Select inmates of the Metro Bacolod District Jail-Male Dormitory Annex in Barangay Handumanan undergo the Voice for Theater Workshop with trainer Denise Aguilar (Photo courtesy of HANAS: Scholarship Program in Culture and the Arts)
BACOLOD CITY -- Some 20 inmates of the Metro Bacolod District Jail (MBDJ)-Male Dormitory Annex in Barangay Handumanan underwent a five-day Integrated Theater Arts Workshop in preparation for the creation of their own mask theater guild.
The workshop was conducted under the HANAS: Scholarship Program in Culture and the Arts initiated by the West Visayas Museum Association (WVMA), Inc. and Colegio San Agustin (CSA)-Bacolod through a grant from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).
Rudy Reveche, executive and workshop pedagogy director of HANAS, said over the weekend, they have finished the first phase, which is the Voice for Theater Workshop conducted by Denise Aguilar, a graduate of the Singapore Intercultural Theater Institute.
“The theater training aims to guide them on how to reconcile with their past, heal their broken lives, and rediscover their identities,” he said.
This was done through a series of theater games, exercises, role playing and group dynamics, he added.
Reveche said through the workshop, the inmates will also learn skills on mask-making, creative writing, and eventually, technical theater and production design.
“The long-term goal is to organize a mask theater guild in jail, because when they perform in public, they have to protect their identities” he said.
He added that the jail warden, Senior Insp. Norberto Miciano, has been supportive of their initiative for the inmates.
Reveche said they will tap local visual artists to train the inmates in making papier-maché masks which they can use during their performances and which can also serve as a livelihood project.
“Considering that Bacolod is home to the MassKara Festival that would be a good livelihood for them,” he said.
Reveche said after the workshop, they will continue with the rehearsals for a play, which will be opened to a public audience probably in June.
“Our target is to hold weekend performances, that people will go there to watch them and support their livelihood,” he added. (PNA)