Jamaica is rich in customs and traditions. Like most Jamaicans I look each year to celebrate and commemorate those mores which have added significantly to the quality of our lives. The pantomime which opens on its traditional December 26,(Boxing Day) is one such custom. Over the years the national pantomime has become a main attraction for many Jamaicans especially for those visiting home during the Christmas period. The pantomime usually pokes fun at life in the Jamaican society and provides much comic relief on what are usually serious issues in the society. This gives us an opportunity to laugh at ourselves forgetting our problems even for a few hours. The pantomime has been a training ground for many of our best actors/actress and it continues to produce outstanding talents in the field of theatre and the performing arts.Jamaicans are very talented and creative people; in fact our sons and daughters have dominated in various fields globally ranging from sports, medicine and music. Jamaica is not short where talent is concern. Notwithstanding this we need to ask ourselves why is it that over the years the pantomime script writer has not changed. In order to facilitate more Jamaicans being a part in the pantomime at the level of script writing why not have a competition for script writers? The best judged script writer for that year would be asked to produce the pantomime for that year as the prize for winning.
As a society we have not given sufficient support to the “arts” in Jamaica whether from a private sector standpoint or from the level of government. Let us recommit ourselves to restoring the Ward Theatre for 2014. The Ward Theatre over the years has been instrumental in honing the skills of many of our luminaries in the field of theatre. By restoring the Ward Theatre we will provide more opportunities and space for those in the creative arts to showcase their creativity and talent. Democracy thrives with a variety of views and ideas instead of having a monopoly of ideas. I look forward to seeing this year’s pantomime “Golden Maccafat”.