By NICKIE WANG/ Manila Standard Today
Along Roxas Boulevard lies one of the country’s greatest treasures. It has been the symbol of Filipino ingenuity, a venue that showcases incomparable local talents, a catalyst for a major leap in cultural development and preservation, and the world’s window to the Philippines as the Asia’s Mecca of culture and the arts.
The Cultural Center of the Philippines, or just CCP to many, marks its 40th anniversary with a year-round celebration that will feature special performances and events. Some of the most talented and well-known artists and performing arts groups will gather together for the celebration.
“The CCP has been the home of the most outstanding performing arts groups in the country. For the last four decades it has helped discover, nurture and support Filipino artists. I think that’s one of the major achievements of the CCP,” president and artistic director Nestor Jardin said during a press conference that unveiled the roster of events prepared by his staff.
The calendar of activities starts with the grand public launch of the 40th Anniversary Celebration tomorrow, Feb. 1, during the annual CCP Pasinaya Open House Festival that coincides with National Arts Month.
Highlighting the anniversary is the first chunk of activities that will revolve around the fact that the CCP for the last four decades has helped discover, nurture, and support Filipino artists.
“The whole celebration is built around activities that will not only be celebratory but activities that will help the Filipino public recall what is CCP’s role now in the society, and what was its work in the past,” Jardin enthused.
For initial offering, Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino restages the comedy musical Zsa Zsa Zaturna (Ze MuZikal) from Feb. 3 to 8. On the same week (Feb. 6 to 8), a showcase of the country’s dance groups in folk, ballet, contemporary, and street dance will entertain the public with series of motion and steps in a dance gala entitled Turning… Turning 40 at the Main Theater.
Just outside the main theater, a projection bombing light and sound spectacle at the façade of the CCP building will show the latest outstanding works in animation and graphic arts. This display dubbed Skin will take place on the night of Feb. 7.
On Feb. 13, as the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra marks its sixth season concert, a grand musical extravaganza called Gabi ng Musikang Pilipino: A Rendezvous with National Artists at the Main Theater will be staged featuring the works of Filipino National Artists like Felipe de Leon, Antonino Buenaventura, Lucrecia Kasilag, and Lucio San Pedro.
From Feb. 19 till the end of March, the different venues at the CCP will witness an array of different performances, musical, concerts, drama and exhibits that celebrate the excellence and accomplishments of Filipino artists in different fields.
Tribute to Imelda
Formally inaugurated on Sep. 8, 1969, the CCP was the brainchild of then First Lady Imelda Marcos, and as the institution celebrates 40 years of fruitful years, an Imeldific tribute will be dedicated especially to honor the visionary woman who created it.
“You cannot ignore the fact that this was her vision, this was her idea. We’re looking at it from an institutional point of view. For this year we’re not only inviting her, we’re paying her a tribute,” Jardin told the press during an open forum held inside the Main Theater.
Jardin announced that the special tribute is slated on Sept. 8. It will be a whole day event capped by an eight o’ clock gala at the Main Theater. On Sept. 11, the special tribute will continue featuring the artists whom Mrs. Marcos supported in the past.
With a new logo that still symbolizes katotohanan (truth), kagandahan (beauty) and kabutihan (goodness), a new representation has been introduced that depicts CPP’s transformation from small stones to strong boulders that anchor and support excellence in arts and music in the country within the past four decades. The logo bares the new slogan, “Life Begins Anew.”
“When we were having, I think Christmas mass or another anniversary mass, our parish priest congratulated us on our 40th anniversary and said that when we celebrate milestone anniversaries we should always recall, rejoice, and then renew,” the artistic director recalled.
Jardin said that based on those three Rs (recall, rejoice, and renew), the people in the CCP have built around the next six months a program that would allow them to not only reminisce but also show to the public the accomplishments of the CCP.
“Our projects within the past 40 years have helped create an outstanding body of original Filipino works that speak of us as a nation and has helped define our national identity,” Jardin related.
Through various programs that are not only limited in Metro Manila, the people behind the institution believe that the CCP has contributed a lot in promoting cultural empowerment in the country.
Defining the future
“The CCP has been a catalyst in the creation of original, cutting- edge, innovative work by young Filipino artists.”
In May, a major forum will be conducted to help CCP define its future direction. As it continuously involves and encourages more young artists to promote their works, a series of events is dedicated to acknowledge contemporary talents and art.
For the months of June and July, the theme will be Brave New Works: Original Filipino Creations. New works in literature will be presented in a literary performance series entitled Word Jam: Spoken Word Festival on June 10 to 24 and July 1 to 8. A concert of classical artists in tandem with artists from Philippine cultural communities will be featured in Cultures in Harmony on June 21. Playwrights collaborate with directors, actors and designers in staging their untried, untested, and unpublished works in Virgin Labfest 5 on June 24 to July 5 back-to-back with WI-FI Body: Independent Dance Festival with cutting-edge works by the country’s most exciting choreographers today. New symphonic works will be premiered in Music Underkunstruktion on July 15 in a co-production with the Metro Manila Community Orchestra. Also in July are the Thirteen Artists Awards and Exhibit and the much-awaited Cinemalaya Independent Film Festival and Competition.
All venues of the CCP Complex will be part of the grand event including Star City and the Manila Bay.