What is a Parol?

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Parol is a traditional Filipino Christmas decoration, a five point star-shaped Christmas lantern.

Originally made of thin bamboo frames and covered with colored cellophane or with rice paper and it has two “tails” that serve as the rays of the star. The star is a representation of the Star of Bethlehem and are symbols of hope.

Parol makers in the Philippines generally starting making parols as early as June, a lot of them are sold in markets from October up until Christmas.

Parol has become the most recognizable Christmas ornament for Filipinos not just in the Philippines, but in any country where there is a Filipino community, um. Hi.

Over the past month The Kapisanan Centre for Philippine Arts and Culture have been facilitating free Parol Making Workshops. These locally hand-made Parols can be purchased at their upcoming Krismas Bazaar Saturday December 3rd at 167 Augusta Ave from 1-9PM. Don’t Worry! If you aren’t able to join us on Saturday the Parols are still available and will be on display in the front gallery so come on by and take a look!


Playwright Flerida Peña speaks about Sister Mary’s a Dyke?!

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Playwright Flerida Peña

Playwright Flerida Peña speaks about the early phases of development and intentions with her upcoming play, Sister Mary’s a Dyke?!

What was your high school experience like?

FP: Ha! My high school experience was similar to the play’s main character’s high school experience.  There was no Vatican takeover but I too attended an all-girls Catholic high school and what I found out after the fact was that some of those girls were like me, super-f******-queer.

This piece seems like it is very much inspired by your high school experience, what about your Filipino background?

FP: While Abby is never revealed to be Filipino, there are hints and nods to her background scattered throughout the play.  A large percentage of Filipinos are staunch Catholics and Abby and her family reflect that, so much so that she even has an aunt or “Tita” who is a nun the Philippines.  As a whole, Abby would be a much different character were she not Filipino.

What do you have to say about the recent banning of rainbows at an anti-homophobia event in a Mississauga Catholic School?

FP: The inspiration for Sister Mary’s a Dyke?! came from the discovery that my high school was an incubator for a very large and elusive lesbian/queer/gaymo population. Between the various high school cliques I realized that lesbians walked among us, acknowledged in existence but not socially recognized or “out of the closet”, due to the taboo nature of queer identity within the Catholic School Systems. Sister Mary’s a Dyke?! is important to me because it recognizes and addresses issues that affect a minority group within a minority group.  This play is about challenging traditions and structure.

Flerida Peña joins  Director Nina Lee Aquino, Designer Camellia Koo and Dramaturge  Ric Knowles for a two week creative rehearsal before their public workshop presentations in May of 2012.

In its original incarnation of 30 minutes, Sister Mary’s a Dyke?! was directed by Evalyn Parry when Flerida was part of Buddies in Bad Times’ Young Creator’s Unit. It was also showcased at the Kultura Festival hosted by the Carlos Bulosan Theatre & the Kapisanan Centre for Philippine Arts & Culture in the summer of 2010.

Money for Playwrights and Theatre Creators

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CBT is now accepting applications from both new and emerging artists for the Ontario Arts Council’s Theatre Creators’ Reserve Program. This program is designed to help fund the creation of new work by Ontario-based artists. In keeping with CBT’s mandate to nurture and develop artists in the community, a priority will given to Filipino-Canadian artists and then the broader community. CBT encourages a wide variety of approaches to creating theatre, including theatre that integrates multiple arts forms such as but not limited to poetry, music, and movement. Applicants may request a minimum of $1000 to a maximum of $5000. Applicants can find the application form, as well as information on eligibility and program guidelines here. Due January 13th, 2012.

Submission Guidelines:
Applicants are asked to submit 3 copies of the following:
• A bio(s) or CV(s) that demonstrates where the applicant(s) is in their career as an artist
• A letter of proposal outlining their development history (if relevant), theatrical story/idea, and why this story is important for the artist to tell
• A script sample of the work they are interested in developing OR a creative writing sample
• A proposed budget, with details on how the money will be spent.
• One copy of the completed OAC application form

Submissions can be sent via mail or dropped off to
Carlos Bulosan Theatre
167 Augusta Ave
Toronto ON, M5T 2L4