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The Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) starts the summer heat with this year’s PETASummer Program as enrollment opens this February.
As a theater company for advocacy, PETA continues to raise the cause of education and development through its annual summer program using a unique Integrated Theater Arts approach.
PETA’s workshop curriculum combines the different disciplines of theater, such as creative drama, sounds and music, body movements and dance, creative writing, and visual arts into one fun-filled workshop.
This year’s summer program offers following courses: Children’s Theater 1 (for ages 6 to 8) nourishes the imagination and self-confidence of every student. This course will help them develop habits of routine and discipline through creative explorations in rhythmic movement, dance, songs, games, paintings, puppetry, storytelling, and role-playing.
Children’s Theater 2 (for ages 9 to 12) allows students to explore and experience music, movement and dance, visual arts, storytelling, drama improvisation, poetry and short story writing, mixed with fun and games. This course will bring out the artist and actor in every child. They will enjoy various creative processes while enriching their imagination, self-appreciation, as well as respect for others, nature and culture.
Teen Theater (for ages 13 to 16) challenges the experimental and adventurous nature of the youth. The course will help participants channel their youthful energy into bursts of creativity. Students will explore improvisational theater and express their youth-oriented concerns through an original production that is geared towards the development of self and the community.
Meanwhile, Theater Arts (for ages 17 and up) is an introductory course that will give participants a unique artistic experience by learning the fundamental knowledge, skills and attitudes in improvisational theater production, theater history, theater appreciation, aesthetics and criticism using PETA’s Integrated Theater Arts approach.
First of the more advanced courses is Basic Acting for Theater (for ages 17 and up). Participants will laugh, cry, tremble, rage, and ground themselves in the basic knowledge, skills and attitudes on becoming stage actors as they rediscover their own self. Students will experience the different schools of acting through challenging yet fun acting exercises with PETA Artists-Teachers.
Second of the advanced courses, Creative Musical Theater is for musically-inclined individuals aged 17 and up. Through which, students will tune their innate talents in musical theater; consisting of voice, composition, and performance. They will revel in a resounding feast for the ears through music explorations within a local context.
Lastly, PETA’s Theater in Education series is designed for educators who want to use art skills, theater methods and discipline in putting across ideas and content in various academic areas in schools.
This year’s PETA Summer Program bears the tagline “Your Stories Take Centerstage,” hinting how the workshops are student-centric wherein each course focuses on the process of the participants’ learning. It also uses the students’ experiences as inspiration for their script, which is then spiced up with their well of emotions and imagination.
The summer program ends with a final showcase in which every class performs a production that is truly their own, applying all that they learned with the help of seasoned PETA Artist-Teachers.
Enrollment for all courses is ongoing. February enrollees and groups may avail of exclusive discounts.
To join the PETA Summer Program, please schedule an interview for enrollment through 725-6244, 410-0821, 0916-3090707, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This testimony was written by Wawel Mercado, a father of one of the participants to the PETA summer theater workshop. It was touching to read, and it reminded most of us about our own beginnings as theater artist-teachers.
I remember my daughter Therese’s first day in PETA’s Teen Summer Workshop. She was very nervous. She was new to the PETA community, and did not know anyone in the workshop, so she was naturally very anxious. “It’s like my first day in school, Papa”, she told me, before dropping her off in PETA. I reassured her, “It’s okay, Anak. You will make new friends.”
My daughter is shy, just like me. She even has trouble ordering a meal at McDonald’s. But in spite of her shyness, she loves theatre. And this summer, she was willing to face her fears to pursue her love for theatre.
When I picked her up after that first day, she was beaming. She loved it! She liked her teachers, Ian and Jeff, and was excited to meet new friends from places as far away as Laguna, Quezon Province and Baguio.
So, for the next three weeks, Therese would lighten up our dinner conversations with animated stories about her experiences in PETA:
About trying to keep her balance while doing a series of movements while keeping one leg raised;
About learning an upbeat Cordillera song, with lyrics she did not understand, but with a melody that sent her dancing;
About playing “Cops and Robbers”, running around the room, and always being “It”, as a consequence for being late;
About doing research on Asian folklore, and writing a summary with beginning, middle and end, on the stories that she had discovered;
About making masks one day, and meeting a master mask-maker and collector the next;
About her fascinating classmate…a 12 year old, not yet a teen, but who was hands down the most talented actress in class; and about a girl named Rainbow who had a rock star grandmother.
As a fan of progressive education, I quickly recognized that what Therese was going through was quite special. PETA’s summer curriculum is not just theatre. But it is multiple intelligence education coming into full play…
Movements with one leg? Bodily kinesthetic intelligence
Singing Cordillera hymns? Music intelligence
Writing folklore? Linguistic intelligence
Making masks? Artistic intelligence
Meeting new friends? Interpersonal intelligence
The multiple intelligence frame work was made popular by Harvard professor Dr. Howard Gardner only in the last 2 decades, but CB Garucho tells me that this PETA curriculum has been around since the 60s. It is the same curriculum that she went through, and she herself first experienced in PETA. Truly, our children have undergone something extremely special this summer.
But beyond the multiple intelligences, perhaps the greatest lesson that Therese has learned this summer is a lesson in humanity.
When Therese was born, her mother suffered a severe brain injury, and I have had to raise her these past 13 years as a solo parent. I know in faith that my wife Mila supports Therese with her fervent prayers, lifting up her pains and sufferings for our daughter. Because Therese is our unica hija, I have naturally become very protective of her, enrolling her in a small exclusive school where I personally know the principal and the teachers.
Coming from such a protected environment, the PETA experience opened up Therese to a bigger, harsher reality. She made friends with fellow teens who had much more challenging environments in school, and much more challenging situations at home. PETA’s outreach program has allowed children from the marginalized sectors of society to have access to PETA’s workshops. So from her newfound friends in her now wider circle, Therese heard stories of violent incidents in their schools, separated parents, broken families. “Papa,” she would tell me ruefully, “I thought these things happened only in movies.” Yet in spite of these challenges, these amazing kids are courageously able to forget all their troubles when they are on stage, when they are in theatre.
And so, our greatest lesson in humanity can perhaps be summarized this way: What we each suffer may be different. But because we all suffer, we are the same. Because we all suffer, we are human.
Consequently, Therese has become more grateful for what she has. Although her own family is different from normal, she knows that she has many things to be grateful for.
When Therese was a toddler, one of my biggest self-doubts was, “Will I be able to raise my daughter alone?” The answer to my doubts came to me in the form of an African proverb: “It takes a village to raise a child.”
After 13 years, I now know with certainty that indeed a village has raised Therese. And now I am also keenly aware that PETA is not just a summer workshop, but its is already a part of the village that is raising not just Therese, but hundreds of other children as well.
To the PETA village, we shall forever be grateful. On behalf of the children and parents gathered here this afternoon, thank you PETA!
Wawel Mercado, May 2010