Blue Mountain Theatre was created in 1989 to redress the balance of the lamentable lack of theatre on offer to the average black theatre patron. The only theatre specifically aimed at a black audience was either South African and of an intensely political nature or Shakespearean text with black faces. These works were all heavily Art Council funded, with a view to attracting a black audience and inevitably played to near empty houses with not a black face in sight. We personally have sat through such performances where the audience numbered six people - until intermission and then it was none.
Common sense told us that a black audience must exist - it certainly did in the Caribbean. Jamaica notably had a thriving theatrical community with a number of different productions running on a nightly basis. Theatre was not dogged with snobbery or revered as the domain of the intellectual elite but seen as a social event frequented by all the family (content permitting).
The 'Whitehall' style farce (that exists so comfortably in the West End with white actors) was commonplace in Kingston - much loved and well received. The tastes of the indigenous community were being catered for and attendance reflected this. Our aim therefore was to recreate the culture of accessibility in theatre that existed in the Caribbean. It was no small task. We faced untold prejudice. It came at first in a predictable way from the old theatrical guard who were loath to accept new blood entering their theatre system - this we anticipated. What surprised us was the voice of those we identify as the 'black thought police' who were made very uncomfortable by our relentlessly ground breaking style.
Anyone who has seen a Blue Mountain show will know that we laugh in the face of political correctness and mock the travesty that is positive discrimination. The black thought police had made a livelihood out of presenting the black psyche as a no mans land that must remain feared and undiscovered. They were made to squirm at our fearless forays into the hitherto uncharted territory of the black experience on stage. Titles like Betrayed, Affairs, Smallie, Forbidden Love, Confessions of a Black Woman and most recently Wicked Bitches, the story of King Lear's daughters, examined the both painful and glorious reality of the black experience without fear.
We have both enriched and indeed opened up the experience of theatre to a brand new audience ...an audience that the Arts Council still refuse to believe exists. Nonetheless we continue to service an ever growing multi-ethnic audience who want to see their lives, their reality reflected on stage, unfettered. We remain delighted to oblige and insistent that one day our work will be recognised by the funding bodies!
Finally to our beloved audience, those brave individuals who have dared to experience Blue Mountain's roller coaster theatrical rides we hope to continue to thrill, provoke, stimulate and above all entertain you for years to come!