Deadline of submission to Virgin Labfest 8 (2012) Writing Fellowship Program is June 8, 2012

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Deadline of submission to 
8th Virgin Labfest 2012 Writing Fellowship Program 
is June 8, 2012

Cultural Center of the Philippines
Virgin Labfest 8 (2012) Writing Fellowship Program
June 26-July 8, 2012

Program consists of script writing workshop, lectures, discussions and script critiquing.

The program is part of Virgin Labfest's desire to train young aspiring playwrights.  The Virgin Labfest is an annual festival of unpublished, unstaged, untried and untested works of playwrights, directors and actors. In the past seven years, it has gained its reputation by producing provocative and outstanding 'virgin' plays mostly which have been recognized by the Palanca Awards for Literature.

Applicants must be: 
a. an enrolled college student
b. 23 years old or below

To apply, submit the following to
a. Fully accomplished Application Form
b. 1 (one) to 3(three) sample literary works, either drama or fiction, full or excerpts which should have the following requirements.
o Written either in Filipino, English, Hiligaynon or Kinaray-a.
o Not have been published or produced by a professional theater company.
o Not have won in any national writing competition.
o In .pdf format (12 points, double-spaced, 8" x 11" paper)
o Total number of pages must not exceed 10.
o The real name / identity of the applicant must not be written on any part of the sample works.

Deadline for submission of all requirements: June 8, 2012. 

All submissions will undergo a pre-screening process. Accepted applicants must be present for the full duration of the two-weeklong fellowship and the culminating showcase.

Announcement of accepted applicants: June 15, 2012
A minimal registration fee of P300 will be required of all accepted applicants.

The applicants accepted to the Virgin Labfest 8 Writing Fellowship Program will be given an all-access pass to this year's festival plays and selected rehearsals as part of their mentorship.

The fellows will also have the opportunity to join the Talkback and Interaction with known playwrights, directors and selected actors.

The Fellowship Program will conclude in a staged reading of the fellow's works on July 8, 2012 at the
CCP Bulwagang Amado Hernandez at 6 PM.

Selected lectures and discussions open to the public for a fee of P50 per session.

Schedule for Virgin Labfest 8 (2012) is here.

Contact 832 1125 loc 1605 or

What do you think of this program? Share your comments.

Most suitable theater group to train with

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Theaterbator blog by Walter Ang received a message from a reader in a post:

Students during an acting exercise in a theater workhsop.
Hi! I'm looking for a group / school / theater troupe that accepts amateur singers who are willing to train in stage musical performance. I saw the links you wrote down but I don't know which one is most suitable for me (since I have no experience whatsoever). 

So, may I ask for your advice and perhaps if you have any contacts with any of the groups, I can also ask for it/them? Thanks a lot! I would really appreciate your feedback. Cheers!

adbercasio @ yahoo . com

Here is my reply:
hello adbercasio @ yahoo . com,

thank you for visiting theaterbator blog by walter ang.

if your school doesn't have a theater organization, you can join workshops offered by other schools or by theater groups.  sometimes, churches or local government units also offer workshops.

when it comes to "suitability," your time, proximity to a workshop venue, and budget notwithstanding, depending on our language skills, you can choose one of the "filipino-speaking" groups or one of the "english-speaking" groups.  eventually, you could explore the (other) language/s you're not too familiar with to stretch yourself.

language considerations aside, if you've had a chance to watch productions by different theater groups, you can get a feel of their styles of theater-making.  pick a group that resonates with you.

you can also audition for upcoming productions and, if you're accepted, train as you go along. sometimes the only way to "train" for something is to go ahead and do it.

ultimately, only you can judge if you're suited to a group's style or methods. but the more styles and methods and techniques you learn, the better for you.

to find out if there are upcoming auditions and workshops (while most workshops are offered during the summer months, there's always the possibility of a workshop or two being conducted during non-summer months), you can read newspapers, check out bulletin boards, surf the net, and, of course, visit (wink).

scroll down to the bottom of the blog to see free subscription options--choose one or all that will make it more convenient for you.

you can also contact the groups to ask if they have upcoming workshops.  go to theaterbator blog by walter ang's directory section, which lists some of the more known groups.

you might also like to read an article i wrote previously about workshops here.

break a leg with and keep on theaterbatoring!
theaterbator blog by walter ang

What do you think of workshops? Share your comments.

Peta's 45th season brings 'Bona,' other screen classics to stage

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Yay! My article about Philippine Educational Theater Association's 45th season (2012-2013) lineup was published in Philippine Daily Inquirer's May 28, 2012 issue.
Peta's 45th season brings 'Bona,' other screen classics to stage 
By Walter Ang

Eugene Domingo as Bona
Philippine Educational Theater Association's 45th season (2012-2013) lineup is hinged on cinema.

"We want to treat audiences to a unique experience of understanding and interrogating film through live theater performances," says artistic director Maribel Legarda.

The season begins in August with "Bona," a stage adaptation of the film of the same title, where a middle-class woman falls in love with a bit actor who abuses her.

Nora Aunor portrayed the titular character of the film written by Cenen Ramones and directed by National Artist for Film Catalino "Lino" Brocka.

TV and film comedy actress Eugene Domingo will portray Bona in this adaptation, where Bona is now a spinster call-center agent, to be directed by Socrates "Soxy" Topacio and written by Layeta Bucoy.

The season concludes in February 2013 with "D' Wonder Twins of Boac," an adaptation of William Shakespeare's comedy of mistaken identities, "Twelfth Night."

Translated by Rody Vera and to be directed by Legarda, "this will be a parody of how the Philippine film industry evolved in the '60s and '70s," she says.

