Youth to pursue performing arts dream with help from CIBC FirstCaribbean

Young people in Barbados interested in pursuing a career in the performing arts will have the opportunity to do so thanks to CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank.

The bank recently presented Operation Triple Threat (OTT) with a scholarship for two students to attend its year-long performing arts programme next year. The presentation took place recently after the end of OTT’s 2015 production of The Wiz at the Frank Collymore Hall.

Creative Director and Founder, Janelle Headley, said that auditions for next year’s programme would take place in June. “The scholarship awardees could be new or returning students with selection being based on their level of talent and their need.

Ms. Headley said that the scholarships would have a significant impact on the recipients. “The scholarships which CIBC FirstCaribbean donated will help to provide an opportunity for them to receive training and pursue a performing arts career. The bank’s contribution also helps to provide a safe place to grow, a home away from home.”

(From right) Mark St. Hill and Michelle Whitelaw of CIBC FirstCaribbean pose with cast members of The Wiz. The production was staged recently to sold-out audiences by the developmental performing arts programme, Operation Triple Threat.

(From right) Mark St. Hill and Michelle Whitelaw of CIBC FirstCaribbean pose with cast members of The Wiz. The production was staged recently to sold-out audiences by the developmental performing arts programme, Operation Triple Threat.

Ms. Headley said she was “really thankful” for the bank’s assistance. “We’ve only been around for four years and we’re thankful that they decided to take a chance on us. It’s great to be recognised by a company like CIBC FirstCaribbean who see the worth of what we’re doing. We’re very grateful and hope it can be a long-term relationship.”

Mark St. Hill the bank’s Managing Director, Retail, Business and International Banking said CIBC FirstCaribbean was pleased to continue its support of youth involved in developmental endeavours.

In terms of the impact of OTT on students Ms. Headley explained: “For me the thing that stands out is a new sense of confidence among students, some of whom were quite insecure or came from a system where they did not quite fit in. After being in an environment with others like them it’s been great to see the transformation.”

Ms. Headley added that several students had gone on to attend international performing arts institutions. “Two students have gone onto the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) in New York, another student is attending the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan, USA, while two other students auditioned and got into schools overseas.”

Ms. Headley, a vocalist and music educator, said that the reception to this year’s sold-out production was great. “The audience was very impressed with the level of the students’ work. Some people said they felt that they were actually watching a Broadway show.”

OTT is aimed at students between the ages of 7 and 21. The idea for the programme was inspired by the noticeable need for training for the youth to become what the entertainment industry calls a ‘triple threat’- skilled in each of the three disciplines of singing, dancing and acting.

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