IF IMELDA MARCOS is still not behind bars next year, she will probably be attending the 50th anniversary celebration of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), a project she initiated.
During a press conference on Nov. 16, CCP chairperson Margie Moran-Floirendo answered “yes” when asked if she’d invited Mrs. Marcos to the celebration, adding that the institution would invite her and the other founding members as well.
The CCP has a jam-packed calendar of activities lined up for the anniversary in 2019. Among these is the opening of the Blackbox Theater — its official name is Tanghalang Ignacio Gimenez — which supposed to open last year but whose opening was postponed. The theater — the first edifice to be built in the CCP Complex in years — will have a soft opening some time in February or March and will finally officially open on Oct. 4.
CCP artistic director Chris Millado explained that the postponement was caused by permit security issues and the realization that one needs the right connections to expedite the project.
The Blackbox Theater will show experimental and contemporary shows for “adventurous ideas, adventurous collaboration, and adventurous audiences,” said Mr. Millado during the press conference at the CCP Lobby.
The Blackbox will also boost the CCP’s numbers for audience attendance and shows. For 2017-2018, CCP presented 980 shows onsite, off-site, and on online/live stream media.
Although the data is still incomplete, Mr. Millado said that 480,000 people attended events which is only 60% of the potential target audience. Ms. Floreindo said the CCP is “expanding its reach to embrace a larger part of the metropolis” and with hope reach one million attendees.
Through Ms. Floreindo’s initiative and connections, the CCP has been talking to the Department of Tourism and Tourism Promotions Board to include the CCP and its cultural activities as part of the country’s tourism itineraries, both for local and international visitors.
The annual Cinemalaya and Virgin Labfest, meanwhile, will also expand their scope to reach audiences in the provinces. Virgin Labfest will be staged in Cagayan de Oro in 2019 and in Siliman, Dumaguete in 2020. Cinemalaya hopes to follow suit.
For the 50th anniversary, the institution will also have “CCP Libre: 50 free shows at the CCP” to encourage people to come and see the arts. There has been no announcement yet on what the shows are.
As a reaction to the times, the CCP will hold for the first time an “Arts and Social Media Festival” in October where bloggers, traditional media, influencers, and public relation specialists will converge to talk and exchange thoughts about the arts. Two anniversary shows will bookend the 50th anniversary celebrations, with gala fund-raising shows in September 2019 and 2020. There was no announcement on what the shows will be.
The CCP will also publish anniversary publications including a photographic almanac about the history and contributions of the CCP in the Philippine history.
With many activities in the pipeline, the CCP was given a “milestone budget” to fund its events next year, but in the long run, the CCP will engage in more private partnerships to sustain the plans, said Mr. Millado. — Nickky Faustine P. de Guzman