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The magic of theatre

Anesta Henry

The magic of theatre

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Veteran producer Anna Adamira, known for scripting and directing elaborate local productions, just loves theatre. Actually, her diagnosis is that she is addicted to theatre and the only therapy that can treat her case is exposure to more theatre.
Her appreciation for this collaborative form of fine art that uses live performers to present the experience of a real or imagined event before a live audience runs deeper than the sea.
Since the 1970s, Adamira, who was trained at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, has produced an unprecedented number of spectacular shows, such as the St Winifred’s School’s pantomimes and the first lighted parade for the Barbados Cancer Society in the 1980s.
This weekend, she is presenting what she has deemed the best and most spectacular production she has ever staged.
Using modern technology to bring the stories alive, Adamira spent two years producing The Magical Storybook, which opened at the Gymnasium of the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex last Friday.
“About two years ago, I had an idea to write this particular story. So, knowing Dr Dorothy Cooke-Johnson [head of the Cancer Society], I went to her and told her that the economic times are bad now and I know the Cancer Society is desperate for funds.
“I told her that I would take up the challenge and raise sponsorship for the show,” the producer told EASY magazine during a recent interview.
 Adamira recalled that many told her that the strong winds from the current economic climate would supersede her efforts to raise sponsorship to make the show a reality.
“But I was determined to raise the sponsorship because an illness doesn’t know that the economy is bad. It ravages the children and you just have to have the funds there to help them,” she stressed.
According to her, this show is evidence that her efforts were successful.
“A year ago, I started writing scripts, collecting the visuals for the multimedia screen, getting costumes, getting the music, speaking to the dance schools, getting volunteers on board.
“I also started raising the sponsorship so that none of the sponsors could say to me, ‘We don’t have any money left’. I was a year ahead.”
Following the theme Children Helping Children, the producer and a cast of more than 475 ranging in age from 3 to 43, the majority coming from five local dance schools, and all giving of their time and energy to the worthy cause, went into practice mode.
The producer said that during the show her audience would recognize several well known characters like Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf, Goldilocks, Hansel and Gretel, The Three Little Pigs, Dorothy and Toto, The Tin Man, The Cowardly Lion and The Scarecrow with all the Munchkins going down the Yellow Brick Road.
On stage will be the famous mischievous elf Puck from A Midsummer Night’s Dream and his two friends Cobweb and Mustardseed, along with The Fairy Queen and Flora, Fauna and Merryweather from Sleeping Beauty, the Blue Fairy from Pinocchio, Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother and Glinda the Good Witch from The Wizard of Oz, along with many others.
“I am really very passionate about this show,” said Adamira, who produced a skating show called Kaleidoscope, which was backed by several businesses in Barbados raising substantial funds for the St Joseph Hospital when it was in financial difficulties in 1983.
Forty plus years into her career, the 66-year-old is also using The Magical Storybook to show that “theatre in Barbados can reach high standards”.
“I find that theatre in Barbados is mediocre. Nobody strives for the highest standards. When I do shows, I strive for the highest standard. The best sets. The best costumes. The best acting. The best dancing.
“This show is going to prove to Barbadians that not everything overseas is better. We can do it here with the will and the talent that we have right here. This show is going to prove to Barbadians that we should be doing a big show annually.”
If every ticket for the show is sold, $600 000 would go towards medical support for Barbadian children suffering from cancer.
Appealing to parents, Adamira pointed out that the show afforded many Barbadian children the opportunity to witness a Disney quality type show.
“And $35 is not an enormous amount of money, if you had to compare it to travelling to Disney. The children will get a similar Disney experience. They are being transported to Fairy Land and [will] see something that they will never get an opportunity to see again.
“A lot of these parents go to other shows and they have no problem paying $150 for a ticket, buying a new outfit, getting their nails done and hair styled. So supporting this worthy cause and giving your children an opportunity of a lifetime should not be a problem.”