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Building Creative Communities: PETA’S Theater for Advocacy Work in Mekong

Building Creative Communities: PETA’S (Philippine Educational Theater Association) Theater for Advocacy Work in Mekong compiles the experiences of Mekong creative communities in addressing gender and sexuality issues. It tackles the spread of virulent diseases, particularly HIV/AIDS, and how the sub-region’s cultural strengths are harnessed in a bid to curb them.

Avatar of Alessia Valenza

9th August 2011 14:11

Alessia Valenza | ILGA Asia

The 246-page book summarizes the five-year work of the PETA Mekong Partnership Program, which in partnership with the Rockefeller Foundation, facilitated inspiring encounters with Mekong artists and groups in the Greater Mekong Subregion.

It serves as a documentation of the experiences of artists and groups who joined the annual Mekong Performing Arts Laboratory conducted from 2005 to 2010.

Lea Espallardo’s article provides an overall view of the Mekong Performing Arts Laboratory, including the difficulties encountered and the realization of the program’s aim of linking Mekong artists during and beyond the Laboratories.

Vannaphone Sitthirath and Rowena Basco-Sugay chronicle the experiences of theater groups in Laos , Thailand and Vietnam as they transform the stage into an arena for creative education on the issues of gender, sexuality and HIV/AIDS using various art forms.

Johanna Son’s article tells how Cambodia ’s Phare Ponleu Selpak captivates the audience as its young members perform circus tricks to convey pressing social messages.

Narumol Thammapruksa’s article on the play entitled Mong shows how two artists of different cultural backgrounds jointly create a play, and transcend the cultural barriers to put across the same message to different audiences.

The Butterfly series, another article by Narumol Thammapruksa, tells the use of modernized shadow theater by The Wandering Moon Performing Troupe and Endless Journey in encouraging the public to think about the right of women to their own sexual pleasure.

Pornrat Damrhung’s article provides the first assessment of the Mekong Program and its pivotal role in transforming the Mekong creative spaces into an arena for social advocacy.

The final article written by Rowena Basco-Sugay and Beng Santos-Cabangon gives a more formal and comprehensive assessment of the Mekong Program based on a set of indicators.

Most articles tackle how the art groups were formed or how the plays were conceptualized and created. They reveal the sense of mission of many of the artists and how their efforts paid off.

The book is now available and can be ordered at

The Philippine Educational Theater Association (PETA) was founded on April 7, 1967 as a non-stock, non-profit theater institution dedicated to the pursuit of artistically excellent theater aesthetics and pedagogy towards the empowerment of people and society. PETA has been home and cradle to hundreds of artists who share their talents and expertise in theater, film and television, print and education, reaping a rich harvest of recognition and awards while interacting and bonding with local and international theater organizations and educational institutions.

Throughout its four decades of history, PETA has been in the forefront of Philippine theatre, culture, and society, and played a key role in the formation of local and international arts/cultural networks. PETA is a recipient of The Japan Foundation’s 2005 Special Award for Culture and Arts for its pioneering achievements in the field of theatre and cultural work/exchange.

PETA Mekong Partnership Program
The PETA Mekong Partnership program is a regional program that aims to facilitate the development of various artistic forms in mobilizing the performing arts community for advocacy and social transformation in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region. Since 2004, it has established pioneering works and benchmarked projects that facilitated cross-border exchange, capacity building and solid partnerships with and among the Mekong arts communities. It has also explored different ways of using the creative space for learning, artistic expression and advocacy that became effective tools in engaging the public to tackle the different issues that has emerged in the Region. The PETA Mekong Partnership Program operates through grants from The Rockefeller Foundation,the European Union and Save the Children-UK; with additional support from Terres des Hommes-Germany.

For further information about PETA, log-on to: Philippine Educational Theater Association
Philippine Educational Theater Association
MekongPartnership Program
350/2061 Ratchada-Chuanchom Mansion , Soi Ladphao 23, Ladphao Road
Chatuchak, Bangkok 10900
Tel.: (2) 9092649 . 9390200 to 04 local ext. 2061
Tel./Fax: (66-2) 9307851
Email: . .