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Come to the craziest Hallowe’en party of all

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Adrian Kawaley Lathan has had a busy year.

He has trained mermaids, breathed fire, worked on documentaries, helped produced a music festival and played a host of characters on and off stage.

The 33-year-old plays himself tomorrow for Fear on the Pier, a Hallowe'en celebration he describes as “the crazy adult party of your dreams”.

It's a follow-up to 2014's Nightmare on Queen Street. Mr Kawaley Lathan partnered with Peter Clarke of KJK Productions for this year's party at Pier 6.

“Imagine aerial silks, aerial hoops, pole dancing, fire breathing, fire swords — it's a carnival of craziness,” he said. “This is Hallowe'en like you've never seen it before. Think Cirque de Soleil; think Vegas.”

Guests go through a haunted house on the way in. Meanwhile, there are prizes for the best costumes, a ghost ship, games, flaming cocktails, cannonballs, aerialists and rope bondage. Actors will spread themselves throughout the venue; skeleton pirates and voodoo witches will be selling drinks.

“There's a playground in there where people can push the limits a little bit more than what they're used to.

“There's treasure to be won; there are games to be played. If you want to sit and chill, there are areas for that; if you want to dance there are areas for that. If you want to watch somebody get tied up and suspended, there are areas for that,” Mr Kawaley Lathan laughed.

A fire show on an anchored Calico Jack is modelled on the popular show he runs in Dockyard through his company, Rockfire Productions.

“My whole objective when I started Rockfire was to increase the value of arts in Bermuda; to provide opportunities for local performers to be seen and heard and paid for the work that they do and to create an industry in Bermuda where there was none,” he said.

“When I look back on this journey I'm happy to say that it's happening. It's evolving.”

He has lived and worked in Canada, Austria, Spain, Germany and Hong Kong. After completing his bachelor's degree at Ontario's McMaster University, he sought a master's in peace studies in Austria.

His thesis looked at how you create community using the arts. He hopes the industry will sustain future generations of Bermudians.

“When I was in Berlin, I was living with fire dancers, circus performers, jugglers, aerialists and when I saw the whole community around circus arts there, living in that environment, I said Bermuda needs all this.

“Whenever I'm out there in the world doing amazing things, I think, ‘Why doesn't this happen in Bermuda? Why can't it happen here?' And really the answer to that is because it takes effort and dedication and passion — probably unthanked and unpaid for a long time — to actually make it happen.”

He started Rockfire seven years ago and has worked at it full-time for the past three. The company creates large-scale events such as a skate park at Bull's Head and designing the Aquarium and Grotto Bay for the music festival Leroyfest, this summer.

Mr Kawaley Lathan said locals regularly assume the talent is flown in. He takes it as a compliment, but admits “it drives me crazy”.

“That's one of the big things that I'm trying to prove — Bermudians are capable of putting on these top-notch shows,” he said.

“You don't need to fly anybody in. If you have the budget, we can create some incredible stuff here.

“If I can create all of these different experiences that make Bermuda more dynamic for visitors and locals, that's exactly where Rockfire is going.”

It's up to the community to make the investment, he said.

“It's all good and well to be creative, but there's time and effort and experience that goes into all of that,” he said.

“When I was young I took dance classes with all the dance schools on the island. I was teaching tango with Sabor; I've been performing in local theatre with BMDS and G&S. There's so much that goes into productions that really the turnaround has to be realising that if you want something awesome, like Las Vegas, you pay that Las Vegas money. We're going to create these custom events and opportunities, but if you want to see Bermuda thrive, you invest.”

•Fear on the Pier tomorrow at 9pm, Pier 6, Front Street. Tickets, $50, are available at Ptix.bm

Carnival of fun: Adrian Kawaley-Lathan and Rockfire Productions plan Hallowe'en party at Pier 6 (Photographs by Akil Simmons)
Living life to the full: training mermaids and breathing fire are on Adrian Kawaley Lathan's unusual résumé
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Published October 28, 2016 at 2:00 pm (Updated October 28, 2016 at 6:45 am)

Come to the craziest Hallowe’en party of all

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