Veruela’s groundbreaking community children’s theater-interaction

By Rob Bernaldez

The child-actors were in colorful costumes in realistic vegetable attires-camote, eggplant, carrot, pechay,etc and the audience, young and old were guessing and having fun watching them even before showtime.

As the performance started (at the municipal gym) the audience was glued and awed as the child-actors danced and sang.

Welcome to “Oh my gulay!” a pioneering creative presentation using theater as a tool of community forum and exchange under the program called BRAVE ( Building Resilience: Addressing Vulnerabilities in Environs of Agusan del Sur).

 

It is a project initiated by Saving the Children in cooperation with Educational Discipline in culture and Development Services (Edcads) in partnership with the local government unit (LGU) of Veruela, Agusan del Sur and DepEd.

The production is an awareness-raising on the wisdom and importance of planting, eating and creative sustenance of vegetables for health, nutrition and even in times of natural catastrophes.

“Daghan ko’y natun-an kalabot sa  pagkaon sa gulay ug nalingaw pa gyud.”( I learned many things about eating vegetables and had fun too,) says a young boy.

The audience get to participate and add information or voice specific concerns as the actors encouraged or asked them to speak.

 

“We invite persons of authority to add inputs as part of the flow of the play. This to deepen the understanding of the subject matter,” informed Dennis Yrenaya, the production manager.

“Doing the play, the child-actors become promising child-educators themselves. They see this as not just fun thing to do but to help spread the message across,”adds Yrenaya.

After the play, invited public officials led by Mayor Myrna Mondejar committed to sustain the program.

The audience was composed of children and youth, parents, teachers and local officials from nearby towns of Bunawan, Trento and Rosario.

“This type of advocacy activity is really not new as we have done this before, being a cultural and development institution for years and this practice, we believed, and affirmed by community leaders and folks, retains in people’s consciousness,” revealed Mm Cadosales, executive-director of Edcads.

The one-hour event was conceptualized and written by Ramon Jorge Sarabosing, set to music by Titing Trinquite and directed by Edward Rosales with Bobby Cielo as creative consultant.

All four are Caraga region-based artists and cultural workers. The child-actors are pupils of Sampaguita Central Elementary School in Veruela.

Now, who says there are no lessons learned outside the classroom? Make way for a vibrant community-theater.

Photos Mm Cadosales

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