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PERFORMATURA 2021: International Performance Literature Festival

The Cultural Center of the Philippines brings back the Performatura: International Performance Literature Festival on November 22-24, 2021. True to the CCP’s mission of bringing our country’s diverse traditions for the common Filipino to experience, entrance to the festival will be practically free. This virtual event will feature performances, poetry readings, literature classes, art talks, chanters from the regions, book discussions, slam poetry contest, book fair, and interviews with renowned writers.

Artwork by Kulay Labitigan / Music by Vim Nadera and Diwa de Leon

Performatura is the CCP’s way of highlighting the rich tapestry of Philippine artistic traditions that leap beyond the written word while welcoming writers and performers from diverse communities of the country. It is a performance literature festival celebrating the intersections of the written word and performance. The word Performatura is a mash-up of the word performance and orature or oral literature. Orature is a term coined by Ugandan linguist Pio Zirimu who wanted to raise oral literature to the level of written literature. The festival’s director is poet and performer Dr. Vim Nadera, Jr.

Festival Schedule

Performatura 2021

The Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) brings back P.P.E. or Performatura: Pandemic Edition This international Performance Literature Festival will be held on November 22-24, 2021, from 10AM to 10PM, via Zoom and Facebook livestream. This year’s Festival Director is poet and performance artist Vim Nadera Jr. who has been offering it biennially with, initially, Herminio Beltran, Jr. and, eventually, Beverly Siy of the CCP – Intertextual Division since 2015.

Amidst crisis, CCP remains unaffected in fulfilling its vision and mission of bringing our country’s rich history and heritage, especially in the various fields of literature, performance as well as performing arts. This event, now virtual, will as usual showcase poetry readings, storytellings, theatrical shows, dance dramas, musical presentations, even spoken word competition, via multi-media means, among others.

On November 22, or Araw ni Huseng Batute, Performatura celebrates the poet par excellence Jose Corazon de Jesus’s 125th birthday. At 10AM, no less than Arsenio “Nick” Lizaso, CCP president and National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) chair, welcomes everyone – during the pandemic – while waxing poetic about his personal ties with the said first king of Balagtasan. National Artist for Music Ramon Santos delivers his keynote speech about De Jesus’ life as a lyricist.  Music artists from Performatibo Manila, that has been promoting Kundiman, Kuwentuhan, Katuwaan online since 2020, show how his poetry heals both the Filipinos and the Philippines. Jesus Jaime Aguila, the direct descendant of De Jesus, gives his response on behalf of his family. In the afternoon, 1PM-5PM, the finals of the Pambansang Balagtasan courtesy of the NCCA’s Philippine Cultural Education Program in cooperation with the Department of Education. Then the last segment for the day, at 7PM-10PM, features Mike Coroza, Jeanette Job Coroza, Felipe de Leon Jr., and Sonia Roco hosting the special edition of P.L.A.K.A. or Pamana ng Lahi, Arte, Kultura, Atbp. entitled Mga Piling Tula at mga Awit na Niletrahan ni Jose Corazon de Jesus.

Meanwhile, on November 23, CCP Vice President and Artistic Director Chris Millado opens the second day, at 10AM, that immortalizes the revolutionary hero Andres Bonifacio’s 158th birthday which is supposed to be on November 30. But, this day is dedicated to the Bagong Bonifacio. This segment, called Front (Liners) Act – hosted by the Linangan sa Imahen, Retorika, at Anyo’s Arli Joshua Boniquit Atienza – focuses on the unsung healing heroes who sing, literally and literarily, such as Dr. Rhodora Andrea Concepcion of the Philippine Psychiatric Association; Dr. P.J. Bengwasan of the Psychological Association of the Philippines; Dr. Neslen Guanzon, Mignodel Morales, Leilani Joy Igarta of Asian Hospital and Medical Center’s Makatang Asiano; Joavanni Pacaldo of University of Cebu and Hannah Leceña of J.B.T. Caing Sr. Memorial Integrated School jam with L.I.R.A.’s president who is a medical doctor, Dr. Joti Tabula together with other frontliners in Mark Pugnit Bonabon, Mia Francesca Lauengco, and Tresia Siplante Traqueña. Celebrity physician Dr. Tony Leachon is also invited. At 1PM-5PM, 8 Letters wunderkind Cindy Wong sponsors the afternoon segment, billed as Claiming Indie Spaces in Challenging Times, organized by the Indie Publishers Collab-PH (TIPC-PH) – a collective of independent publishers sharing the exact track of expanding the literary horizons of the ‘indie’ community in the Philippines. In this year’s Performatura, TIPC-PH will conduct a book launch and a series of storytelling performances from Aklat Alamid, Alubat Publishing, 8Letters, Librong L.I.R.A., Rebo Press, and Southern Voices. Alubat Publishing will showcase excerpt readings of Dr. Louie Mar Gangcuangco’s HIV novel Orosa-Nakpil, Malate; 8Letters will launch its newest anthologies, Takipsilim and Hatinggabi, featuring Philippine mythological creatures, through storytelling; Librong L.I.R.A. will have performances of Nick Pichay’s poems from his republished poetry collection Ang Lunes na Mahirap Bunuin; Rebo Press will have an excerpt reading from Frank G. Rivera’s Si Jose Rizal sa (Loob at Labas ng Kagila-gilalas na) Daigdig ni Atô, Karl de Mesa’s Calling Out the Destruction: Collected Non-Fiction Meditations on Violence and Transcendence, Maria Kristelle Jimenez’s Salamín: Mga Personal na Prosa, and Vox Populi PH’s excerpt reading from their newest literary collection of contemporary youth literature; Southern Voices Printing Press features the launch of Mga Munting Babae, the Filipino translated version of Little Women by Louisa May Alcott, with the participation of actress/model Ms. Mylene Dizon, and former Representative Emmi de Jesus of Gabriela Women’s Party, reading excerpts from the book. Prof. Rowena Festin, who translated the book with S.V.P.P. publisher Sophia Perez, will also give a brief insight on language and translation.

