In conveying to you our New Year’s Greetings and wishing you many more years in returns, in peace, stability and progress, V.Jay Theatre Productions’ wishes to take you through a recap of the 2019 tour of The Gambia, outcomes and intended plans.
Mr. Richards – a Caribbean Descendant/British National, an Actor, a Playwright/Storyteller, Poet Shines and founder of V. Jay Theatre Productions visited The Gambia from 14 November to 5 December 2019.
During his visit Mr Richards who was accompanied by Sister Angela Rose of Aga- UK Ambassadors convened press briefing, to announced a the “One Man Show”, which also featured Zenith High School students’ who made opening Poetry performance.
Although attempts to meet the Gambian President and Tourism and Culture Minister during his visit proved futile, due to short notice, at a time when the duo were busy with the Nationwide Tour. A meeting was however held with the Director General (DG) of the National Council for Arts and Culture (NCAC), at their conference hall in Banjul.
Ms Fatoumata Bah and Mr Madi S. Njie – Gambian counterparts accompanied and introduced Mr Richards, and explained about his activities held and intended plans to Mr Ceesay, during the meeting.
Mr Richards in his comments explained about his brief personal account, his mission to The Gambia. He also made reference to the Show he organised at the Ebunjng Theatre Hall in Kaniing, in which Zenith students performed extremely well, reciting emotional human interests’ poetries, with some shedding tears.
Hassoum Ceesay- NCAC DG in his comments among others assured Mr Richards of their open door policy, and recommended for among others MOU to be signed between the two organisations, as legal backup to facilitate collaboration and partnerships, towards achieving common objectives. Mr Ceesay also recommended for the need to organise similar events, with Gambian inputs, to attract wider audience.
As follow-up to the meeting, an MOU centring on meeting’s recommendations was signed between the two organisations, dated 23 December 2019.
The MOU among others intends to promote Poetry Education, cultural tourism promotion, build institutional capacities of relevant actors, conduct training with students and local artists, etc.
The spirit of nurturing sharing cultural values among Africans and Caribbean Artists is also encapsulated in the MOU.
Also included in the MOU is advocacy for inclusion of the Poetry Book entitled: “Streets Pave With Gold”- published by Mr Richards into the Gambian Schools Curriculum. It is intended to serve as model to educate children about nurturing our historical values, and how to benefit from our culture, by exploring poetry and storytelling documentaries; capacity building; training; and etc.
Mr Richards also intend to stage a similar Show in March 2020, during his next visit to The Gambia, in collaboration with local Gambian Artists and students.
The V. Jay Theatre Productions Founder first visited The Gambia in March 2019, and is sponsoring 2 Gambians- a student at the Brimawa Lower Basic School in Bundung, in the Kanifing Municipality; along with supporting a young man to complete his Degree in Accountancy at the University of The Gambia.
He has also purchased a Land in Sanyang Village in the Kombo South District, West Coast Region, with intention to settle in The Gambia.
Impressed by his first visit, Brother Richards came back to The Gambia on 14 November 2019, during which he convened a Press Briefing at the YMCA in Kanifing on 27 November.
During the Press Briefing he announced the ‘One Man Show’ he staged, centring on the Theme of his book- ‘Streets Paved with Gold’ at the Ebunjan Theatre in Kanifing on the 29 November 2019.
The Show featured Poetry performance by students from Zenith High School. The Show depicts his play in a Book and Audio-CD that talks about the experiences of our Caribbean Ancestors, the sufferings, and the hardships they went through and their lifestyles, after the Second World War in 1948.
In preparation for the Show at Ebunjang Theatre Hall, Mr Richards also facilitated 6 Workshops with the Zenith High School to enable the students express themselves through Poetry, on what they feel in their lives. Evident at the opening students’ performance on the Friday night Show, were poetic messages on ensuring environmental friendly societies, protecting our eco-system, as well values of family and parental care, among related issues.
Mr Richards in his play highlights the importance of our history, and the connection between the Caribbean and Africans. The generational gaps have disconnected us from knowing our history. Brother Victor therefore in a nutshell – as Caribbean descendant in his play takes the style of American Writer- Alex Haley who traced his roots to his Mandinka Ancestor- Kunta Kinteh, who was a captured slave from The Gambia, during the days of Slavery.
Mr Richards in his play teach people about the importance of knowing our history, and how to make good use of our culture, and benefit from it. The play also make emphasize on the need to know our history, to enable us know where we are coming from, and where we are going to.
Mr Richards intends to participate in the promotion of Arts of Poetry in The Gambia’s education system, to promote cultural tourism and environmental friendly society.
During the Press briefing Mr Richards expressed shock about the youth risking their lives through the back way to Europe. He pointed out that his Book’s play is to enlighten the youth folk about the need to stay back home and develop their motherland, instead of risking their lives for greener pasture, through the risky back way to Europe. “I am not saying don’t go to the UK, but be prepared before going. It may not be as easy as you may think,” Brother Richards among others said during the YMCA Press Briefing.
While hoping to see you again in our next Show in March 2020, V. Jay Theatre Productions wishes you a very happy New Year- 2020, and many more returns in peace, progress, stability, through the spirit of unity and development, Ameen
Together we can make a difference. On this note we are inviting you to our next One Man Show to be held in The Gambia in March 2020.
Date, Venue and time of the event will be communicated sooner or later.