Holy Innocents’ Day dedicated to street kids and abused children

Friday, December 29, 2006


Holy Innocents’ Day dedicated to street kids and abused children

As the Pope appeals for abused and exploited children and respect for their dignity, Holy Innocents’ Day yesterday, December 28, was dedicated to street kids and other vulnerable children in difficult circumstances, the differently-abled and victims of violence.

There was an open house at the well-known theater-in-the-ruins Rajah Sulayman at Fort Santiago, Intramuros, on December 28.  The activity carried out an aspect of President Arroyo’s poverty alleviation program.

Formerly the performance venue of PETA (the Philippine Educational Theater Association) founded by Ramon Magsaysay Awardee Cecile Guidote-Alvarez, the theater now serves as creative home for marginalized but talented kids to showcase the government’s Kalahi cultural care­giving programs with performance and media arts training and presentations.

The program is an initiative of Unesco Philippine Center for International Theater Institute-Dialect in cooperation with the Departments of Social Welfare and Development and of Tourism-Intramuros Administration and the Office of the President’s |Arts and Culture section and various other government entities.

The simple inaugural rites were presided over by Social Welfare Secretary Esperanza Cabral representing President Arroyo with Philippine ITI chairman and national Artist Dr. Alejandro Roces and de­puty Mayor of Manila Dondon Bagatsing representing Mayor Lito Atienza with NCCA Executive Director Cecile Guidote-Alvarez.

The center formally opened on yesterday at Fort Santiago Theater-in-the-ruins. It was officially named Philippine Center of Culture for Peace.

Early in the morning the National Artist Abdulmari Imao and his son, joined by selected sculptors from AAP headed by Fidel Sarmiento, gave free sculpting lessons to the youth.  The works of the student-sculptors were then displayed.  This was certainly an example of “cultural caregiving.”

The theater’s Christmas season presentation focuses on character change and social transformation through values education advocated by the CBCP and Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales. Frank Rivera’s “Tao, Isang Tagulaylay” adapted from “The Summoning of Everyman,” a late-medieval English morality play on the sinfulness of human existence and man’s disregard for Christ’s sacrifices for human redemption, was featured as an inaugural piece.

A production of Alab Artis­tika and Pixel Art under the direction of CJ Andaluz, the cast starts Shermaine Santiago, Mars Cavestany, Mark Federigan, Jef Henson Dee, Jonathan Montes, Danny Magisa and Richard Arellano in tandem with Unesco Artists for Peace Earthsavers DREAMS Ensemble and Kalahi performers like the blind Troubadours’ Lakbay Himig led by Zaldy Elevenson. Selected musical theater pieces addressed UN Development Goals. Open to the public for free, the numbers were composed by the playwright himself.

In 1967 The Theater-in-the Ruins was conceived by Guidote-Alvarez as a creative space for the nationalist theater.


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