Arts & Leisure

Fun Fact about me: I come from a family of artists. My mother, Susan, is an artist and photographer; my Uncle Johnny is an artist and writer; and my Great Aunt Bessie was a sculptor with pieces in the Smithsonian (her husband was a newspaper reporter and author). My husband, Daryl, is also an artist.

Sensing a trend yet?

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My mother and I travelled a lot when I was growing up. The best form of education for children will always be found outside of the classroom and through travel. Here we are in Saba in 1988. 

When I was growing up, I was always involved in a lot of different artistic activities ranging from photography to drama class. When we moved to Anguilla in the late nineties, the after-school arts scene was limited at best.

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On the beach in 1994 when I attended one year of primary school in Anguilla. We would later move back permanently in 1998.

There was the dance/performing group All-Ah-We (I never joined because, Second Fun Fact: I HATE DANCING) and that was basically it. Then, one summer Eleanor, a theatre arts college student, decided to do her thesis on creating a theatre troupe in Anguilla. APPLE Theatre became the highlight of my teenage summers (Third Fun Fact: this was where Daryl and I became friends).

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Daryl and I performing during APPLE Theatre in the early 2000s
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Me and Daryl in a 2012 feature for Design Anguilla magazine.
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Present Day: In our natural habitat, the beach, getting content for my Instagram page.

Unfortunately, we kids were unable to keep up the group after Eleanor stopped coming. I performed in a couple plays with Anguilla’s long-standing Sunshine Theatre Group as an adult, but since then my stage acting foray has been nil*.

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Me, second from left, during a rehearsal with APPLE Theatre. I would have been around 14 or 15 here.

What isn’t nil, however, is the arts scene in Anguilla. There are now many opportunities for children to get involved in the arts, which is awesome! We have music programs, art classes, I teach an after school creative writing class to primary-aged kids now, and we finally have theatre for children.

My daughter Savannah recently joined STAGES, the theatre arts troupe here in Anguilla. What I like about the group is that it encompasses a broad aspect of both visual and performing arts. Savannah has enjoyed developing as an artist and shows some pretty decent organisational skill as a stage manager (she is not as forthcoming on stage as I was during my formative years, but we are working on that). The troupe itself is led by Collette Jones-Chin, a multi-faceted writer/performer/visual artist who is a woman after my own artistic heart.

This year, STAGES has been invited to participate in a cultural exchange program with an International School in Cuba. The group will be flying to Cuba in late April to perform the Derek Walcott classic West Indian play Ti Jean and His Brothers. In true fundraising spirit, we held our first event last night at the breathtaking Spyglass Hill Villa. Of course, it was an art night. You can’t go wrong with wine and paint brushes!

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The views from Spyglass are my favourite on island. 
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How great is this hammock?
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Sunset from Spyglass 

For US$25, you had access to everything you needed to paint your own unique masterpiece. Art instructors were on hand (Daryl was one) to assist when needed and everyone who came had a blast.

I’m sure the bottomless wine (and lemonade for the non-drinkers) helped to free up any inhibitions about painting.  If you missed it, don’t worry because we will definitely be hosting another event soon.

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The team behind the event included members of the troupe and parents.

*Remember above when I said that I am not acting anymore? Well, guess who is back! I am excited to share that I am part of the cast of “The Vagina Monologues” which will be showing on March 9th and 10th at Paradise Cove. I will be blogging separately about this experience next week.

Send me an email at vanessacthompson@gmail.com if you would like to purchase a ticket. It is sure to be an intense show.Screen Shot 2018-02-25 at 10.12.08

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4 thoughts on “Arts & Leisure

  1. ok so when is this performance? When is the next paint night! I’m in – as long as I am in AXA!!!

    Renee

    ps Did not know that you were this COOL!!

    Like

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