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ITI in Xiamen

MINI CRITIQUE - Isagani Cruz -

From the headquarters of the UNESCO International Theatre Institute (ITI) in Paris comes news that the next ITI World Congress will be held on Sept. 19 to 24 at the International Conference and Exhibition Centre in Xiamen, China. If you recall, the World Congress was held in Manila in 2006.

The Xiamen event, according to ITI, “will have a strong educational and artistic focus, manifest in the diverse range of workshops, presentations and cross-cultural collaborations with local artists, in addition to a sumptuous showcase of xiqu, the generic term for Chinese Music Theatre.”

ITI stresses that “this is the first ever ITI World Congress to take place in China, and the choice of Xiamen as host city was no accident. Xiamen, China’s main port in the 19th century for exporting tea, was also one of the original Special Economic Zones set up in 1980 to attract foreign investment. In September, this historically international city, aspiring to become a cultural destination of world renown, already committed to music theatre and dance, will shine the spotlight on the larger field of the performing arts, opening its doors to over 300 congress delegates from 70 countries, as well as 500 participants from different parts of China.”

Several Filipino theater artists are slated to participate in the event as delegates or performers. Because of my tight schedule, I can attend only the meeting of the General Secretaries, but other artists may and should want to stay for the entire week. After all, they will be treated to several performances, including Caocao and Yangxiu (Beijing opera), Frog in the Lotus Pond (Gezai opera), Jinzi (Chuanju opera), The Legend of a Hero, The Master Builder, Saving the Orphan (Yuju opera), The Scholar and the Widow (Liyuan opera), Sister A Da (Gaojia opera), A Strand of Hemp, and Thunderstorm.

Last July 16 to 18, the ITI Asian Theatre Network Steering Committee met in Manila to prepare for the World Congress, as well as to monitor efforts to create a strong Asian presence in world theater. Among the proposals discussed during the Committee meeting was the creation of an Asian Performing Arts Award (similar to the Premio Teatro Europa), which will highlight the best practices among theater groups in Asia that promote the ideals of ITI.

The ITI Secretary-General, Tobias Biancone, chaired the meeting. The meeting was hosted by ITI Philippines, led by its Chair, Vilma Labrador, and its Executive Director, Cecile Guidote-Alvarez (who also sits on the Executive Board of ITI).

The Committee approved several resolutions, such as:

“To create an Asia-Pacific Regional Council during the Xiamen Congress.

“To undertake workshops and festivals, particularly to include artists in regions and countries where there is division, armed conflict, and raging volatile debates.

“To work for the proclamation of a World Arts Education Week.

“To harness cultural resources and artistic and media expertise in a comprehensive creative communications and educational approach to popularize scientific data and address climate change with disaster risk management.

“To complement the publications program of ITI with Broadcast Theatre initiatives, webcast and latest technology forms.

“To craft an ASEAN Performing Arts curriculum module for inclusion in the International Academy of Performing Arts of ITI.”

BOOK NEWS FROM DLSU: To celebrate its centennial, De La Salle University has produced a number of books, including a coffee-table book to be launched next month, with essays written by Elfren Sicangco Cruz, Alvin Culaba, Leandro Cruz, Jose Dalisay, Renato de Castro, Joaquin Henson, Charlson Ong, Carla Pacis, and Augusto Villalon.

Launched last June 17 were 17 books conceived as a Centennial Set, authored by Alwin C. Aguirre, Rito V. Baring, Cirilo F. Bautista, Nonon Villaluz Carandang, Kristian Sendon Cordero, Ferdinand D. Dagmang, Noelle Leslie G. De la Cruz, Shirley N. Dita, Marjorie M. Evasco, Susan M. Gallardo, Brother Andrew B. Gonzalez FSC, Exaltacion Ellevera-Lamberte, Agnes C. Malcampo, Jeane C. Peraculo, Andrea L. Santiago, Paz Verdades M. Santos, Gerardo Z. Torres, Tereso S. Tullao Jr., and Santiago V. Villafania.

Also already launched were books by Vic H. Groyon Jr., Nonon Villaruz Carandang, Rakki E. Sison-Buban, and Ruth Elynia S. Mabanglo.

A few copies of the complete Centennial Set are still available from A-Z Direct Marketing. Copies of the individual books are available in bookstores, as well as from DLSU’s partner publishers, namely, Anvil Publishing, C&E Publishing, Central Books, Phoenix Publishing House, and Vibal Foundation.

TEACHING TIP OF THE WEEK: How can medical doctors be effective as medical school teachers? From the University of Western Australia come these teaching tips:

“Research confirms that the performance of students, as measured by knowledge and skills assessments, is directly related to the prowess of their teachers.

“Good teachers are recognised not only by their teaching abilities (organisation and clarity of presentation, enthusiasm and stimulation of interest, group interaction skills) but also by their ‘doctoring’ qualities (competence, clinical knowledge, analytic ability, professionalism) and their supervisory skills.

“The goals of an effective clinical teacher are: to provide a clinician role model (being knowledgeable, competent, caring and professional); to be a supervisor (giving direction in patient care when required; providing feedback; involving trainees, junior medical officers and students in clinical care); to provide support (mentoring, caring, showing an interest, and providing advice about careers); to be a dynamic teacher (planning, motivating, understanding the relevance for learners, and identifying learner needs).”

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