Shakespeare Mas is a unique Carnival masquerade to Carriacou, but derives from Grenada’s speech-mas tradition and stick fighting that illustrates Carriacou’s own history and culture in this Creole synthesis. The costume is a colourful shirt/tunic emblazoned with a black heart and mirrors over a white petticoat, face mask, long cape suspending from the head onto the back, and bullwhip. It takes to the streets of villages to the town Hillsborough each Carnival where players do mock battles in their recitation of verses from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, and if they should err, they are harassed about their padded crowns. Brave!
Persons and groups in villages across the island participate in the ‘Shakespeare Mas’, but those of Mt. Royal, Six Road sand Mt. Pleasant are historically identified with the element, and today it is widely recognized that these villages remain as the main areas associated with the element. Special recognition to ICH/Shakespeare Mas group and practitioners in Carriacou as:
“Hero” representing villages to the east, west and north of the island, which includes Mount Royal, Grand Bay, Windward, Top Hill, Bogles, Craigston, Dover, Petit Carenage, Belair, and Mount Pleasant.
“Freeport” representing central located villages, which include Mount Desire, Tiff, Six Roads, Brunswick, Prospect Hall, Hillsborough, and Beausejour.
“Banroy” representing villages to the south, which include Bellevue South, Belmont, Harvey Vale, and L’Esterre.
Jenny Duncan and Mary Noel, who have been training students at the Mt. Pleasant Government School since 2012.
Faithlyn George, one of the first women to play Shakespeare Mas’, has also been training students in her community of Harvey Vale since 2015.
Glenroy Boastwain, a current Shakespeare Mas’ King, is training children in the primary and secondary schools in Carriacou.
George Andrew, a local businessman, and his family based in the diaspora, render support to defray the cost by providing materials for costumes.
Lydia Andrew, a seamstress which sews for free.
The late Stephen Alexander, President of the Carriacou Historical Society and Museum, was a staunch supporter of the mas’ and its continuity.
Due to the importance of this element among Carriacou communities and its unique characteristic and location, Grenada has proposed this element to be nominated and included at the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity (UNESCO). Courtesy by Grenada Tourism Authority.