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» GUEST RUNDOWNS » KINGSTON’S LEGENDARY THE WARD THEATRE IS J$10M AWAY FROM REOPENING!

KINGSTON’S LEGENDARY THE WARD THEATRE IS J$10M AWAY FROM REOPENING!

The once-buzzing Ward Theatre still stands tall at North Parade, downtown Kingston. - Norman Grindley/Chief Photographer
The once-buzzing Ward Theatre still stands tall at North Parade, downtown Kingston. – Norman Grindley/Chief Photographer—

By Shereita Grizzle—

Members of the public are now being encouraged to take part in clean-up efforts at the Ward Theatre.

Executive member of the Ward Theatre Foundation, Jonathan Greenland, believes that with the help of the public and corporate Jamaica, the historic theatre may soon be able to reopen its doors.

In a previous interview with The Gleaner, Greenland stated that repairs to the theatre would be in excess of US$7 million ($758,800,000), but believes that approximately $10 million will get the theatre doors open again.

“That will help to fix chairs, check out the air conditioning and do some painting, as well as fix the bathroom facilities. Just those minor things will allow us to welcome members of the public once more,” he said.

Though 2014 marked 102 years since the theatre was handed over to the City of Kingston by then Custos of Kingston Charles ‘James’ Ward, Greenland is of the view that the structure and acoustics of the Ward Theatre are in good condition. Greenland is hoping this year will bring a change in fortune for the century-old theatre.

TheWardTheater

An organised clean-up effort is in the pipeline and members of the public are being encouraged to volunteer their help.

Greenland also believes that corporate Jamaica can push the restorative initiative a far way.

“We are planning to have a ‘sponsor-a-chair initiative’, where you can give us the funds to have a chair fixed in your name, among other things,” he said.

In times past, the Ward Theatre played host to the greatest talents from across the globe, while also serving as the platform for some of our most outstanding local talent, including Sir Willard White, Louise Bennett, and Garth Fagan.

With its architectural elegance and acoustic construction, the potential tourism boost the Ward Theatre holds has always been a key factor in getting the building renovated.

Greenland told The Gleaner that a large number of tourists venture downtown on a daily basis just to look at the building, and admits that staff has had to turn away those who want a closer look.

shereita.grizzle@gleanerjm.com

 

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