Ashe Performing Company brings drama, dance and therapeutic sessions to West Kingston

Nov 11, 2015

Members of the Tivoli Gardens community watch the Ashe company perform. Photo Credit: UNDP Jamaica

Drama, music and therapeutic sessions are being provided to residents of West Kingston as a part of the Citizen Security and Social Cohesion in Jamaica: Support to the Commission of Enquiry project. This project aims to support the Government to safeguard the principles of good governance in the West Kingston Commission of Enquiry and provide community level interventions and assistance to enhance social cohesion in Jamaica.

The Ashe performing company is currently delivering therapeutic interventions for young people and adults from the affected communities and is bringing its ‘edutainment’ (a combination of education and entertainment) approaches to the project. Ashe’s outreach in West Kingston kicked off with a presentation of the company’s play ‘Ded Lef’, and has continued with weekly sessions targeting adults and young people from the Tivoli Gardens Community. Residents came out to watch the local staging of the colourful and humorous drama ‘Ded Lef,’ which marked the launch of the programme in the community on October 17. At that event they were encouraged to sign up for the weekly sessions planned by Ashe.

So far the sessions for youth have been held in the local community centre and Ashe has reported great interest from the young people. By the second session, the targeted number of youth – 30 – had been reached and they were keen to participate in the interactive programme organised by the performance company.

Sessions for adults were held outside the community at the Ashe headquarters. According to the performance company, the venue provides a comfortable and private forum that facilitates an open discussion of some of the challenges faced by the community, including unemployment, lack of skills training and the discontinuation of cultural activities. Community members have also provided recommendations to address these issues.

“Starting a program like this can help to bring us together and if it continues it can spread to a wider scale of the area,” one participant told Ashe facilitators.

While the Commission of Enquiry into the events of May 2010 in West Kingston during which 74 Jamaicans were killed is ongoing, the project recognises the need for on-the-ground support for communities that were affected by these events. As such, Ashe’s work supports on of the results of the project seeking to facilitate referral support and psychosocial services for affected persons.

Ashe bringing their edutainment approach to the project in Tivoli Gardens
Ashe performers dance up a storm for West Kingston residents in their performance of 'Dead Lef'
Two members of the Ashe company perform for Tivoli Gardens residents

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