Premier playwrights’ festival ‘Virgin Labfest’ is set for November

Now on its 16th year!

From Nov. 24 to Dec. 5, 2021, the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) together with Writer’s Block and Tanghalang Pilipino will be hosting this year’s “Virgin Labfest” (VLF). It goes digital once again on its 16th year and will be streamed on CCP, VLF, and Tanghalang Pilipino’s respective Facebook pages. Choosing to focus on education, the festival components are FFF: fair, fellowship, and flashback.

16th Virgin Labfest, hosted by CCP, The Writer's Bloc, and Tanghalang Pilipino

Established in 2005, VLF is the premier playwrights’ festival in the country, producing untried, untested, and unstaged works. It is known for programming and providing support for the development of plays that dare to define and defy the times.

The Fellowship Writing Program will be conducted from Nov. 16 to Dec. 5, 2021 under the tutelage of award-winning playwright Glenn Sevilla Mas. The culminating activity, which will be streamed for public viewing on Dec. 5, will be directed by Dennis Marasigan.

The Playwrights Fair will be held from Nov. 24 to Dec. 5 featuring conversations with playwrights from all over the country. As an integral part of the Fair, the 4th Edition of the VLF Anthology and Elemental—a book of plays by women playwrights—will be launched.

Tanghalang Pilipino, the resident drama company of the Cultural Center of the Philippines

For 2021, the festival takes on the theme of “Yakap” as its catchphrase. This year, VLF embraces the artistic community as it strives to survive the terrible pandemic. To embrace new possibilities and new narratives emboldened by the times and embrace the audience with works that have provided comfort and enjoyment in the past.

The Writer's Bloc, an independent organization of established and aspiring playwrights

In 2020, at the early stages of the global pandemic, VLF spearheaded processes and new possibilities of staging and presenting performances for audiences across the Philippines and the world. It was a dream to bring the works on stage and document them for audiences to watch online this year. Given how the situation remains precarious because of the ongoing pandemic, the organizers chose to prioritize the safety of performance-makers and make use of the time to pause, reflect, look back, and move forward.