Irish Drama: Local and Global Perspectives


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When they are invited to work with parish-based groups, PETA artists usually try to insert a historical or social dimension in liturgical plays. Everything starts traditional, but when Judas makes his statement, I had other Judases appear from behind him—the Judases of today.

In this way, the people could see that the play is still relevant and that Judases are still with us now. BUGKOS had derived its main inspiration from clear-cut political objectives, such as getting rid of the dictator and the US military bases, but when there were no longer any big targets left it vanished. Some got government jobs, became coopted by the system, and stopped being critical.

There are also some who misused funds. It was a major factor in the decline of the cultural movement in those places. Kaliwat, a community theatre group that came out of the Mindano Community Theatre Network [MCTN], is one of the few groups succeeding to keep its integrity intact. The likes of Nestor Horfilla are hanging on, consciously developing second-liners.

Josef, who during his CDA tenure had organized three national drama festivals to celebrate the regional, aesthetic and orientational diversity of Philippine theatre, now dedicates himself fully to training young artists at the Philippine Highschool for the Arts PHA in Laguna, where he has been director since Josef envisions his school turning out community-minded artists through a new curriculum with a strong emphasis on cultural identity and social awareness. His school offers training in seven main disciplines: visual arts, film, broadcasting, architecture, theatre, music, and dance, which are all taught from a post-colonial perspective.

Community exposure and the study of indigenous cultural expressions under the guidance of tribal artists are also important elements in his curriculum. Our tribal students thus understand better that their task is to develop their art here but to bring it back to their homes because it should be kept alive there. Some even regard it as a potentially dangerous dilution of regional heritages that are already seriously threatened with extinction to begin with. Yet, the days of factionalizations, so prevalent in the s and s, have passed.

Moreover, he knows that as a government institution his school has to adopt a neutral profile.

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Philippine community theatre in the s 25 Until , PETA used to have outreach projects all over the Philippines. Beng Santos Cabangon sees the grass-roots activities in these five regional partnerships—in Cordillera, Mindoro, southern Luzon, and the greater metropolitan area of Manila—as PETAs essential task: It provides people with a non-threatening space to tell what happened to them, so they feel a bit better about themselves. In addition, I would say theatre is still one of the better alternatives, especially for our children and youth. There is something fundamentally wrong with our educational system, because it blocks communication with peers and lowers self-esteem.

A lot of young people would like to talk to others and to learn to like themselves a little better, find out who they are and what they can do in life. Theatre is an effective way to positively redirect their energies, so they can contribute something good to their community and their families.

As a result, by the extensive outreach programmes all over the Philippines were replaced by the five geographically closer partnerships listed above. Encouraged by its financial backers, PETA also decided to make its professional productions self-supporting through sponsorship, ticket sales, and extended provincial tours.

According to PETAs marketing coordinator Jack Yabut, the potential theatre audience in Manila does not exceed 10 per cent of the population. Yet, we will always defend our freedom of form and content even if we enter into a sponsorship deal with a respectable commercial enterprise. Some of the older PETA members are growing increasingly concerned over the star-struck attitudes of young newcomers, who all too easily drop out of a PETA production to tape a much more lucrative commercial or a soap episode.

Summer workshops are held in April and May. June is assessment time.

In July, rehearsals start for the annual provincial tour that takes place from August to December. Each year, PETA creates four new productions, two for the open-air theatre in Manila and two for regional tours.

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Each Fort Santiago production runs for twelve to fifteen shows on weekends only, attracting between to spectators per night. The touring productions have thirty to fifty stops and tend to cater to children and Philippine community theatre in the s 27 high-school-age youth. Tour gigs, which are sponsored by schools, local governments, churches, and private foundations, easily draw between and 2, people in town plazas. If it is outside Manila, the host also has to provide transportation, board and lodging.

From the flat fee, PETA pays the actors; any profits flow back to the programme that initiated the play. It contained images of revolt, from all the way back to the Spanish time to contemporary manifestations of cultural imperialism. The stage version addressed the effects of American military bases in the Philippines on a nurse, who is in the middle of packing her bags to emigrate to the States.

Miserere Nobis, which Chris Millado adapted from a Pete Lacaba film script, deals with activists and the detrimental psychological effects their political obsessions have on them and on their families. That same year, Charley De la Paz also wrote the libretto for the musical , a large-scale production that featured famous pop singer Ariel Rivera and which PETA put on to commemorate the cen tennial of the Filipino revolution against the Spanish.

