Activities marking DOMFESTA’s thirtieth anniversary celebrations are set to officially begin next Friday, April 26th.

To this end.....the Ministry of Culture has released its calendar of activities which features art and heritage-based events leading up to June 2nd.

At the media launch of DOMFESTA activities on Wednesday, Chief Cultural Officer, Raymond Lawrence disclosed that three plays will form part of this year’s activities.

“We’re happy to announce today that the DOMFESTA programme this year includes three plays: ‘Desired Will’ by The New Dimension Theatre from April 26 to 28, directed by Steve hyacinth; ‘A Tale of Slavery Part 2’ by the Libra Foundation from May 3 to 5, written by Giselle Pierre and directed by Alwin Bully, and ‘A Tempest’ By La Cour Des Arts from May 31 to June 2, directed by Alwin Bully. It will be staged at the Alliance Française.”

Also featuring on the calendar of activities are a Primary Schools’ Creole Spelling Bee; the 40th Giraudel/Eggleston Flower Show; a week of African Liberation Day celebrations and the annual Jazz n’ Creole scheduled for Sunday May 19th.

Dominicans can also look forward to performances from the best local art students.

“The Dame High Scorers’ Concert, featuring the students who performed very well in their music exams, is scheduled to take place on Thursday May 9 at The Fort Young Hotel from 7:00 pm. Schools’ Arts Gold will feature the schools which obtained gold medals at the recently held National Schools’ Arts Festival. It will be held on Thursday 16 May at the Arawak House of Culture from 7:00 pm.”

The festival’s headline event: the DOMFESTA exhibition is carded for May 14th at the Old Mill.

During the launch of the DOMFESTA 2013 programme of activities, the Cultural Division also launched a DVD of traditional Dominican dances.

Chief Cultural Officer, Raymond Lawrence explained.

“We take the opportunity to launch our new DVD of Dominica’s traditional dances which features the Petite Savanne Cultural Group, the Capuchin Cultural Group, Tradibelle and the two jing ping bands which played for the dancers: the Petite Savanne Jing Ping Band and the Portsmouth Jing Ping Band. This DVD is yet another very important step in the documentation of our folk culture. It is meant to be enjoyed and at the same time it is a very useful tool for groups and persons who want to learn the traditional dances of Dominica. The DVD also serves as great promotion and preservation for Dominica’s traditional dances,” he said.

On the occasion of the thirtieth anniversary of the Dominica Festival of the Arts, the Cultural Division has also published some of Dominica’s heritage through photographs.

“We also [present] a second volume of old Dominican photographs. Through the years, the Cultural Division has been able to collect old photographs of Dominican life: people, buildings, streets and landscapes. The photographs in this book cover a time period from around the early 1900’s to the 1980’s. This is... called Heritage Dominica.”

He continued, “As we know, photographs capture memories of what took place in specific periods of our history. They capture the mood and spirit of the time period, the type of expressions, the landscapes, and the types of clothes and houses which existed as well. They present us with a real and firsthand view of what was taking place at the time and they give us glimpses into our past and meaningful insight into our heritage.”

The Cultural Division believes in the preservation and celebration of art and culture and according to the Chief Cultural Officer, Dominica is a better place because of festivals like DOMFESTA.

“We feel that culture has a very important role to play in the development of the nation, in providing a strong sense of identity, in building our cultural industries [and] in providing jobs and income opportunities for our people. Culture also has a role to play in unifying the nation and engaging our population in positive activities- in that way [it] helps to curb crime and violence in the society. Culture is a healing and peaceful force in the life of any country.”