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September 19, 2020

NO pandemic can stop the Cultural Center of the Philippines to advance theater management in the regions and enhance the competency of Filipino arts and cultural practitioners through the Kaisa sa Sining Virtual Apprenticeship Program, held from August 4 to 28, 2020.

Organized by the Cultural Exchange Department (CED), the virtual apprenticeship program provided mentorship to 27 individuals from 13 provinces and 14 Regional Arts Centers.  The apprentices underwent lectures on production management, production design, tour management, venue operations, technical theater under the tutelage of the best mentors that CCP can provide.

Launched in 2018, and continued in 2019, the program is specifically designed for arts and culture practitioners from the CCP KSS regional arts centers in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. Aside from uplifting the overall arts and culture scene in the country, it aims to provide opportunities for the cultural workers to maximize their potentials in their respective fields.

This year, the program migrated to digital in light of the ongoing pandemic and government-imposed quarantine.  Utilizing various technology and new media platforms, the CCP-KSS VAP has successfully levelled up competence of the apprentices in the creative, managerial and technical areas of production.

The Production Design class rediscovered the importance of research and collaboration.  The apprentices comprehended that they need patience in reading, critical thinking and inquisitiveness in this industry because learning to brew something creative, realistic and competitive is a life-long process.

“This apprenticeship made us realized that nothing is easy.  There are so many things to learn in the short time given. The production design class has provided us with insider’s perspective on what it takes to become a production designer.  We perceive all the challenges in dealing with all the aspects of production design.  Learning is unending; it is a continuous process regardless of one’s condition.  This apprenticeship is not enough.  We hope that we will have another chance to learn it in the actual way.  We are thankful to our instructor, Ricardo Cruz (CCP PED), for sharing his best practices, experiences and insights as a designer,” said Marivic Macadaeg of St. Louis University Baguio City.

On the other hand, the Tour Management class grasped the value of making preparations. They deduced that proper scheduling, planning and efficient execution of the plan, being capable of leading people and working harmoniously with the team lead to better results.

Marvin Punsalan of City College of Angeles shared: “Bilang mag-aaral sa Tour Management, masasabi ko na bago ang mga idea, konseptong naipresenta sa konteksto ng iba’t ibang pamamaraan sa pagpapalawak, pagpapahayag ng sining at kultura sa iba’t ibang lugar sa bansa, at maging sa iba’t ibang panig sa mundo.  Tumatak sa aking isipan ang kahalagahan ng maayos na pagpaplano, ang gampanin ng bawat kasapi ng produksiyon at maayos na implementasyon nito.  Ang program ay nagbigay ng karagdagan kaalaman sa akin kung paanong organisadong maitatanghal ang sining at kultura ng isang komunidad upang mas mapahalagahan ng mas nakakarami.”

The Venues Operations class, meanwhile, understood the need to be keen and critical in crafting contracts, following procedures in the booking and leasing of venues, developing protocols and checklists, as well as delivering quality front-of-the-house services.  To them, elevating the standards of service is one of the keys for the Filipino audiences to develop deeper appreciation on Philippine arts and culture.

“As cultural workers, we realized that if we want to really preserve Filipino culture, you have to do things right.  Artists are ambassadors of our identity as nation, [while] cultural workers are alliances in ensuring that all these will live on.  Tunay na napakalaking halaga ang naibahagi ng training na ito para sa aming lahat na apprentice upang maisaayos at magmalasakit sa aming mga institusyon.  We’ve learned to immerse ourselves patungo sa mas malalim na pagtingin at pagpahalaga sa aming mga gawain,” enthused Suzette Tolentino of Biñan, Laguna.

More than just learning technical skills, the Technical Theater class learned that one needs to have creative ability to evoke emotions and communicate meanings with proper utilization of the theater equipment.  They discerned how to strike a good balance in sound and light, without overdoing it, as well as how to be resourceful, creative and smart to work with less. The class enabled them to dispel wrong practices and re-learn the basics for those who have experiences.

Joshua Nares from City College of Angeles, Pampanga shared: “There are two things I’ve learned in our Technical Theater class – first, the importance of every equipment and their usage and second, the proper guidance of when and how to use the equipment to make the production aesthetic successful.  My realization - Kahit hindi natin sila nakikita, technical people play a vital role in the success of every production.”

On Production Management class, Roger Odron from LDCU Cagayan de Oro shared: “Being a production manager, dapat may alam ka from the smaller details to bigger plans.  Dapat mahaba pasensiya mo, pero alam mo kung kailan ka magiging firm at hindi ka maloloko. Pinaintindi sa amin ng mentor namin, Nikki Garde-Torres (CCP PED), ang tamang gawain ng production manager – mula sa organization structure, schedules, budget, hanggang sa actual show.”

Other mentors were: Aurea Brigino (UP Diliman/Arts Management), Chinggay Bernardo (CCP CED/Tour Management), Sar Canlas-Tala (CCP FOH/Venue Operations), Arnelio Manzano and Orlan Absin (CCP CED/ Technical Theater).

Another highlight of the program were the weekly colloquiums where the apprentices had the rare chance to interact and learn from several masters from various fields to include five of the 2020 CCP KSS Mindanao Gador Awardees Maria Todi, Dr. Steven Fernandez, Joey Ayala, Agnes Locsin, Nestor Horfilla and Production Designer Gino Gonzales.  Other resource speakers who provided additional inputs on specific topics included Joey Nombres, Dennis Marasigan, JK Anicoche and Rheeza Hernandez.

With its carefully structured modules that work for both novices and adept, the program has become an effective venue for meaningful exchanges of ideas, dialogues and experiences. With accommodating mentors, no questions were too foolish, and no newbie in the field of arts and culture were diffident to ask them.

While learning new skills and finding new perspective, the apprentices developed their confidence in their crafts and increased their awareness in the arts and culture, which became a strong stimuli for them to learn more and improve the quality of work in the implementation of projects in their respective communities through the application of knowledge and skills they acquired in the apprenticeship program.

At the end of the course, the apprentices shared that they would have wanted the program to be held longer, as well as visit the CCP to be able to apply the theories they learned from the program to actual production work and get a first-hand experience.

After the conclusion of the program, the apprentices were expected to continue learning, impart their knowledge to their fellow practitioners and cultural workers, and possibly set systematized standards of productions in their regions.



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