Both productions will be staged at the Peta Theater Center in Quezon City.

Complementary events 
Building on this season's thematic take on cinema, Peta has shows and events to complement its stage productions.

In October, Peta will devote Wednesday evenings to shows featuring TV and film actors performing live.

"Watch your favorite celebrities without the benefit of a second take, only 'take one' performances," Legarda says.

In November, the group will stage a concert version of "Himala the Musicale," which was staged by Tanghalang Pilipino in 2003 and 2004, and is based on the film "Himala" written by Ricky Lee and directed by National Artist for Film Ishmael Bernal.

The musical adaptation, written by Lee with music by Vince de Jesus and lyrics by both, is about Elsa, a young woman who claims to have seen the Virgin Mary during an eclipse and begins to exhibit healing powers.

In December, Peta will host a Cinemalaya Retrospective. The Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival is held annually at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

"We plan on featuring ten of the best short and full-length films that have been shown in past Cinemalaya festivals," she says.

Available for booking
Peta is also offering three of its previously staged productions for touring this year.

"William," written by Ron Capinding* and directed by Legarda, uses rap, hip-hop and flip-top along with music composed by Jeff Hernadez to show how a group of high school students deals with being forced to study Shakespeare and his works.

"One of the main objectives of the play is to present how these Filipino-speaking youngsters reconcile with Shakespeare's English," she says.

"Batang Rizal," written by Christine Bellen and directed by Dudz Teraña, tracks the journey of a student named Pepito as he time-travels and meets Pepe, the young national hero José Rizal.

"Mga Kwento ni Lola Basyang," written by Bellen and directed by Phil Noble with music by Noel Cabangon, features three of Severino Reyes' stories: "Ang Prinsipeng Mahaba ang Ilong," about a prince cursed with a nose as long as an elephant's; "Binibining Tumalo sa Mahal na Hari," about a maiden who earns the ire of the king of Tondo and endures three challenges that test her cleverness; and "Ang Prinsipeng Duwag," about a prince who is ridiculed for his refusal to fight wars.

Call 4010821, 7256244; e-mail or

Also published online:

*Bonus! Read about Ron Capinding's writing process here.

What do you think of this production? Share your comments.

Dulaang Filipino joins Montreal Theater Fest 2012

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Yay! My article about Dulaang Filipino participating in the 2012 Montreal International Anarchist Theater Fest was published in Philippine Daily Inquirer's May 28, 2012 issue.
Dulaang Filipino joins Montreal Theater Fest
By Walter Ang

Riki Benedicto (far right) in rehearsals.
Dulaang Filipino recently staged Polish playwright Slawomir Mrozek’s “Out at Sea” for the 2012 Montreal International Anarchist Theatre Festival.

The festival hosted over 30 artists from the Philippines, France, the USA and Montreal to showcase “provocative and socially engaged theater.”

This was the first time a Filipino group joined the festival.

DF, now on its 20th year, is the resident theater company of De La Salle College of St. Benilde. The college’s School of Design and Arts offers theater-related courses such as Technical Theater, Dance, Production Design.

The festival’s theme, “Anarchy,” allowed for subject matter about persons, ideas and histories of anarchy as well as pieces that portrayed resistance “against all forms of power: state, capitalism, war, racism, homophobia, sexism, salaried work, etc.”

“Out at Sea” is described as an “absurd and macabre comedy” where three men on a raft in the middle of the ocean contemplate the notion of “having something to eat” as not a matter of what but whom.
The group performed the English version in Montreal and will stage a Filipino translation by Carlo Pacolor Garcia later this year in Manila.

Major in Multimedia Arts students Paw Castillo and Manjean Faldas play Fat Man and Medium Man, respectively. Major in Consular and Diplomatic Affairs students Ernest Lim plays Thin Man. Teddie Avelino choreographs.

Director Riki Benedicto is reinterpreting the work using the Philippine political landscape as a metaphor.

Benedicto is DF’s trainer. He is a member of Tanghalang Pilipino’s Actors Company (TP’s resident pool of actors) and recently directed “Bakit Wala Nang Nagtatagpo sa Philcoa Oberpas” for TP.

“The characters ‘campaign’ to each other and have elections [to decide who should be eaten], but there are four ballots even though there are only three characters, so right away there’s cheating involved,” says Benedicto.

“The Philippines has experienced different forms of government, different colonizers such as Spanish, American and Japanese, and even a dictatorship. Now we are experiencing the so-called  ‘people-powered’ democracy.

“With this kind of political circus going on, we want to ask, ‘What’s happening to our country? Is it the leaders, the people or the form of government we have that causes our suffering?’ The play reflects our current situation: still searching for freedom, still dreaming of a free country.”

Also published online:

What do you think of this production? Share your comments.

Bunraku to Broadway

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Yay! My article about travelling around Osaka was published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer's May 26, 2012 issue.  This isn't strictly about theater, but the article does mention in passing the theater scene and some of the performing arts (kabuki and bunraku) in Osaka--check out the part with the subhead "Bunraku to Broadway."

The original title that I submitted was "Ohayo Osaka!" but the editors changed it to the title below.
Spend your money on food and theater in Osaka
By Walter Ang

Osaka Castle
Osaka has an easygoing pace that allows for a relaxed approach to exploration.  We flew from Manila into Kansai International Airport via Cebu Pacific Airlines and a short train ride later, we were already at our hotel.

For first timers, it's good to know that subway stations usually include more than one "brand" of subway lines and can also include train lines. But no worries, in case you get confused, your ticket won't allow you to enter turnstiles of a different line and you'll simply have to backtrack until you find the correct turnstile.

