The story of an enslaved woman accused of a plot to poison slave masters is one of the highlights of a “robust” calendar of events launched to showcase the culture and history of Bermuda.
Residents and visitors can look forward to theatrical performances and behind-the-scenes museum tours as well as the Gombey Festival and Taste of Bermuda weekend.
The Bermuda Tourism Authority has packaged activities around five categories — black heritage, art and architecture, the way we live, history and festivals.
Glenn Jones, its chief experience development officer, explained: “Bermuda’s culture is what sets her apart from other destinations and we’re doubling down on culture this fall with a robust calendar of brand-new and reimagined cultural experiences.”
He said the “headliner” black heritage experience was a weekly theatrical performance at the Cabinet Office.
Mr Jones explained: “Visitors and locals can gather at 7pm for a free 30-minute dramatisation of the final moments of Sally Bassett’s life.
“The actors will perform an excerpt from the Bermudian play Trial By Fire.
“Sally Bassett was an enslaved woman accused of a plot to poison slave masters.
“She maintained her innocence defiantly but it didn’t help; she was executed, burnt at the stake.”
Mr Jones said the Cabinet Office and the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs had joined the BTA to offer the event four times throughout October, starting last night.
Each performance will be preceded by a black-heritage bus tour from Titan Express, which will leave the Visitor Services Centre in Hamilton at 6pm.
Mr Jones said walking tours in Dockyard and St George’s would offer more insight into the island’s art and architecture.
He added: “We’re promoting an exhibition opening at Gallery 117 tomorrow and secret collections from the Masterworks vaults, which will open to art lovers as part of a special guided experience to see artwork not on display to the general public.”
Mr Jones explained that a series of tours under the “way we live” heading will invite visitors into Bermudian homes and neighbourhoods.
He said: “Government House, Sandymount, Carter House, Prince Alfred Terrace, Springfield House and the Cox home are all opening their doors.
“If there is a place on that listed that you haven’t visited before, I encourage you to take this opportunity, we certainly expect visitors will do so.”
Mr Jones said that in the history category, special attention would be given to the Town of St George and St David’s.
He added that the Gombey Festival and Taste of Bermuda were scheduled for the weekend of October 11, which coincides with a long weekend for many people who visit from the northeast US.
Tourism entrepreneur Kristin White explained that her work helped to “celebrate and elevate” black women’s voices, artistry and businesses.
This included the launch of her brand Untold Stories, “highlighting the journeys of dope black women from around the globe”.
Ms White explained that she has started curating trips to the island to welcome other black women and share what she loves about Bermuda.
These include an event
cohosted by Monroe Steele, a New York-based lifestyle and fashion influencer and blogger, in the coming days.
Ms White explained: “A small group of women will be joining us on island next week for an itinerary focused on highlighting Bermuda’s amazing history, culture and style, and will specially feature black female entrepreneurs and thought leaders.”
She said that the trip included an art tour, shopping in Hamilton, dinner at a private home and visits to spots on the African Diaspora Heritage Trail, with residents and other visitors invited to take part.
Lovitta Foggo, the Minister of Labour, Community Affairs and Sport, recalled that a number of events were hosted by the Department of Community and Cultural Affairs in August to commemorate the 185th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in Bermuda.
Ms Foggo said: “As you can certainly appreciate we value the importance of highlighting Bermuda’s historical legacy and we value those community partners like the BTA who join with us in raising awareness.
“Sally Bassett’s story is one that is poignant and painful but it is a story that needs to be shared with our residents and visitors because it is a story that significantly shaped our history.
“Ours is a long and rich heritage that we pull from and the stories of Sally Bassett and Mary Prince are the kinds of stories that Bermudians need to know and claim as a way of bolstering our national pride, and bolstering our identity and purpose.”
*For more information visit gotobermuda.com/events or for activities hosted by Ms White e-mail hiya@kristindotcom