Saturday, October 10, 2009

Wycliffe Bennett dies after long illness....

Well known theatre producer, director and trainer Wycliffe Bennett who was one of Jamaica's film pioneers has died.
Mr Bennett who was 87 died shortly after 3 this afternoon at the University Hospital following a long illness.

Mr Bennett was a pioneer organizer of the national arts Movement in Jamaica and a chairman of the Ward Theatre Foundation.

He was a former chairman of the Creative Production and Training Centre, Jamaica School of Drama and Jamaica School of Music.
Mr Bennett was also a general manager of the now defunct Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation from 1968 to 71 and from 1976 and 81.
He also worked as a civil servant with the ministries of Finance, Education, Welfare and Culture, Mining and Natural Resources.

Vice chancellor emeritus at the University of the West Indies, Professor Rex Nettleford describes Mr Bennett as a giant of the arts.

(Source: The Gleaner)

Prime Minister Bruce Golding has joined the lovers of the arts and culture industries in mourning the passing of Wycliffe Bennett described by many as Jamaica's 'Man of the Arts'.

Golding said Bennett, a former chairman of the Ward Theatre Foundation, former head of the Creative Production and Training Centre and the now-defunct Jamaica Broadcasting Corporation, would always be remembered for his dedication to the training of young people in the areas of voice and speech.

Bennett had dedicated almost 60 years of his life to being an outstanding producer, director and trainer in the theatre, radio, and film industries, and the prime minister said that time was always spent striving for excellence in every area of the arts.

His commitment to excellence was recently recognised with the awarding of the Gold Musgrave Medal, the latest addition to his many awards and citations.

Golding sent condolences to his wife of many years, Hazel, other members of his family and his numerous friends.

'Immeasurable contribution' to the arts

Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Olivia 'Babsy' Grange, also had much to say about Bennett's passing, saying in a press release:

"Wycliffe Bennett has contributed immeasurably to the development of the arts in Jamaica and the Caribbean. Long before it was fashionable to think outside the box, Wycliffe Bennett was doing it. He did things that were thought impossible in local theatre.

"Wycliffe, was a mild-mannered gentleman, who always gave of his best. He was an inspirational man."

Grange also issued condolences to the family.

The Media Association Jamaica Limited (MAJ) has also expressed sadness at Bennett's passing and released a statement which read:

"The Media Association Jamaica Limited expresses condolences to the family of Mr Wycliffe Bennett who died on Monday. Mr Bennett was a stalwart in our industry and the MAJ recognises the tremendous legacy he has left media owners, managers and workers. He has influenced the work of many in our industry whose biggest tribute to him would be to ensure that his commitment to excellence lives on.

Once again, we extend our sympathies to his widow, Hazel, and the other members of his immediate and extended family."

(Taken from: The Gleaner,October 7, 2009)

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