CEBU CITY, Philippines — Next year, a big event will be coming to Cebu.
Cebu City will be hosting the first international theatre festival in the Philippines in July 2024.
There will be 10 participating theatres from six participating countries namely the Philippines, Korea, Singapore, Vietnam, Japan, and Malaysia.
Some of the foreign participants are the Korea Theatre Domo; the most famous theatre in Gangnam province in South Korea, Korea Gongter Da; Japan Angelus; Malaysia Lee Wushu Art Theatre; Vietnam Thien Dang Theatre; Singapore Chinese Opera Theatre; and Moldova Chisinau Eugene Ionesco National Theatre.
Connecting people through art
The 2024 Cebu International Theatre Festival (CITF) will be hosted by the White Hands Performing Arts, Inc., a cultural and social enterprise that connects people and art through creative and artistic contents containing contemporary values.
Nikki Ballesteros Verzosa, head of the White Hands Performing Arts, Inc. told CDN Digital that Dr. Woonki Hwang, CITF head organizer, had always wanted to have a theatre group here in Cebu.
“Sa [South] Korea man gud, anywhere you go naa juy mga theatre halls. Maski ana ka nga skina. So, siya (Hwang), theatre director man siya, naa siya’y own theatre company in Korea. So ganahan siya dad-on diri sa Cebu,” Verzosa said.
There [in South] Korea, anywhere you go, there are theatre halls. Even if you go to a street corner. So, he (Hwang) he is theatre director, he has his own theatre company in Korea. So he wants to bring that here in Cebu.)
Verzosa said that their initial plan was to bring Korean theatre actors here in Cebu to train theatre actors here.
However, it was changed because Hwang wanted to have a theatre festival.
To realize Hwang’s plan, the late Ricky Ballesteros, former Sinulog Foundation Inc. executive director, Verzosa’s uncle, contacted trusted people who shared the same artistic vision.
What to expect
After a while of planning, the committee members were formed and were composed of Hwang, the CITF’s general director; Msgr. Agustin “Ting” Ancajas, the organizing chair; Ha Jhun Hyung from White Hands Performing Arts, Inc.; Verzosa from Excel Events Concepts and White Hands; Rudy Aviles from the University of Cebu Performing Arts; and Sunshine Lim from Sto. Niño Mactan College.
Among the activities that the theatre enthusiasts can expect next year are the theatre performances in different genres like drama, musical, and dance, and the theatre forum.
Hwang said during the launch on October 19, he picked Cebu as the event’s venue after he witnessed different performances of the Sinulog Festival.
“After watching different performances in many festivals, including Cebu’s Sinulog festival, I thought the Filipino people like the theater and play because there was acting which is one of the important elements in theater,” Hwang said in Korean.
In his speech, Hwang acknowledged Ballesteros for without him it would be impossible to formulate the international event.
“He (Ricky) will definitely be happy to see us from the sky now that we are in the beginning (of the event),” Hwang said.
Further details of the event will be available soon.