On Monday, December 11, 2017, 7 p.m. the Serengeti at Hope Zoo will come to life with the musical Forbidden Fruit.

Forbidden Fruit is a coming of age story about two young people from different backgrounds that fall in love while navigating the transitional period into adulthood. The mixed messages and social constructs about love and the importance of money further compound their struggle to keep their love alive.   This story chronicles their journey, as they courageously find ways to survive and escape their tension-filled home-life and communities.  This story is not unlike that faced by many young people in Jamaica today.

The development and production of Forbidden Fruit was a collaborative process having been created by the first cohort of the Masters- in- Residence (MIR) Programme under the guidance of the world-renowned musical director and producer Mikie Bennett. ‘roots’ theatre playwright, Trudy Bell; choreographer and creative practitioner, Michael Holgate; and Rising Star judge ‘SwaggBoss’ Conroy B. Wilson made significant contributions to the script and costume design.

The Masters in Residence Programme is an initiative of the USAID-funded Fi Wi Jamaica Project out of the University of Technology, Jamaica.  Through coaching, mentorship and entrepreneurship the Programme aims to, inter alia, improve the international appeal and global competitiveness of Jamaican music as well as reposition Jamaican music as a positive and progressive music genre.  Further, in achieving the goals of the Fi Wi Jamaica Project, the MIR Programme endeavours “to build on our legacy of standing against inequality and championing human rights with all the flavours of our rich culture.”

Fi Wi Jamaica Project is a three-year project currently in its second year and has as its core objective the empowerment of members of socially excluded and vulnerable groups through social, cultural and economic interventions that strengthen public demand and advocacy for their respect, dignity, and freedom from discrimination and violence.   The Project will come to an end in 2018.

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