College are pleased to partner in the annual Cultural Tribute saluting the legacy of Jamaica’s cultural ambassador and that Nation’s significant milestone of Independence. Other supporting organizations include the Broward College, Friends of the Broward Library, the Jamaican Folk Revue and the Jamaica Tourist Board.