The National Gas Company of T&T (NGC) Sanfest launched its annual youth-in-performing-arts event at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (Southern Campus) last Thursday, celebrating its 49th anniversary and its 2019 theme — A Star is Born.
NGC Senior Manager (Projects) Winston Bailey said the company stands committed to sponsor the cause, despite a decline in pupil participation in the competition. He is hopeful for an increase in participation in 2019.
Each year, Sanfest honours pioneers who made indelible contributions to the arts and this year’s honourees include stilt walking trainer Junior Bisnath and, posthumously Dr Winston Bailey (The Mighty Shadow) and Ken “Professor” Philmore.
NGC has been supporting Sanfest where pupils of primary and secondary schools have found an avenue to express their talents in the performing, visual literary arts.
Bailey said, “We at NGC consider unrealised potential an unacceptable loss for our county. For this reason, we make it a corporate social responsibility priority to help match our nation’s young talent with opportunity.”
He added that NGC first pledged support to Sanfest in 2003 and assumed title sponsorship for the production in 2013.
Bailey continued: “While many have used the Sanfest stage as a springboard for careers in the arts and other fields, there are many others who missed or are missing opportunities by not taking full advantage of this platform. The number of primary schools entering the competition increased from 2017 to 2018, but the number of participants fell almost by 20 per cent. Secondary schools, both the number of schools and students taking part, fell year on year by nearly 25 per cent.”
Bailey urged parents and teachers to continue to encourage pupils to explore their artistic abilities as a potential start to a career.
Sanfest was founded in 1969 by James Lee Wah and has produced household names like Torrence Mohammed, Joyce Kirton Eric Butler, Rondell Donawa, Eugenie Joseph, Willi Chen and Avion Crooks.