At night, 7PM-10PM, S.I.P.A. International Performance Art Festival, an inter-cultural project that promotes exchange, solidarity, and peace organized by independent Filipino artists inviting artists from all over the world. Through the initiative of Boyet de Mesa and S.I.P.A. Secretariat, it re-discovers the secret excellence of Filipino performance artists like Concerned Artists of the Philippines (Polytechnic University of the Philippines) Performance Collective, Rogger Basco, Nerisa Guevara, Sarina Narida, Vim Nadera, PUP Bagong Himig Serenata, PUP Sining Lahi Polyrepertory, Ronadae Ruiz, Jo-An Sarmogenes, Opaline Santos, and Rosa Zerrudo as well as foreign guests like 69 Performance Club (Indonesia), Mok Augustine (Hong Kong), Warattaya Chaisin (Thailand), Calum Eccleston (England), Chaw Ei Thein (Myanmar/United States), Inti Barrios Hernandez (Mexico), Andreas Hoffmann (Germany), Yeon Jeong (South Korea), Padungsak Kochsomrong (Thailand), Florence Lam (HongKong), Futoshi Moromizato (Japan), Maria Victoria Muñoz (Colombia), Mongkol Plienbangchang (Thailand), Juyoung Park (South Korea), Evamaria Schaller (Austria), Dimple B Shah (India), Satadru Sova (India), and Yadanar Win (Myanmar).

Lastly, on November 24, dubbed as Araw ng mga Aklat at Akdang Bayan, CCP Board of Trustees Chair Margie Moran Floirendo opens the last day of Performatura. At 10AM, via livestream from Los Baños in Laguna, the National Book Development Board (NBDB) inaugurates Book Nook, a great concept that realizes reading centers for families living in areas where accessibility in books and the internet are limited. In the afternoon, 1PM-5PM, centers on the epics through Kanto Epiko. Luzon’s Lam-ang, Visayas’ Hinilawod, and Mindanao’s Darangen take centerstage. Directors Ron Biñas, John Barrios, and Christine Ortega and their team modernize or post-modernize the pre-colonial form of literature to the delight of Gen X, Y, and Z – as if chanters are healers. In the evening, at 7PM-10PM, the Philippine Librarian Association, Inc. (PLAI) encourages Filipino library personnel to commemorate the 87th National Book Week.  Tanghal Tula, a nation-wide spoken word contest tackling the theme “Outcomes, Outreach, Outstanding: Library Beyond Boundaries,” awaits the winner who wears the crown created by sculptor Raul “Tata” Funilas and trophy tailor-made for the “Tanghal Makata ng Taon” by artist Sam Penaso.

Performatura functions as a melting pot of different cultures in the country. This pandemic edition turns CCP into MCP or medical center of the Philippines.

It is a proof that no virus can prevent artists and cultural workers, and culture bearers as well, from gathering together. Such literary fiesta empowers individuals and communities to use their inner voices and inventiveness, tangible and intangible, to shout out to the world that creativity, still and all, humanizes. And heals.

Since creating something from nothing is god-like – art, especially performance literature, can overcome everything, even in the midst of misery. Thus, Performatura 2021 is more than just an art festival, it is a ritual for cultural wellness and well-being.

Performatura Theme Song by Vim Nadera and Diwa de Leon



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Performatura 2021

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