The preliminaries have ended, the semi-finalists have been selected, the rehearsals have already begun as the participants fine-tune their pieces and we are all set for the first National Independence Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA) Performing Arts semi-final weekend this Friday, October 5 to Sunday, October 7 at 6:00 p.m. each night.
The first night of performances will be held at the Lester Vaughan Secondary School, while Saturday and Sunday’s performances are scheduled for the Major Noot Hall at the Combermere School.
Forty-five years ago next month, this festival held its first finals at the Ursuline Convent and has continued annually ever since. It was originally conceptualised by the late Arden Clarke and Jeanette Layne-Clake who were an integral part of the organising committee, with significant contributions from NIFCA stalwart Cynthia Wilson who was the organising secretary at the time and its first producer.
Discussions surrounding this festival of artists took effect from the early 70s with the intention that NIFCA should not only be an entertainment vehicle for the arts, but also a development tool, with content that showcased our cultural heritage and continued to shape our new cultural identity, hence the reason for its positioning during the Independence season.
It created a national platform from which the pursuit of excellence in all disciplines of the arts was encouraged and rewarded, and it gave us an outlet for artists to voice their opinions on a number of social issues prevalent in the community, from Governmental to environmental to societal – a format that still pertains today.
The second semi-final weekend is set to start on Friday, October 12 this time at the Alexandra School and will run until Sunday, October 14, with the performances being held at the Combermere School for the other two days.
The performances chosen from the semi-final stage will advance to the finals. At this point the format will change to discipline specific nights and a mixed night for the juniors. The Dance, Music and Junior nights will be held at the Frank Collymore Hall and the Theatre Arts presentations at the Daphne Joseph-Hackett Theatre, the home of Theatre in Barbados.
The NIFCA Performing Arts semi-finals and finals are in association with Scotiabank, Sagicor, Digicel and MASSY Foundation Barbados Limited, the sponsors of Dance, Juniors, Music and the Creators’ Prizes respectively.
BIMAP will again be part of the NIFCA family with prize scholarships for the entrants in the semi-professional category which was added to the competition last year.