DESPITE a small decrease in its onscreen audience when it came to the Cinemalaya Film Festival, the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) saw an increase in its overall audience, from 655,000 attendees in 2016 to 678,000 in 2017.

At the sidelines of the CCP’s institutional press conference about its upcoming shows for the rest of the year, CCP’s vice-president and artistic director Chris Millado told BusinessWorld that the decrease in the onscreen audience — to 68,000 in 2017 from 75,000 in 2016 — was caused by the K-12 shift in school calendar and the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) conference which was held in the area.

“[W]e had to close the CCP for a month for the ASEAN,” Mr. Millado noted.

According to the CCP’s statistics, its biggest audience drawer were the festivals (e.g. Pasinaya), which welcomed 172,000 people in 2017 compared with 158,000 in 2016, while the “on the walls” shows, as in the painting exhibitions, saw foot traffic of 74,000 in 2017 compared with 63,000 in 2016. The audience for onstage performances increased as well, to 262,000 in 2017 from 248,000 in 2016.

The CCP’s target is to reach the one million mark by 2020, which it hopes to achieve as it opens two new buildings that will complement the Main Theater.

The Blackbox Theater — formally called the Tanghalang Ignacio Jimenez — is a 300-seat theater for “out-of-the box performances” which will open in September. The Artist Center, a 40 hall complex for rehearsals, will have its groundbreaking in September as well. (Read: CCP to expand with three new theaters)

Meanwhile, here are highlights in the CCP schedule for the year:

March: The CCP front lawn will be the venue to mark Earth Hour, an annual plea to turn off our lights for one hour to save the earth. The CCP grounds will have a festive night to culminate the celebration.

April: PHILSTAGE’s Gawad Buhay awards will acknowledge all the best shows and artists of 2017.

May: In celebration of its 50th anniversary, the Association of Pinoy Printmakers will hold an exhibition that will highlight the history and journey of printmaking in the country.

June: Philippine animators and enthusiasts will converge at the Animahenasyon and Gawad Alternatibo: Pinoy Animated Films at the Tanghalang Manuel Conde. This year’s focus is films on patriotism.

July: The Virgin Labfest, a festival of previously unperformed one-act plays, continues to attract audiences thanks to its fresh concepts by emerging and established Philippine playwrights. The festival is now on its 14th year.

August: The Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival will run from Aug. 3 to 12, with the awards night held on Aug. 12.

September: For a second year, the Festival of Arts and Ideas will serve as a platform for artistic expressions through flash performances, public conversations, and interactive exhibitions with this year’s theme on gender. The Encyclopedia of Philippine Arts will also be launched in August.

October: Held once every three years, the prestigious 13 Artists Awards will again recognize the best young artists in the country.

November: The CCP Ballet Competition 2018 is expected to attract ballet masters, choreographers, dancers, and enthusiasts as dancers compete in classical solo variations and contemporary pieces.

December: Tanghalang Pilipino’s third play for the season, Manila Notes, is the Philippine version of the Japanese playwright-director Oriza Hirata’s Tokyo Notes, which is a “quiet play” on silence and whispers to dramatize the effect of war and conflict on relationships.

For more information, check — Nickky Faustine P. de Guzman