Tourist offices within the major stations are helpful with English-speaking staff.  Get your maps, itineraries and information here since not all stations have tourist offices and most of the stations do not have English signage nor English-speaking staff.

One of the major draws for families with children would be Universal Studios Japan (which has begun construction of its Wizarding World of Harry Potter), located in Osaka Bay's waterfront, though the city offers a host of other sights and activities.

The old and the new
Osaka was historically the commercial center of Japan, given its bay and its location at the mouth of the Yodo River.

Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples are spread throughout the city and it's easy to include one or two into your day's plans, depending on what area of the city you plan on visiting.

In the city's upper east side, warlord Toyotomi Hideyoshi, considered one of the "great unifiers" of Japan, built a castle that was completed in 1597 (for a bit of reference, that was the year King Philip II of Spain issued a royal decree that, in effect, established Spain's sovereignty over the Philippines).

Carelessness, laziness and forgetfulness left me with little Yen when we visited Osaka Castle. And just my luck, they don't let you pay for tickets using credit cards. The castle entrance is quite a distance from ATMs and banks, so we contented ourselves with walking around the courtyard grounds, contemplating the castle's exterior.

From there, we moved south to the downtown area: Shinsekai, a district developed in the 1910s using New York and Paris as templates.  Shinsekai means "new world," though it seems a bit frozen in time and has a rugged feel to the neighborhood.

The area is popular for its fugu (blowfish) and kushikatsu (deep fried kebabs) restaurants.  It also has a zoo and park and is home to the Osaka Municipal Museum of Art.

Food, shopping, cosplay
Kani Doraku restaurant's giant crab signage in Namba.
Osaka is known for its food and they have a saying that goes, "Kyotoites are financially ruined by overspending on clothing, Osakans are ruined by spending on food."

We ventured to the Namba district, with its streets filled with restaurants, to try out regional dishes like okonomiyaki (pan-fried batter cake), takoyaki (octopus dumplings) and udon (thick noodles).

Namba is part of the Minami (south) area that includes the Shinsaibashi shopping district, with its  covered streets packed with stores upon stores, and the Dotonbori entertainment district, with its bars, restaurants, nightclubs and pachinko (pinball/slot machine) parlors.

Glico candy's billboard of a running man.
For the requisite touristy photos against iconic landmarks, there is Kani Doraku restaurant's giant crab on its façade and, by the bridge, a building with Glico candy's (makers of the Pocky chocolate-coated pretzel sticks) lighted billboard of a man running on a blue track.

The area is also home to Nipponbashi, more popularly known as Den Den Town, the electronics/manga/anime district (comparable to Tokyo's Akihabara).  It hosts the annual Nippombashi Street Festa (yes, it's spelled without an I) whose main feature is a cosplay parade. The festa is held every March and it had more than 200,000 attendees this year.

Bunraku to Broadway
National Bunraku (Japanese puppetry) Theater
As theater fans, we made sure to visit the National Bunraku (Japanese puppetry) Theater. There were no shows when we visited, but we still wanted to see the theater and were able to view the exhibition area at the lobby.

While exploring the Namba district, we ended up walking right in front of the Osaka Schocikuza Theater, where they had kabuki shows running all day.  This is the fun of travelling without too detailed a plan, allowing for surprises along the way.

Osaka Schocikuza Theater
We caught a matinee show, the seats filled with senior citizens on an excursion.  Luckily, the show was a comedy and so language wasn't too big a barrier.  The material had several scenes of physical comedy and a very funny princess played by a very burly man.

For more Broadway-inclined tourists, Shiki Theater Company's Japanese translation of "Sound of Music" is currently running at the Osaka Shiki Theatre, in the Kita (north) area, until June this year.  Shiki Theater Company is the same group that has translated other hits such as "Wicked" and "Lion King" for Japanese audiences.

Mission impossible
When we set out for Osaka, my friend and I had no idea what this city had in store.  We wanted to wing it when we got there by getting free maps and brochures and asking questions in the tourist offices.

The only two things we'd prepared for, after a perfunctory Google search, was the Bunraku Theater and an apparently highly-elusive but mesmerizing water clock we'd seen on Youtube.  This water clock had drops and streams of water falling from above, forming numbers, letters, flowers and all sorts of patterns, shapes, and designs.

Osaka City Station Water Clock
We left the water clock for last, trekking to Osaka Station City (a train station and mall).  We searched for quite a while, going back and forth inside the station, almost giving up, only to realize that the water clock is actually outside the station!

When we finally saw it, we did the most cheesy, touristy and geeky thing in the world: we cheered and applauded.  And we didn't care; we were ecstatic!  It's funny what you ascribe value to, but after that long search, we'd found our Holy Grail in Osaka.  We also discovered it's not easy to take photos of falling water.

Tourist information for Osaka is available at  

Visitor visa information for Filipinos available at  The Japan Embassy in Manila does not accept walk-in applicants (exceptions apply) and only accepts applications through accredited travel agencies. 

Philippine passport applications and renewals can be done through Philippine Explorer Travel Agency, contact 0932-887-2835 or visit their Facebook page.

Cebu Pacific flies between Manila and Osaka thrice weekly. Contact 702-0888 or visit For sales and promos, like Cebu Pacific on Facebook and follow on Twitter.

Also published online:

What do you think of bunraku, kabuki, and Japan's translated Broadway productions? Share your comments.

Auditions for Gantimpala Theater's 35th season (2012-2013) June 11, 2012

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Announcement from Gantimpala Theater

Gantimpala Theater
is holding

for its 35th season (2012-2013)
"Alive na alive at 35!"

