DOWNTOWN KINGSTON MUSIC THEATRE
The Downtown Kingston Music Theatre, DKMT, is a performing arts programme that utilizes the musical theatre genre to engage students, ages 12-18, who live and attend school in downtown Kingston to develop skills in the theatrical arts.
During the planned sessions, on Saturday, during the school year and an intensive month long summer camp, students are exposed to, and trained in the performing arts, dance, acting, music/vocal and instrumental and technical theatre skills. This programme is designed with a particular emphasis on the participants gaining vocational training and eventually, certification in the areas of technical theatre, set design, costume, sound, light, and stage management. These are trades that the participants can then deploy to earn a living in the creative industries.
The pilot phase of the programme began in May of 2017 and since then more than 250 youth have benefited with more than 500 hours of performing arts training provided. Participants have staged end of camp performances of, Fiddler on the Roof, Once on this Island and Kidstown”. During the program year, 2019-2020, the children were involved in the creation of an original Jamaican musical, Zingi, including producing a trailer which will be used to raise funds to make a feature film of the story.
DKMT, has since its inception partnered with the Uptown Musical Theatre, MUTT, an award winning, Junior Music Theatre Company located in New Orleans, Louisiana. UMT was founded by Delfeayo Marsalis, a Grammy Award winning Trombonist, and member of the world famous New Orleans Marsalis family, often referred to as the “First Family of Jazz”. Delfeayo, founded UMT, in 2000 with the goal of engaging young people, ages 8-18 in musical theatre as a learning and therapeutic practice, especially following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.
Delfeayo, serves as the Artistic Creative Director of the DKMT, and has led two teams of theatre professionals to complete two, three-day residencies’ with the Downtown Kingston Music Theatre. Those visits were designed to enable skills transfer and the teaching of best practices for the students as well as the local tutors and instructors.
The Downtown Kingston Music Theatre was conceptualized and developed by Enith Williams, a long time volunteer with the Holy Trinity Cathedral Community. Mrs. Williams serves as the Executive Director and Coordinator for the DKMT. Funding has come from a broad cross section of local and international public and private sector partners, including: The CHASE Fund, The US Embassy in Jamaica, Cecil B. Facey Foundation, CIBC First Caribbean International Bank, Imperial Optical Jamaica, The Spanish Court Hotel, The American Friends of Jamaica, the Jamaica Music Museum, the Reggae Studies Unit of University of the West Indies and a Fi Wi Jamaica Project a USAID funded initiative at the University of Technology.