JEMIMA FORBES

Lovers of music, dance, acting, visual arts, literature and fashion should head to the Harquail Theatre on the July 28 weekend for three fantastic performances at the CARIFESTA Showcase. A prime event on the calendar, it is a celebration of local Caribbean culture and art, as well as a warm-up for the CARIFESTA festival in Barbados in late August.

Around 20 countries in the Caribbean and Latin America participate in the Caribbean Festival of Arts (CARIFESTA), which takes place every two years and includes performances by more than 4,000 artists. Cayman will be taking part for the seventh time, but first all 36 Caymanian participants will debut their performances at the Harquail Theatre. The CARIFESTA Showcase will include a mix of music, dance and theater performances, as well as exhibits from two Caymanian fashion designers and from the National Gallery and the National Museum.

Theme

This year, CARIFESTA is all about promoting national spirit with the theme “Asserting Our Culture, Celebrating Ourselves.” The artists taking part have rehearsed for more than 400 hours over the past 11 months, and their first few performances in Cayman give them the opportunity to practice in front of an audience, as well as present to those who may not be attending the festival in Barbados.

Money raised from the CARIFESTA Showcase will go toward the groups’ trip in August, along with sponsorship from Greenlight RE, the Cayman Islands government, Yello, Cayman National Bank and Carey Olsen.

Performers

Music and dance will play a large part in the CARIFESTA Showcase, with a performance from the Swanky Kitchen Band and a 45-minute presentation by Dance Cayman’s dancers and choreographers, including KRI’s Kirk Rowe and dancer and professor of performing arts, Monika Lawrence.

There will also be a one-hour adaptation of local play “Playground” written by Frank McField and set in the 1960s. It will feature local actors Merta Day, Matt Brown and Troy Rodgers, directed by Henry Muttoo of the Cayman National Cultural Foundation.

For fashion-lovers, womenswear brand Isy B will showcase pieces from the latest collections, and Jawara Alleyne will display some of his designs as well. A graduate of London College of Fashion, Alleyne has won Cayman Designer of the Year several times and currently works for London-based designer Peter Pilloto.

The National Gallery will contribute some works from their collection to celebrate Cayman’s artistic talent, and the National Museum will mark Cayman Island’s history with artifacts from their George Town site.

Fashions from Isy B’s latest collection will feature in the CARIFESTA Showcase.

The island’s literary talent will be on the program, with a presentation and panel discussion hosted by Christopher Williams from the University College of the Cayman Islands.

The CARIFESTA Showcase at the Harquail Theatre runs from July 28-30, with performances starting at 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 6 p.m. on Sunday. The show is approximately two-and-a-half hours. Tickets, $25, can be bought at Funky Tang’s on Shedden Road, the CNCF office or at www.artscayman.org/upcoming.

Swanky Kitchen Band will be one of the headlining acts.
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