June 11, 2012  2-6pm
Rizal Park Open-Air Auditorium

Line-up of productions for the season:


July-August 2012
Ibong Adarna
By Bonifacio Ilagan
Directed by Roeder Camañag

August-September 2012
Kanser (Noli Me Tangere)
By Jomar Fleras
Directed by Adriana Agcaoili

September-October 2012
Florante at Laura
By Ed Maranan
Directed by Roobak Valle

November 2012
El Filibusterismo
By Jomar Fleras
Directed by Jeffrey Camañag

Children's musical:

August 2012 onwards
Jack and the Beanstalk
Book and libretto by Dennis Teodisio
Directed by Tony Espejo

Contact 528-0603, 899-5745, 899-5911, 998-5622

What do you think of these productions? Share your comments.

Ballet Manila's "World Stars of Ballet" June 8-9, 2012

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Announcement from Ballet Manila

Natalia Kremen and
David Makhateli of The Royal Ballet
Ballet Manila

“World Stars of Ballet”

Featuring ten acclaimed principal dancers from respected international dance companies.

June 8-9, 7:30 p.m.
Aliw Theater, Star City, CCP Complex, Pasay City

American Ballet Theatre’s Paloma Herrera and Maxim Beloserkovsky
The Royal Ballet’s David Makhateli and Natalia Kremen
Mariinsky Theatre’s Daria Pavlenko and Yevgeny Ivanchenko
English National Ballet’s Dmitri Gruzdev
Kremlin Ballet’s Aleksandra Timofeeva
Norwegian National Ballet’s Yoel Carreno and Yolanda Correa Frias
Ballet Manila's Lisa Macuja-Elizalde

Two dancers from Ballet Manila who have been accepted to the Beijing International Ballet competition will be performing side-by-side the ballet superstars.

Yoel Carreno and Yolanda Correa Frias
of the Norwegian National Ballet
The pas de deux from Balanchine's "Apollo” and “Diamonds,” never performed before in Manila.

Romeo and Juliet Balcony pas de deux
Giselle pas de deux
Le Corsaire pas de deux
Don Quixote grande pas de deux

Original choreographies done especially for Ballet Manila

Ballet Manila artistic director Liza Macuja-Elizalde points out that the repertoire will combine classical, neoclassical and modern dance pieces.

Charity beneficiary
Macuja-Elizalde and Makhateli, who partnered her in last year's “Swan Lake,” are staging this production specifically to raise funds for Project Ballet Futures. A personal initiative of Macuja-Elizalde, the program aims to give talented underprivileged children an opportunity to make classical ballet their professional career.

Contact 400-0292, 525-5967 or; or Ticketworld at or 891-9999.

What do you think of this production? Share your comments.

FrancoPhil's "Elektro Kif" May 26 and 30, 2012

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Embassy of France
Alliance Francaise de Manille
Cultural Center of the Philippines

Electro Kif

The new dance creation of world-renown choreographer Blanca Li

May 26 Saturday 7:30PM
Ayala Mall Activity Center
Cebu City

May 30 Wednesday 8:00 pm
Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino (Aurelio Tolentino Theater)
Cultural Center of the Philippines
Pasay City

Electro Kif is part of FrancoPhil, the French Cultural season in Manila (Feb-Dec 2012).

About the choreographer
Blanca Li is a choreographer, film director, dancer and actress. As a dancer, she takes on a broad spectrum of physical forms of expression, from Flamenco to Classical, from Ballet to Hip-Hop. With Blanca Li, everything begins, and ends, in the energy of movement and dance.

About the show
In Elektro Kif, Blanca Li plunges us into the world of tecktonik, an urban dance form that emerged in France in the 2000s.

Here, she tells the story of young teenagers in search of an identity. Set in a classroom, playground, gym, and wherever else the youth can express their emotions and impulses, Elektro Kif is a spectacular display of physical prowess and twirling antics with beautiful tecktonik routines juxtaposed with techno and classical music.

Elektro Kif is a show about the hopes and fears, friendships and rivalries of an all male cast of exceptional young electro dancers. Humourous, thrilling, colourful and anarchic, Elektro Kif features a unique soundtrack of a mix of techno with electro house, afrobeat, sampling, and classical music especially composed by Tao Gutierrez.

This project offers the latest "French Touch" in urban dance, a phenomenon that challenges our vision of contemporary dance! Definitely a must see!

Ticket Prices: 
P400 with 50% discount for students, 20% discount for senior citizens, Alliance Francaise de Manille members and government officers.

For tickets, contact CCP 832-3704 or 832-3706 or Ticket world at 891-9999.

For information, contact
Alliance Francaise de Manille at 895-7585, 895-7441, 0917-892-8968 and
Alliance Francaise is at 209 Nicanor Garcia St, Bel-Air II, Makati City.

What do you think of this production? Share your comments.

Philippine Opera Company's "Ang Bagong Harana" June 6-10, 2012

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Announcement from Philippine Opera Company

Philippine Opera Company
in celebration of
Philippine Independence Day

“Ang Bagong Harana”

A revue featuring traditional and contemporary Filipino songs sung by 10 young classically-trained singers.

Conceived and directed by Floy Quintos

June 6-10, 2012
Carlo Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza Bldg.

“The show was envisioned as love song to our country,” says POC artistic director Karla Gutierrez.  “We wanted to show audiences that there is so much wealth that Filipinos can mine from our traditional and contemporary music. In this age of globalization, it is all the more crucial for us to know who we are and what we have that we can call Pinoy."

"A lot of performers may say that we are the best in the world. But we wanted to go a step further and prove it by using our own traditional and contemporary material. And we want to showcase young singers who have committed themselves to classical singing and to our traditional material."

