Early ‘Christmas gift’: Virgin LabFest 16 this November

Ibarra C, Mateo

VLF 2020 poster. CCP Image

A Virgin LabFest in November? Why not. Anything is possible in these days of existential crisis.

So, the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), the Writers’ Bloc, and Tanghalang Pilipino, hosts of 2021 Virgin Labfest (VLF), are giving VLF fans an early “Christmas gift” by deciding to hold the festival from Nov. 25 to Dec. 5, via digital streaming again. Pre-pandemic, the VLF was held in the merry months of May and June, in the lead up to the Cinemalaya film festival frenzy. 

Now on its 16th year, the festival this year will be streamed at the CCP, VLF, and Tanghalang Pilipino Facebook pages.

Choosing to focus on education, the festival components are “Fair, Fellowship, and Flashback.”

The Fellowship Writing Program will be conducted from Nov. 16 to Dec. 5 under the tutelage of award-winning playwright Glenn Sevilla Mas. The culminating activity, which will be streamed on Dec. 5, will be directed by Dennis Marasigan.

The Playwrights Fair will be held from Nov. 24 to Dec. 5, featuring conversations with playwrights from all over the country.  As part of the Fair, the 4th Edition of the VLF Anthology and Elemental, a book of plays by women playwrights will be launched.

For 2021, the festival takes on the theme of “Yakap” (embrace) as its catchphrase. “The festival strives to embrace the artistic community as it strives to survive the terrible pandemic; embrace new possibilities. and new narratives emboldened by the times and embrace the audience with works that have provided comfort and enjoyment in the past,” the CCP said. 

Established in 2005, the Virgin Labfest is the “premier playwrights festival in the country producing untried, untested, and unstaged works.”  It is known for programming and providing support for the development of plays that “dare define and defy the times.”

In 2020, during the early months of the pandemic, the Virgin Labfest explored the possibility of staging and presenting performances for Filipino audiences and beyond the archipelago.

“It was a dream to bring the works onstage and document the works for audiences to watch online this year. The organizers chose to prioritize the safety of performance-makers and make use of the time to pause, reflect, look back, and move forward,” the CCP said. 

For more information, follow VLF on CCP Social Media platforms, or visit www.culturalcenter.gov.ph

#CCP #VLF #TP #Theater #Actors #Performances

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