Cecile Guidote Alvarez, a Philippine Educational Theater Association founder (PETA), was founded April 7, 1967 with the vision to create a Philippine Theater that is involved in the development and improvement of society and people.
PETA was established in 1971 as the UNESCO/ITI (International Theater Institute in the Philippines) Center. In the same year, it also organized the first Third World Theater Festival. It took place in the 400th anniversary of the founding of the City of Manila.
When its founder was forced to go on political exile because of Martial Law in 1972, PETA’s new breed of artist-teacher-leaders continued to steer the company towards a People’s Theater committed to social change.
PETA’s people-based theater aesthetic was sharpened by the political climate and social conditions of the Martial Law. The Martial Law inspired PETA to make theater a tool for empowerment and development of all disadvantaged groups of society, including those at the margins.
PETA was founded in the radical belief that Filipino plays could be created and performed. PETA’s plays were most often staged at Dulaang Rajah Sulayman. This open-air theater was designed by Leandro V. Locsin. It boasted a solid record, with around 300 plays translated, adapted and published by the 1990’s. This helped to shape the company’s theater history and enrich it through theater forms that express local, national, and universal themes. Among PETA’s earlier plays have been: Bayaning Huwad, Larawan, May-i, May-i, Hanggang Dito na Lamang at Maraming Salamat, Juan Tamban, Pilipinas Circa 1907, Ang Buhay ni Galileo, Macbeth, Canuplin, Macliing, Minsa’y Isang Gamu-Gamo, Ang Paglalakbay ni Radya Mangandiri, 1896.
PETA achieved one of its long-term goals in 2005 when it moved into a permanent home: The PETA Theater Center. The center is a landmark in Philippine Arts and Culture and a testament to PETA’s creativity, ingenuity and resilience. It serves as the physical headquarters for all PETA endeavors, including professional theater performances, workshops year round, and community outreach programs.
PETA moved into its new home and continued to produce cutting-edge, out-of the box productions that addressed urban issues. PETA’s current repertoire included new adaptations of world-famous plays like Haring Lear and Arbol de Fuego (Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard), as well as iconic children’s theatre productions such Mga Kuwento Ni Lola Basyang and Batang Rizal. The company recently explored modern pop music to keep in touch with its growing audience. The company’s current musicals include Skin Deep and William, Care Divas, and the phenomenal Rak of Aegis.
It was relentless in its search for new audiences and partnered vigorously with schools, parishes, and communities throughout the country to make sure it can share its rich educational performances to as many Filipinos possible. It embarked on many thrilling tours. Its mobile plays were Tumawag kay Libby Manaoag and Si Juan Tamad, Diyablo at ang Limang Milyong Boto. Hans Christian Andersen Must be a Filipino. Noli at Fili Dekada dos Mil. Rated:PG, ASL…Please! Padayon.
PETA’s vision to use theater as a tool of education, social change, and development was realized through its leadership and the contributions of its members and staff.