“We kept getting inquiries about a repeat run,” says Gutierrez, “which is why we are bringing back the show in it's original form, with most of the original cast. It is a difficult effort to try and do something truly Filipino nowadays. But after the warm response that we got last year, we know that there is an audience that is hungry for this kind of entertainment that reconnects us to our souls.”

Karla Gutierrez
Aizel Prietos
Charley Magalit
Janine Santos
Marian Santiago
Lawrence Jatayna
Jack Salud
Nazer Salcedo
Marvin Gayramon
Al Gatmaitan.

- traditional children's songs suite
- kundiman suite
- tribal suite
- folk song suite
- bodabil suite / tribute to Sylvia La Torre
- OPM classics

In 2008, POC staged "Harana" to showcase the evolution of Philippine music through song and movement. Harana went on a tour of Amsterdam in 2009 and of the Philippines in 2010 and 2011.  In 2011, the show went through some changes and was retitled to "Ang Bagong Harana."

Contact 881-7168 or 0917-527-2880 or TicketWorld at 891-9999.

What do you think of this production? Share your comments.

Willow Tree Learning Center's "Jack and the Beanstalk" May 30, 2012

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Announcement from Willow Tree Learning Center

Willow Tree Learning Center
in cooperation with
Kids Acts Philippines

"Jack & the Beanstalk"
Hip Hop Dance

May 30, 2012, 6:30 pm
St. Cecilia's Auditorium, St. Scholastica's College,
Leon Guinto St. cor. Pablo Ocampo St. (formerly Vito Cruz St.), Malate, Manila

A recital/culminating activity of Willow Tree School's summer theater workshop, facilitated this year by JK Anicoche (acting) and Jonjon Salazar (hip hop dance).  Willow Tree Learning Center is at 73 Sta. Catalina St., ,St. Peter, Quezon City

Jack and the Beanstalk
Script and lyrics by Luigi Nacario
Music by Eugene Belbis
Based on the fairy tale about a boy named Jack who climbs a beanstalk and meets interesting characters including a golden goose and a giant.

For tickets, contact 732-6668, 712-9748 or 0917-557-4999.

What do you think of this production? Share your comments.

Kids Acts Philippines' 10th season line-up (2012-2013)

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Announcement from Kids Acts Philippines

Kids Acts Philippines announces its 10th season line-up (2012-2013)

"Peter Pan"
An original musical adaptation
Sept 21-30

"Hansel and Gretel"
Oct 19-28
To be performed exclusively by kids in celebration with the International Children's Month

"Romeo and Juliet"
Nov 23-30 & Dec 1-2

All performances will be held at
Star Theater, Star City Theme Park, Cultural Center of the Philippines Complex, Pasay City

Contact 750-1551; 0915-4478959; 0919-4338565 or

What do you think of this workshop and this season line-up? Share your comments.

8th Virgin Labfest Schedule June 27-July 8, 2012

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Announcement from Virgin Labfest

8th Virgin Labfest Schedule - June 27-July 8, 2012

Virgin Labfest is an annual festival that serves as "a venue for playwrights, directors and actors to bring to life untried, untested, unpublished and unstaged plays" held at the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

Read about this year's labfest here:







(Click on thumbnails of the posters to see bigger image.)

June 27, 3pm & 8pm / July 7, 3pm / July 8, 8pm
PagsubliBy Aizel Cabilan; directed by Melvin Lee
An old native man and a soon-to-be-wed lady from Manila's pagsubli (pagbalik) or "return" to memory lane unfolds discoveries of each other and of themselves.

Symposium - By U Eliserio and Maynard Manansala, directed by JK Anicoche
A girl, a boy, and his mother. The boy's mother is dead. The girl may or may not have been involved in the boy's mother's death.

Digital Divide - By Ricardo Novenario, directed by Andoy Ranay
Students maneuver the digital divide and how it creates barriers between rich and poor. Or is it all in the mind?

June 28, 3pm & 8pm / July 7, 8pm / July 8, 3pm
HayopBy Mar Anthony dela Cruz, directed by Erik Matti
Milet is being treated for dissociative identity disorder. She has five alternate personalities and one of them may have killed her husband.

Ang Unang Regla ni John
By Em Mendez
Directed by George de Jesus

A coming-out story of a young boy brought up in a hyper-machismo family, who, upon discovery of the first signs of puberty, attempts to shave off the thing he hates most.

Isa Pang Soap OperaBy Reuel Aguila, directed by Dennis Marasigan
A family grapples with truth and memory as a mother's Alzheimers disease puts the family memoir her son has written into question.

June 29, 3pm & 8pm / July 4, 3pm / July 6 8pm
AlejandroBy  Chuckberry Pascual, directed by Roeder Camanag
What happens when a gay man loves a straight man for seven years and has to finally confront the life he's been living?

KunehoBy Guelan Luarca, directed by Emman dela Cruz
In exchange for P4 million each, five men are hired by a mysterious employer to transfer a loaded body bag from one room to another.  Then they get locked in.

High Stakes
By Mixkaela Villalon
Directed by Ron Capinding

Teo Mesina wins the P700 million lottery jackpot and disappears but grants an exclusive interview a month later. Teo's friends, relatives, and enemies go after the reporter.

SET D Full-length play
June 30, 3pm & 8pm / July 4, 8pm / July 5, 3pm
Totong Hilot 
By Jose Dennis Teodosio
Directed by Roobak Valle

This autobiographical play chronicles a summer in the life of a ten year old boy as he contemplates becoming a manghihilot just like his grandfather.

