THREE renowned Thomasian thespians were bestowed lifetime achievement awards for their stellar contributions to Philippine theater at the First Philippine International University Theatre Association (IUTA) Festival/Conference/Workshop held in Miriam College (MC) from July 18 to 20.

“Every year, the IUTA holds its executive committee meetings in different countries and this year was our chance to discover the Philippines and encourage Filipinos to be more involved in our association,” said Robert Germany, founder and former president of the IUTA, which started in Liege, Belgium.

The three-day event was concluded by the Gawad Parangal sa mga Tampok na Yaman ng Teatro Pilipino (Tribute to the Living Legends of Philippine Theater) awards ceremony, which paid tribute to the pillars of Philippine theater.

Among the honorees were Thomasians Natividad Crame-Rogers, Rustica Carpio, and Jesus Peralta.

“I feel so honored and humbled…part of the inspiration of the young people will be coming from the senior people like me. We will be able to leave lessons with you and the legacy will not die,” Carpio said.

A member of the Graduate School Academic Theater while earning her doctorate degree in UST, Carpio received over 50 awards here and abroad and was declared one of the Outstanding Women of the Philippines in 1968.

On the other hand, Peralta is included in the Palanca Hall of Fame for having received over nine Carlos Palanca Memorial Awards for his literary works. The UST Philosophy alumnus is a playwright, essayist, poet, photographer, social scientist, painter, and was hailed one of the Ten Outstanding Young Men in the Philippines in 1961.

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Finally, Crame-Rogers also took her doctorate degree in UST where she founded the Graduate School Academic Theater. Currently, the 88-year-old theater icon is busy with her own drama company, the Naty Crame-Rogers Philippine Drama Company at the Among Tahanan Sala Theater.

Also included in the IUTA Gawad Parangal sa mga Tampok na Yaman ng Teatro Pilipino roster Onofre Pagsanghan, Amelia Lapeña-Bonifacio, Jose Mari Avellana, Alberto Florentino, Baby Barredo, Fides Cuyugan-Asensio, Cecile Guidote-Alvarez, Celia Diaz-Laurel, Joy Gamboa Virata, Teddy Hilado, Salvador Bernal, and Tony Mabesa.

“I think we should have this more often because it gives local artists the chance to interact with people from the foreign theater scene,” Mabesa said, lauding the IUTA’s efforts of bringing together a diverse pool of theater enthusiasts.

The First Philippine IUTA Festival/Conference/Workshop also included academic paper readings, round-table dialogues, workshops, demonstrations, and performances. The conference also bridged the gap between the international theater scene and the local industry through an exchange of ideas, studies and various output.

“The significance lies in the exchange,” said Nick Lizaso, president of IUTA Philippines. ALYOSHA J. ROBILLOS

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