“I envision a world free from poverty, pollution, ignorance, injustice. This must be done through culture so that it is peaceful. We have to develop minds and hearts that care and share.”
Cecile Guidote Alvarez (born 1943) founded the Philippine Educational Theater Association (Peta), a pioneering theater group that honed creative artists and audiences through children’s, college, and community theater. For 38 years, Peta has depicted social issues through original Filipino plays, using the language of the masses and alternative theater spaces. Today, as Executive Director of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Cecile has been described as a “cultural caregiver”.
Cecile Guidote Alvarez has served the Filipino public for years through the arts as a theater artist, producer, director and founder of cultural movements. As a 16-year-old talent of the Paulinian Players Guild, she was tapped to join the Ateneo Summer Graduate School Theater, where she was exposed to a theater workshop with disabled children at the National Orthopedic Hospital. Seeing the children emerge from hopelessness to confidence, Cecile discovered the power of the arts to transform the marginalized youth into creative individuals. At 18, Cecile directed the award-winning TV series, “Teenagers”, which tackled problems of the youth. From this early exposure to theater arts, Cecile envisioned a theater not just for entertainment, but also as a significant social venue that could articulate the aspirations of the Filipino people. From 1964 to 1967, she pursued graduate studies at the State University of New York and the Trinity University in Texas. She returned to the country in 1967 with her graduate thesis entitled “Prospectus for a National Theater” which envisioned a Philippine national theater movement. This became the basis for the Philippine Educational Theater Association (Peta) that Cecile founded and directed in 1967. For 38 years, Peta has honed creative artists who made successful careers in the Philippine theater and movie industry. The pioneering theater movement has regional chapters involving children’s theater, college theater, community theater and traditional arts. Currently, as Executive Director of the National Commission for Culture and Arts, Cecile continues her lifetime commitment of “cultural care giving” by providing free arts training to street children, the disabled and indigenous youth. Cecile attests that “the arts are a peaceful and powerful means of transmitting values.”
Philippine Educational Theater Association (Peta) Movement for a Free Philippines International Alliance of Concerned Artists for Human Rights and Peace (ACAHRP)