SET E Virgin Labfest 7 Revisited
July 1, 3pm & 8pm / July 5, 8pm / July 6 3pm
Kawala By Rae Red, directed by Paolo O'Hara
The intertwined lives of a condominium's residents affect an important life choice of the building's elevator boy.

Evening at the Opera By Floy Quintos, directed by Jomari Jose
Miranda Beloto's obsession with bringing to her impoverished province the first staging of a full length opera while dealing with her corrupt, insensitive governor husband and her manipulative mother.

KafatiranBy Ricardo Novenario, directed by JK Anicoche
A different side of history is shown through a faction of smart, art-loving, mild-mannered young men in the Katipunan at the dawn of the Philippine revolution against Spain.

Staged readings
June 29, 6pm
By Carlo Pacolor Garcia

Strangers in a bar flirt then fight, then flirt then fight again. They meet again ten years later.

July 4, 6pm
Walang Kukurap By Layeta Bucoy
A suspense thriller revealing the shady politics and unethical business practices so prevalent in the Philippines today.

Contact 832-1125.

What do you think of Virgin Labfest? Share your comments.

Auditions for Vito Cruz Project's "La Malade Imaginaire" May 25-26, 2012

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Auditions for Vito Cruz Project's "La Malade Imaginaire" May 25-26, 2012

Vito Cruz Project's
production of

"La Malade Imaginaire"
A thesis production of the graduating students of the Production Design and Technical Theater programs

May 25-26, 2012
Male or female 18 years old and above
Speaks English well
Ability to speak French, to sing and to dance is a plus, but not required
Bring bio-data and photo

Contact 0917-629-2909, 0917-502-0531 or

Audition text will be provided.
Come in clothes you can move in.
Auditionees who want to sing may bring a minus-one CD or MP3 file.

To be directed by George de Jesus III
Rehearsals in June
Performance dates: August 15, 17, 18, 22, 24, and 25, 2012

Audition venue:
De La Salle College of St. Benilde Blackbox Theater
6th floor, De La Salle College of St. Benilde School of Design and Arts Building
950 Pablo Ocampo St. (formerly Vito Cruz), Malate, Manila

About the play:
Le Malade Imaginaire (The Imaginary Invalid), is a French classical comedy written by Jean Baptiste Poquelin (more popularly known as Moliere) that mocks the medical profession during the 17th century. First performed in February 1673 in Paris, France, it was meant to entertain King Louis XIV. It reflects the social and political status during that time and provides a glimpse of the French Neo-classical period.

About the group
Vito Cruz Project is under De La Salle College of St. Benilde's School of Design and Arts.  It stages the thesis productions of students taking Production Design and Technical Theater programs.

Bonus! Here is an English translation on Project Gutenberg's website:

What do you think of this production? Share your comments.

Sipat Lawin Ensemble directing and acting workshops May 21-June 2, 2012

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Announcement from Sipat Lawin Ensemble

Sipat Lawin Ensemble offers workshops on directing and acting

Sipat Lawin Ensemble opens its doors to share the company's performances processes and learnings after two rad seasons of edge-work independent theater-making. Create and destroy with us.

May 21-25, May 28-June 2
Mon-Fri 6pm-10pm
Minimum of 10 students per course. Maximum of 20.

Course 1: Mad Director's Laboratory/ Experiment
Age: 18 and above.
10 SESSIONS exploration and creative collaboration with sessions on act-ing techniques, directing methods, production design, basic and alternative production management, technical theater, writing and devise-work collaborative process.

JK Anicoche facilitates with guest facilitators Leeroy New for production design, Teresa Barrozo for sound design, Ninya Bedruz for technical theater, Alon Segarra for alternative production methods.

Course 2: F(L)IGHT CLUB: Actor's Garage 
Age: 18 and above.
10 SESSIONS. Advanced classes. The actor as social being. The actor as communicator. 10 SESSIONS on act-ing techniques, vocal technique, body work, Intro to viewpoints and Grotowski work (as practiced by the Ensemble), devise-work process, etc.

Facilitators: SLE's JK Anicoche, Meila Romero, Thea Yrastorza work hands-on for Actor's Garage. Addressing issues of Actor as Communicator, Actor as Social Being, and Translating Values of Performance to Performative Everyday.

Both courses are open to anyone interested in theater-making.  For newbies/ beginners, or even pros, with or without background.

The courses are new explorations in creating new works (for course 1) and new approaches in acting (for course 2) that had never been offered in summer workshops (which often concentrates in acting, singing and dancing for the stage).

Sipat Lawin devised the workshops to open and share our unconventional and edge-work practices to the general public who also want to learn how to think and create outside the box. Edge-bound dare devil actors, directors, designers and technicians will facilitate the classes that will take part in form of textual, hands-on activities, interviews over coffee and lots of exercises.

Php 4,000 for 10 sessions. 4 hours per session.
Early bird rate: Php 3,200
Payment can be made on first day. Installment payments available.

Victoria School, Ermin Garcia St., Brgy. Pinagkaisahan, Quezon City.
(Near Ramon Magsaysay High School in Cubao).

How to get there:
If riding MRT:
A] Get off either at GMA-Kamuning Station then ride a bus going to Ayala/Baclaran OR
B] Araneta Center-Cubao Station then ride a bus going to Fairview/SM North
Walk. Look for red brick wall with a big red gate that has a white skull painted on it.

If riding bus:
From South Edsa (going to Fairview/SM North):
Get off at Nepa-Q Mart, climb the foot bridge (don't look down, it's really high)
Walk. Look for red brick wall with a big red gate that has a white skull painted on it.