Throughout the year, PETA also conducts in-house teacher training to prepare its own artists for the summer workshops. To do this work, PETA permanently employs thirty people, half of whom are artist-teachers and the other half office staff. Furthermore, between twenty and thirty PETA members are on call for ad hoc productions and workshops. Although PETA expects workshop hosts to pay for expenses, lack of resources are never allowed to be an obstacle.

From December to May, Ernie Cloma and his colleague Bong Billones prepare for the summer workshops, but even in this period they give occasional workshops. Usually they have midway showcases as well as a more elaborate final performance. Even the specialized acting courses, although they cater to people who want to find employment in show business, always include an exposure trip. Yet, Ernie Cloma is well aware of the difficulty to inspire a new generation of a-political middle-class artists: After martial law, a bunch of PETA artists went into the movies or were eaten up by commercials and we were left with martial law babies.

Margo Harkin

When we do a conflict exercise, they ask us what for? We give them orientational training but without first-hand experiences it is almost impossible. So now we send them out to the grass roots; to the provinces. What helps a lot is our constant education. Every three months we organize sociopolitical seminars. All our workshops, even in the MTTL, are thematic and we always put in a module on the social, economic and cultural situation.

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We take them on exposure to urban poor areas. So we cannot be too ambitious. Yet, he remains optimistic. Changes no longer come as quickly as they once did in the mids, he knows, but gradually, through its workshops, PETA has been able to affect fundamental improvements in all kinds of governmental and non-governmental organizations. True, when government agencies request us to help them we no longer refuse. We even work with children of cops.


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They 30 Community Theatre also have rights. We need to learn to work with everybody. One of our big concerns now is working with sexually abused children, which is a tremendous problem that cuts right through the classes and sectors. PETA still has a lot to offer to the deceptively less repressive Philippines of the late s. As it did in the week-long workshop in Marinduque that we documented. So, also in Marinduque, a mere fifty airborne minutes from Manila Domestic Airport. We are welcomed by local cultural worker Eli Obligacion, who takes us in a hired jeepney to a pension, a few minutes walk from his wooden home and from the primary school where the PETA workshop will be held.

Although it is hot and muggy, the sea breeze makes the island much more bearable than the noisy and dirty national capital. In the afternoon, Eli takes us to a fishing community at the mouth of the Boac River, from which all life has disappeared after thousands upon thousands of gallons of toxic waste water from a giant open-pit copper mine poured into it in March It reminds me Philippine community theatre in the s 31 of Pacific Islander ceremonies in which visitors are honoured with songs, dances, and flower garlands.

We catch nothing at all, something which, Melo informs us, has become quite normal after the mine disaster. Profile of Marinduque Marinduque is a small island with a population of , living in an area spanning A daily ferry connects Marinduque to Lucena on the main island of Luzon, on which Manila is located, and four times a week Philippine Airlines flies a return trip to the national capital.

The island has had electricity since and now even boasts direct-dial telephone services. There are no local media: newspapers are flown in from the national capital and the only radio station that covers the island is based in Lucena. The largest towns are Santa Cruz 57, inhabitants and the provincial capital Boac 55, , followed by Mogpoc 29, and Gasan 27, More than half the island population is employed in coconut, rice and corn farming, and fishing.

Local theatre traditions Before the copper mine spill made international headlines, Marinduque was best known for its colourful outdoor theatre pageants during Holy Week, which yearly attract thousands of visitors.

Dr Elizabeth Kuti

Known as Moriones, this semi-religious theatre tradition is related to the Moro-moro van Erven — It has roots in pre-colonial rituals, the Christianization campaigns of Spanish colonial missionaries, and Moro attacks by Muslims from the south. Longinus is the soldier who pierced the side of the crucified Jesus Christ, guarded his tomb, and was the first to witness his resurrection.

Rainbows appear here periodically, right on this spot.

A rainbow represents harmony of colours, many beliefs, many kinds of people.

Irish Drama: Local and Global Perspectives Irish Drama: Local and Global Perspectives
Irish Drama: Local and Global Perspectives Irish Drama: Local and Global Perspectives
Irish Drama: Local and Global Perspectives Irish Drama: Local and Global Perspectives
Irish Drama: Local and Global Perspectives Irish Drama: Local and Global Perspectives
Irish Drama: Local and Global Perspectives Irish Drama: Local and Global Perspectives
Irish Drama: Local and Global Perspectives Irish Drama: Local and Global Perspectives

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