Save our children! ASHE promotes ‘The Rights of the Child’

Kumina-scene-ASHE-Jamaica-Ded-Lef

Greetings lovelies! It’s my pleasure to share the news of this very important initiative spearheaded by longstanding performing arts and edutainment ensemble ASHE, to inform children of their rights — something I’m very passionate about.Ashe-Summer-camp-Jamaica-2015

Here in Jamaica and around the world we are seeing what seems like a new wave of crimes and sexual offences against children, so it is important that we not only take a stand against it, but also help to enlighten the little ones on how to recognise when things are heading south…

Photos: Aldo Miles

ASHE-performs-in-Ded-Leff-play-Jamaica

A scene from ASHE’s Ded Leff musical

Educate Our Children

Hush, ASHE’s upcoming children’s musical, tackles both tasks with The Rights of the Child summer camp from July 6 – 30, 2015. (FYI: Hush is the Jamaican term meaning be quiet/never mind/don’t worry about it.)

In keeping with ASHE’s mandate of YOUTH EMPOWERMENT THROUGH EDUTAINMENT, the camp will teach children about their protection and rights at a level that is appropriate for them. The project, an engaging four-week performing arts training session that will culminate with the musical, is endorsed by the Ministry of Youth and Culture, Child Development Agency, the Ministry of Education and UNICEF.

I am really impressed by the initiative, kudos to ASHE for using their influential position to help our nation’s children. If their ongoing musical production —Ded Leff— is anything to go by, it promises to be a great experience for the youth involved. Speaking of which… 

ASHE-Jamaica-Ded-Leff-play-cast

The cast of Ded Leff

ASHE’s Ded Leff – A must-see!

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to see Ded Leff (ASHE’s first theatre production in their new Cargill Avenue space) and quickly jumped at it with my dear uncle George in tow. As former theatre performers and ASHE fans, we were as excited about their reintroduction to the world in a new space as we were about the new crop of artists composing the edutainment troupe, plus, of course, there was the production to look forward to.

We naturally had our questions – what would the Vibes Theatre be like? Would the calibre of their entertainment remain high? Was the play any good? However we were optimistic as the ASHE of old never failed to deliver, and boy, were we right!

Ded-Leff-Ashe-Jamaica-act 1

Act 1, Scene 2 of ASHE’s Ded Leff

Transporting and educational, it gives a good look inside Jamaica’s traditions, religious and cultural landscape as well as the inner workings of interpersonal relationships between individuals and within communities. Employing their new ‘reggae theatre’ technique — a fusion of Jamaican reggae and comedic drama— Ded Leff effectively explores themes of self-discovery, cultural acceptance, the power of communication, love and family through a story that takes place over the course of a ‘set-up’ or ‘nine night.’

Ded-Leff-play-ASHE-Jamaica

ASHE’s Ded Leff – Act 1, Scene 1

Equal parts hilarious and provocative, it tells the tale of a young man who migrated to England with his mother as a child who returns to rural Jamaica for her burial and to claim his birthright. To do this, he must fulfill the dictates of his mothers’ will, i.e. travel to various local sites and participate in activities with his estranged father and antagonistic sister.

Scene-from-Ded-Leff-ASHE-play-Jamaica

ASHE’s Ded Leff in full swing

The Michael Holgate-directed musical is lively, real, emotive and engaging. It boasts a fantastic script and proper character development with authentic, well-timed Jamaican music — from kumina/myal to dancehall and classic reggae by Diana King, Junior Gong & Jimmy Cliff among others.

Myal-scene-ASHE-Ded-Lef-play-Jamaica

A very convincing ‘Myal’ scene in ASHE’s Ded Leff

Ded Leff is generally a good production that the whole family can enjoy, with only a few minor quirks that could use improvement (presumably caused by budgetary constraints). What it lacks in production quality, however, it certainly makes up for with its super-talented cast.

ASHE-Ded-Lef-play-Jamaica

The talented ASHE cast in action

It’s still playing at the Vibes Theatre, 8 Cargill Avenue this Friday-Sunday at 8:00 PM ahead of moving across the island as of next week, so I strongly recommend you go see it. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed. Remember also that in supporting the play, you help ASHE’s other well-needed community and youth-centred initiatives like their upcoming summer camp production.

For more details contact ASHE at:

TEL: (876) 960-2985; E-mail: asheperforms@gmail.com

Though this post was sponsored by ASHE, the views reflected here are my own.

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