From North Edsa (going to Ayala/Baclaran):
A] Get off either at Ermin Garcia St. (Ramon Magsaysay High School, yellow wall) OR
B] Get off at 7-11 (right after the foot bridge) and ride a tricycle, tell the driver, "Victoria, taas".
Walk. Look for red brick wall with a big red gate that has a white skull painted on it.

0917-5008-SLE (753) or
Sipat Lawin Ensemble's Facebook event page for these workshops:

To reserve your slot, email the following information:

Date of Birth:
Contact number(s):
Email address:
Current occupation:
Course of choice:
Prior Performance Experiences (if any):
Dream performance:
Zodiac sign:
Motto in life:
Mode of Payment (Please wait for a confirmation reply (thru Facebook or email) before making any deposits):

What do you think of these workshops? Share your comments.

Can UP string ensemble make it to France?

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Yay! My article on the University of the Philippines' Arco string ensemble being invited to perform in France was published in Philippine Daily Inquirer's May 14, 2012 issue.
Can UP string ensemble make it to France? 
By Walter Ang

The University of the Philippines’ Arco String Ensemble has been selected to perform at the 24th Festival International de Musique Universitaire, the first Filipino group to be admitted.  But will they be able to make it?

The festival in Belfort, France is regarded as one of the world’s most culturally diverse music festivals. It is slated on May 26-28.

Under the musical director Edna Martinez, the group is composed of 27 students, all majors of the Strings and Chamber Music Department of the UP College of Music.

“By taking part, UP Arco verifies the fact that our instrumental music education at the tertiary level is at par with global standard,” says Martinez. “They have reached and set a high bar of honor and excellence in both musical éclat and performance élan.”

However, as of this writing, the group is still struggling to raise funds for the trip despite staging a fundraising concert recently.  A limited-edition CD containing classical music performed by UP Arco has also been released.

The group needs over  P1.7 million for airfare and travel expenses within France.

FIMU was created 26 years ago by the University of Technology of Belfort-Montbeliard. The event is now organized jointly by the town of Belfort.  The three-day festival stages 250 concerts and attracts over 80,000 visitors.

The event is expected to assemble over a hundred student music groups and covers  a wide berth of music genres: from classical music, new music, jazz, rock music, world music to brass band and opera.

Formerly the UP String Chamber Orchestra, the group was founded in 1998 to become one of the resident performing groups of the university’s College of Music.  The average age for this particular batch is 21 years old, with most having studied in the college’s Extension Program, classes held on weekends and during summer.

The group has performed major string orchestra works of Corelli, Bach, Vivaldi, Handel, Mozart, Britten, Grieg, Tchaikovsky, and Elgar.

If they can raise the necessary funds, this will be the first time the group will attend an international event.

“The group’s existence is a willful move on the part of UP College of Music to groom a new generation of string players,” Martinez says.  “All proceeds go directly to the students’ travel expenses. The support we get goes a long way: not only for our country and the university but more so to the lives of our young musicians-the new generation, the hope and pride of our nation.”

E-mail or call 0917-5941020.

Also published online:

What do you think of this group? Share your comments.

Bicol’s Baao Children’s Choir wins first place in Spanish choral fest

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Yay! My article on a Filipino children's choir winning in an international competition was published in Philippine Daily Inquirer's May 14, 2012 issue.
Bicol’s Baao Children’s Choir wins first place 
in Spanish choral fest
By Walter Ang

The Baao Children’s Choir (BCC) won first place in the 18th International Contest of Habanera Youth 2012 held at Palacio de la Música music hall in Torrevieja, Spain.

BCC, led by conductor Virgilio Briones, is the first Asian choir to participate in the competition.  It was one of the eight choirs selected to compete out of 40 groups that auditioned.

The group received a cash prize of €3,000 and a trophy.

“The Filipino group received a standing ovation and the longest applause from the audience!” said choir manager Joshua Badilla.

The group competed against six Spanish groups and one from Latvia.

The group sang “El Negro,” a required piece for the competition, “Qué Bonita Es Cuba, Dicen Que se Muere el Mar,” arranged by J. Madurga Oteiza; and “Scenes from the North,” arranged by Fidel G. Calalang Jr. of the UST Singers

The Baao Children’s Choir is a community- and church-based choir of children aged 11-18 years old.

“It took them about four months to prepare for the competition,” said Badilla.

The choir was founded in 2003 as one of the choirs of the Barlin Choirs Organization of the Parish of St. Bartholomew the Apostle in Baao, Camarines Sur, which also has a youth choir and a college/adult choir.

It bagged the first place and Best Interpretation of the Contest Piece in the Namcya finals in 2010. It represented the Philippines in the 2011 International Children Arts and Culture Festival in Malaysia.

Briones is a multi-awarded choral conductor. He is the only Filipino choral conductor who has won five national championships in the Namcya in different choir categories (Children, Youth and College).

Also published online:

What do you think of this competition? Share your comments.

Upstart Productions' "Forbidden Broadway" May 11-27, 2012

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Announcement from Upstart Productions

Upstart Productions
Forbidden Broadway

“The funniest show in New York” (The New Yorker) that has been leaving critics and audiences in stitches since its debut in 1982 is now, on its 30th anniversary, finally coming to Manila.

Created by Gerard Alessandrini, Forbidden Broadway is a “consistently riotous”(The New York Times) musical revue that features beloved songs from the most popular Broadway musicals--“Les Miserables”, “The Phantom of the Opera”, “Rent”, “Mamma Mia!”, “Wicked”, and “Cats”, to name just a few--with hilariously clever new lyrics that poke fun at the shows themselves.

