Shakespeare in Paradise: Celebrating Partnerships

Shakespeare in Paradise opens next week!

Now is the time to thank all of our partners and sponsors. Most of their names are at the bottom of this page, but there are others who came on board towards the end, who are coming on board now, whom we need to thank. You know who you are! Especially if you’re volunteers, you know who you are, and you’ll be working hard next week!! Thank you all in advance.

Now is also the time to highlight some of our very special partners and programmes. We’re sorry we waited so long, but it’s been CRAZY for the last month. (It still is, but not so bad, and we have to get this done.)

Artists’ Partnerships

Theatre is a complete art form. It’s performing arts, but it can’t flourish without the visual arts and without music. We wanted to develop working partnerships with other artists for this production. The first and most fruitful partnership was with graphic designer Julia Ames, who came out expressing interest in being a volunteer and ended up being our art director. She designed the look of the festival, designed and laid out our programme, gave us our colour palettes, designed the posters, and coordinated the art work.

The next important partnership was with our visual artists. We wanted the Festival to be specifically Bahamian, to have a Bahamian feel and a Bahamian interpretation. So we invited up-and-coming artists to come on board to design the posters for our different shows. Julia coordinated the effort, sourcing the artists and helping to direct their art. Our agreement: rather than paying them in cash for their art, the Festival would produce limited edition t-shirts with their names and contact information on them and pay them in tickets.

tempestowobmobzoralovecaribbeanlight

In the end, we chose new work from four artists:

Jace McKinney – The Tempest, One White One Black

Trevaughn Neely – Music of The Bahamas

Lindsay Braynen – Zora and the high-resolution adaptation of Love in Two Acts

Reuno Pratt – Caribbean Voices

and included the art work of two more already done for the Track Road productions, featuring the designs of

Amy Salter – the original web design for Love in Two Acts

Jonathan Murray – Light

Venue Partnerships

You can’t have a festival without places to perform. We had the smaller venues on board for a long time — the Hub joined us at the break, National Art Gallery of The Bahamas agreed to partner with us as early as April, and the other spaces — the Humidor, the Marley Resort, and Nirvana — joined us during the summer. But our biggest challenge was the main theatre space. Theatre rentals are expensive in The Bahamas, and not every space has everything you need, which means more expense. But in the end, at the very end of August, The Dundas came on board as our major venue. For those of you who mightn’t know all that theatre needs, the Dundas is still the only complete theatre in the city. Even though the COB Performing Arts Centre is beautiful and has plenty of potential, we would would still have had to equip it with extra lights for our productions, while the Dundas, while a little long in the tooth, has everything). It’s a little smaller than the PAC, but it suits our needs just fine — and we hope we can work towards adding COB to our list of venues next year!

Festival Bars

One of the incentives we had to offer our partners was the idea of the Festival Bar — the after-theatre hang-out where performers and audience go to mingle and make contacts. Almost all of them turned out to be affiliated with our venues, with the exception of Alexandria’s, which is located in the guest-house of the same name on Delancey Street, right around the corner from the NAGB and the Humidor. When you get a ticket for one of the shows, you will have a detachable stub that will function as a $5 coupon at whatever location the Festival Bar is that night. So come on out!

Publicity Partnerships

We also couldn’t have pulled this festival off without the hard, hard work of our publicity team, supplied by the Hanna family through our partnership with Tanya Hanna and CL Concepts. The entire family business came on board, from CL Concepts to Maximum Bass to You in Music to Paul Hanna himself. With their help, we covered the internet through email, MySpace, YouTube, FaceBook, and Twitter. In addition, CL Concepts helped us to land our major partnerships, our barter agreements with Gems Bahamas and Robin Hood and its live remotes. And David Burrows helped us to land our secret weapon: the cross-channel marketing provided by Cable Bahamas. Our agreements with Gems, Robin Hood and Cable are barter agreements: artistic content in exchange for advertising.

Accommodation Partnerships

Our biggest costs for this festival were going to be airfare, accommodation and fees for our visitors, advertising, and rent. Thanks to CL Concepts, we were able to cut some of them out completely! We were able to pitch the idea of the festival to Graycliff and the Marley Resort, and both of them caught our vision and jumped on board, offering us rooms in exchange for publicity and our attracting business to their venues. So hats off to the Garzarolis and the Marleys for being willing to share the risk of this festival with us and helping us to achieve our vision!

Public-Private Partnerships

And finally, I approached my old employer, the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, with the proposal for the Festival. Now I know first-hand that the culture end of that ministry does not have a lot of money to spend, but it came on board anyway in a big way. And the Department of Youth, which was planning its activities for National Youth Month, which now happens in October, jumped on the idea of a theatre festival, as they were planning to carry theatre to one of the Family Islands as part of their activities. And so we have developed two major partnerships with that Ministry: on the culture end, we get three officers released to work with us for the week, and they are helping us with transportation for our visiting artists, with sourcing costumes and props for The Tempest, and with numerous other things. In addition, we were able to work with the National Dance School during the lead-up, using their space for workshops and other activities. Hats off to the Ministry, to Ministers Bannister and Maynard, and to PS Nairn, US Gomez, DDOY Butler and ADOC Dames for their support.

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