Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 28th 2015 Contents 4 | WOW MAGAZINE
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt June 28, 2015
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PATRICE BRIGGS was a natural choice when the
post of Artistic Director in Arts-in-Action became
open this year. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Lit-
eratures in English and Theatre Arts, a postgrad-
uate diploma in Arts, Cultural and Enterprise
Management (A.C.E.M), a Master's in Cross Sec-
toral and Community Arts, and has been a part of
the organisation since 1998. Arts-in-Action is the
premier applied creative arts company in the
Caribbean, founded by Mr. Rawle Gibbons, former
Head of the Department of Creative and Festival
Arts (DCFA), UWI; and Dr. Danielle Lyndersay, for-
mer Theatre Arts Coordinator, DCFA. Their belief
that 'the arts has an indispensable role to play in
the process of developing and empowering social
and attitudinal change' has resulted in their pro-
grammes being sought after by schools, ministries,
and corporate organisations to execute training
programs using drama and theatre-in-education
strategies. We sat down with Briggs for a few
questions on her life, the concept of arts educa-
tion, and her new position as Artistic Director.
HOW DOES IT FEEL TO STILL
BE THERE AND HAVE ASCENDED
THE RANKS TO THIS TOP POSITION?
There's definitely something that keeps me here.
It can be overwhelming at times to carry the man-
tle, but when I look at all the accolades we have re-
ceived over the years, from the simplest
recognition for outstanding contribution to the de-
velopment of Youth Red Cross in the South East
District to the UWI's Vice Chancellor's Award for
Excellence in Public Service, it humbles me to be
part of this dynamic organisation.
OKAY. SO, HOW DID YOU GET IN-
VOLVED WITH ARTS-IN-ACTION?
At DCFA, I would always see these
people in blue T-shirts around
the compound going in and
out of this little office,
and I was always cu-
rious as to what
they were doing, so I
eventually went in and
joined. It was an immedi-
ate baptism by fire:
school tours, acting, fa-
cilitating workshops. I
just got caught up in the activity of it all.
HOW VAST IS THE COMPANY'S
Over the last 21 years we have managed to create
a diverse listing of programmes that can be cate-
gorised into three areas: Arts-in-Schools, Arts-in-
Office and Arts-in-Communities. Our school
programmes deal with a range of social, curriculum,
environmental and leadership issues such as bully-
ing, gang violence, career choices, biodiversity,
HIV/Aids, etc. Our Arts-in-Office and Community
portfolios take us into the ministerial, private/public
sector (bpTT, Bhp Billiton, TSTT, etc.) and commu-
nities. Our international portfolio includes PAHO,
Association of Caribbean States, the Canadian and
US Embassy, UNDP, UN Women, and International
Arts Education Conferences worldwide.
THAT IS A LOT! HOW DO YOU HANDLE IT ALL?
With a lot of help from a lot of good people and we
are always on the hunt for young people who have
a passion and abilities in the arts and who are willing
to be committed to this type of work. Arts-in-Action
currently comprises a team of four core team mem-
bers, an executive board, and a resource team of
student and graduate facilitators trained by us to
undertake our interactive performance workshops.
We are now in the process of developing a junior
team to ensure the vision of the work is carried on.
YOUR PARENTS ARE BOTH TEACHERS ...
WHY NOT FOLLOW IN THEIR FOOTSTEPS?
From childhood, playing teacher was something I did.
It's in my blood, I guess, but after the degree I didn't
want to teach in a traditional sense. Teaching as I do
now by engaging teachers, students, CEOs, etc., in an
alternative forum, is much more fun for me.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE
PARTS OF THE JOB?
Working with teachers on creating alternative
teaching methods for their students and also em-
powering corporate persons to take time to re-
lease and note the human side of things. I just love
seeing the enabling power of drama in operation!
WHAT'S NEXT FOR ARTS-IN-ACTION?
For this school term we have our 'Stepping Up'
programme, which targets SEA primary school
students as they transit into secondary school life.
Programmes such as this helps these students in
dealing with their fears, expectations and emo-
tions about making such a milestone transition
in their lives. We are also getting ready for our
'21 Workshops School Launch', which offers sec-
ondary schools the opportunity to choose from
a diverse 21 Arts-in-Action workshop menu, which
will include a discounted teachers training work-
shop. Arts-in-Action's mandate is to make school
and community programs attainable for those
who need it. Their corporate programs and grant
funding help subsidise much needed work in
schools and communities, so they always wel-
come 'Arts Activators' and Sponsors who are will-
ing, interested and able to support their work.
By Tishanna Williams
Photo by Arnaldo James
• For more info on Arts-in-Action, to become an
'Arts Activator' or support an Arts Education
project in your school or community, email:
firstname.lastname@example.org or call (289-4242).
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