MANILA, PHILIPPINES — This year’s Virgin Labfest, hosted by the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the Writer’s Bloc and Tanghalang Pilipino, Virgin Labfest on the digital platform anew, will focus on education, with festival components on FFF – Fair, Fellowship, and Flashback. The festival will be streamed from November 24 to December 5, 2021 on the CCP, VLF, and Tanghalang Pilipino Facebook Pages.
The Playwrights Fair features conversations with playwrights from all over the country at 8:00pm. The Fair recognizes the works and life of the late artists/playwrights who passed during this time of pandemic. The event also features current playwrights, their challenges, efforts, and experiences through virtual platforms used to cope with the situation the pandemic brings to the theater community, and to get updates about local and US-based theater communities, and actions they’ve been doing to cope with our current situation.
The Writing Fellowship Program will be conducted from November 16 to December 5 under the tutelage of award-winning playwright Glenn Sevilla Mas. The Culminating Activity which will be streamed for public viewing on December 5 will be directed by Dennis Marasigan.
While the conditions of the pandemic precluded the staging of new works, for Flashback, the festival will feature some of the best works from VLF 1 – 15, culled from the extensive archives of the CCP.
For 2021, the festival takes on “Yakap” (embrace) as its catchphrase. This year, 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.
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 at the early stages of the global pandemic, the Virgin Labfest spearheaded processes and new possibilities of staging and presenting performances for audiences across the Philippines and the World. It was a dream to bring the works onstage and document the works for audiences to watch online this year. Given the rising number of cases and the precarity of the situation, the organizers chose to prioritize the safety of performance-makers and make use of the time to pause, reflect, look back, and move forward.