OVER THE last 50 years of its existence, PETA (Philippine Educational Theater Association) has been staging successful commercial shows like Care Divas, Rak of Aegis, and The Tempest Reimagined, but what not many of its fans know is that it also presents sociocultural productions nationwide.
“The community works on the ground are less highlighted because these are the types of work that are not as sexy as a performance,” said PETA’s president, Cecilia Garrucho, during the press launch on Oct. 2 of its newest project, Festival of Windows.
Since PETA was established in 1967 by Cecile Guidote-Alvarez, it has created more than 400 original Filipino productions and workshops, mounted all over the country, including in Leyte when typhoon Yolanda devastated it in 2013.
PETA reaches out to every Filipino: the urban and, more especially, the rural poor and the marginalized, to teach them theatrical skills that can ignite and enhance their ability for self-expression. Thanks to this vision, the organization was honored by the Ramon Magsaysay Awards this year for its advocacy in highlighting the role of arts in development-related issues on gender equality, women’s and children’s rights, disaster-risk management, trauma processing, human rights, and health and sexuality.
“Fifty years have passed [and] we continue to do what we do. Because with the stories we discover in the communities, we see a potential for a better society to be realized. With every play we put onstage that inspires young people to reflect, to ask questions, to give rein to imagination, understanding, and insight – we see the possibility of a generation of Filipinos who could embrace the task of building a better future for our country,” read an excerpt of Ms. Garrucho’s acceptance speech during the Ramon Magsaysay Awards gala in August.
To commemorate its 50th anniversary and to commence perhaps another five decades, PETA presents its the Festival of Windows, which is a series of workshops and discussions about the applications and implications of theater and art in everyday lives. It will run from Oct. 24 to 29
The festival will have 13 performances from the Philippines and three from Cambodia and Thailand.
Here are the festival activities:
• Dungaw (Peep): a series of lectures, performances, and multimedia and live performances.
• Tamwa (Look): a workshop on how skills and knowledge can be applied when presenting advocacy issues.
• Tan-aw (View): performances by PETA and some select regional and international performing art groups, including Florante at Laura by Tanghalang St. Louis University, Dagohoy by Teatro Bol-Anon, and Don-Q by PETA. There will also be a concert of human rights music on Oct. 29. There are four days of performances, with tickets for each set at P300.
• Silip (Peek): a huddle with experts and participants for discussions of experiences and works.
• Walk-abouts: an entire day of exploration of art exhibits, short films, and workshop samplers.
• Sulyap (Glance): a casual sharing of the day’s experience over barbecue and drinks.
Throughout the week of workshops, participants can enhance their skills and potentials in song writing, improvisation, shadow puppetry, circus techniques, and people skills.
The Festival is named as such because it the “window” that allows us to look back and learn from the past, and a peek at the present to anticipate the possibilities of developing and applying the role of arts in the society, said PETA’s artistic director, Maribel Legarda.
Festival passes are cost P4,500 and P3,500 for students, inclusive of transportation to various locations, food, opening and closing receptions, lecture performances, one workshop, and two huddles a day.
For details, visit www.petafestivalofwindows.com. – Nickky Faustine P. de Guzman