BCTC celebrates India

| 18/08/2009

(CNS): A small grassroots theatre company branched out from a focus on traditional Caymanian culture to celebrate the subculture of the local community at an event on Cayman Brac Saturday, 15 August. On the 62nd anniversary of India’s Independence from Britain, the Backyard Caboose Theatre Company not only hosted a celebration of that country’s culture, honouring an Indian icon, Mohandas Gandhi, and a Caymanian icon of Indian lineage, Sir Vassel Johnson, but also emphasised the importance of cultural and religious tolerance.

Quincy Brown, one of the founders of BCTC, said the impetus for the event came from the desire to share in the celebration of Indian independence with our local Indian brothers and sisters. “BCTC is diversifying and including all nationalities living in the Cayman Islands as we present plays, variety shows and celebrate independent days with those who have joined us. Unity, love and tolerance was the impetus behind this particular event. Love, unity and tolerance will continue to be the underlying impetus of all BCTC future productions,” Brown said.

Though most of the scheduled performers were unable to attend, Brown and BCTC member Lyndon Martin kept the show rolling with the life histories of Sir Vassel and Gandhi and input from members of their audience about their Indian heritage. Sir Vassel’s daughter , Theresa Bodden, accepted a bouquet from BCTC in honour of her father, sponsored by Minister for District Administration Juliana O’Connor Connolly. The minister was unable to attend the event.

“Sir Vassel Johnson’s contribution to Caymanian society will be treasured and respected for generations to come. He laid down the foundation for the Cayman success as a financial centre. BCTC’s celebration of India’s 62nd independence anniversary also paid tribute to Sir Vassel as a man who had an Indian lineage. His grandparents on both his mother and father’s side came from Punjab and Madras. So any event being held to celebrate Indian ethnicity in the Cayman Islands should include the honouring of Cayman’s Knight, Sir Vassel Johnson, who was Jamaican by birth, Caymanian at heart and Indian by grand parentage,” Brown explained.

Asked why the life of Ghandi should be celebrated in the Cayman Islands, he said, “Interestingly enough, Sir Vassel Johnson has been compared by Business Age as ‘doing for Cayman what Gandhi did for India’. The life of Mohandas Gandhi should be celebrated in the Cayman Islands I think for his message of non-violence. Caymanian, regional and international political and religious leaders could learn a lot from the life of Gandhi. Caymanian youth would do well in learning about Gandhi’s nonviolence approach instead of picking up the gun as some are doing today.”

Brown told CNS that overall “In celebration of India” was a huge success and those who attended came away with a better understanding of each other. It also promoted the concept of tolerance through artistic expression. “I would say in that there was a wide cross section of the Cayman Brac community in one place celebrating the culture of a local subculture. The fact that people were able to come on stage and express their cultural ethnicity and truly be who they are was phenomenal.”

He said, “The highlight for me personally was the inclusion of the women of Indian heritage who participated in the fashion show and were also shared their pride in their Hindu faith with the audience.”

BCTC will be presenting the 2nd annual In Celebration of India on August 15th 2010 in the Cayman Islands. On November 7th 2009 BCTC along with other organizers will present “In remembrance of ’32 and Paloma hurricanes”. More information will be forthcoming. Brown said that the theatre company was also planning BCTC storytelling events in Bodden Town and East End before the end of the year, date and details to be announced. A full cast play is also being planned in the future.”

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