And although “there's no Broadway like Forbidden Broadway” (Entertainment Weekly), it’s not just for theater fans! With more than 9,000 performances in 200 U.S. cities and in London, Tokyo, Singapore, and Sydney, eleven cast albums, and countless awards, it’s clear that “even if you've never been within 1000 miles of Broadway you'll still love Forbidden Broadway!” (Boca Raton News)

May 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, and 27, 2012
(Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday at 3 p.m.).
Carlos Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza Bldg.

Liesl Batucan, Caisa Borromeo, OJ Mariano and Lorenz Martinez

Guest stars:
May 11 (Fri), 8 p.m. -- Jett Pangan
May 20 (Sat), 3 p.m. -- Menchu Lauchengco-Yulo
May 25 (Fri), 8 p.m. -- Lea Salonga
May 26 (Sat), 8 p.m. -- Aiza Seguerra
May 27 (Sun), 3 p.m. -- Rachel Alejandro

Contact 8919999, 2150788, 0917-5378313 or

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FREE ADMISSION Xavier University's "Ming Ming" May 12, 2012

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Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan
Steven Fernandez's
Ming Ming

First place, 2006 Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for Literature for one-act play in English

One turf, two families, three generations, four characters.

Directed by Steven Fernandez

May 12, 2012, 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Little Theater, Xavier University
Cagayan de Oro City

Contact +63-88-858-3116.

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Dance doyennes join Tanghalang Pilipino's 26th season

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Yay! My article on Tanghalang Pilipino's 26th season (2012-2013) line-up was published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer in its May 7, 2012 issue.
Dance doyennes join Tanghalang Pilipino's 26th season 
By Walter Ang

Fernando "Nanding" Josef,
Tanghalang Pilipino artistic director
Musicals dominate TanghalangPilipino's line-up for its 26th season (2012-2013) and three doyennes of dance will be part of bringing the productions to life.

The resident theater company of the Cultural Center of the Philippines will collaborate with Edna Vida, Denisa Reyes and Agnes Locsin; they will choreograph one production each. Each production will feature a different genre: sarsuwela, bodabil and ethnic-rock.

All three have been artistic directors of Ballet Philippines, one of CCP's resident dance companies: Vida in 1989, Reyes in the early '90s and again in the early 2000s, and Locsin in the mid and late '90s.

All three were trained in, taught, and choreographed ballet, but are also known to have eventually deliberately broken the classical lines of ballet in their choreographies of modern and neo-ethnic works.

They've all choreographed for TP before: Vida for "Banaag at Sikat," Reyes for "Hukuman ni Sinukuan," and Locsin for "Noli Me Tangere."

No wound, no blinking 
The season begins with "Walang Sugat," a sarsuwela by Severino Reyes about a young couple torn apart by the Philippine revolution against Spain but are eventually (and comically) reunited.

Filmmaker Carlos Siguion-Reynawill direct with musical direction by Chino Toledo. Vida will choreograph.

"Walang Sugat" runs August 9-27.

The lone play for this season is "Walang Kukurap," a suspense thriller that "reveals the shady politics and unethical business practices so prevalent in the Philippines today."

Written by Layeta Bucoy and to be directed by TuxqsRutaquio, "Walang Kukurap" runs September 14-October 7.

`Bodabil,' ethnic-rock 
"Stageshow," a musical by Mario O' Hara is about a group of Filipino artists in the twilight of their careers, set against the dying days of the bodabil--also known as "stage shows."

Chris Millado will direct, with musical direction by Jeff Hernandez. Denisa Reyes will choreograph.

"Stageshow" runs October 10-21.

"Ibalong," an ethnic-rock musical by Rody Vera based on the Bicol epic, will be directed by Tuxqs Rutaquio with musical direction by Carol Bello. Locsin will choreograph

"Ibalong" runs February 8-March 3, 2013.

The three musicals will be staged at Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino and "Walang Kukurap" will be staged at Tanghalang Huseng Batute.

Bigger, braver 
Last season, the company was beset with last-minute changes to its announced season line-up. Two productions were bumped off: a Filipino children's musical adaptation of "The Emperor's New Clothes" and a translation of Nick Joaquin's "Portrait of the Artist as Filipino," which had Helen Gamboa and Gina Pareño attached to play the main roles.

This season, TP takes on a big challenge since musicals and new works are more expensive to stage and Tanghalang Tolentino's 420 seats can be harder to fill compared to Tanghalang Batute's 200 seats. Two out of the three musicals are new works; "Walang Sugat" is the only work that has been previously staged.

Nonetheless, TP artistic director Fernando Josef is undaunted. "[We] have no choice but to continue to follow TP's raison d'etre, that we must bravely pursue creating theater that promotes Filipino aesthetics and theater forms and content," he says.

Open for sponsorship 
He notes that while it's tempting to "just do commercial productions that will be sure box-office hits," TP hopes that all its productions will push through this season "because our goals are good and noble, if I may say it. We are doing our darn best to realize all these great plans, which are well thought-of as they consider artistic goals, cultural advocacies and education advocacies."

The company is announcing its line-up this early is to allow businesses, organizations and schools enough planning time to consider sponsoring or buying shows. "Sponsors for the entire season or per production or even per show are welcome. Rows of seats or entire shows can be bought at discounted rates. This scheme also allows enterprising buyers to raise funds by selling tickets at full-price."

All productions feature members of Actors Company, TP's resident pool of actors. AC scholars, apprentices and members go through continuous training in acting, movement, dance, voice, script analysis, improvisation, directing and other related courses.

Casting choices and design collaborators (set, costume and lighting) will be announced by the company as the season progresses, "to allow for surprises along the way," says Josef.

All shows are open for sponsors and showbuyers. Group, student and senior citizen discounts available. Call 8226920 or 8323661.

Also published online:

What do you think of this line-up? Share your comments.