The theater located in Pasay City first shut its doors after the fire incident last October 2019
In October 2019, a tragedy took place in Pasay City as its famous arts and entertainment sites were burned. Amusement park Star City and playhouses Star Theater and Aliw Theater were devoured by flames, pushing them to close their doors. After three years and the setbacks caused by the pandemic, Star City opened earlier this year. Following that is the unveiling of the Aliw Theater, which took place on Aug. 10, 2022.
While the Star Theater was damaged beyond repair, Lisa Macuja Elizalde, Ballet Manila’s CEO and artistic director, promises that the refurbished Aliw Theater is better and stronger than before for future theatrical and dance production.
“The journey to has been bittersweet,” the prima ballerina says during her speech. “When the fire happened we have a bigger vision of what we are going to be… [we are] leaner but stronger, leaner but meaner, smaller but better. We start over again more determined and passionate… Ballet Manila can finally return to its home and mount a series of live performances starting in October 2022.”
Joining her in the official launching of the theater complex is her husband, broadcasting magnate Fred J. Elizalde. Following the ribbon-cutting ceremony is a tour of the space, featuring three distinct facilities that can host different types of events—the Elizalde Hall, Custom Space, and the Aliw Theater. At the lobby, future guests of the theater will be greeted by the special artwork by Swiss-French artist Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris. Owned by Fred, the striking “Le Corbusier Tapestry” hangs proudly to welcome the audience. There are only two pieces of the artwork in the world. The other can be found in the Sydney Opera House.
Multifunctional and spacious, the 370 sq. meters Elizalde Hall can be customized for many events, whether it is for business meetings, training, or small conferences, among others, as it can be divided into two, each fitting over 48 people. Its lobby can also host exhibits and even a bar for gatherings.
Upstairs is where two Custom Spaces are located. The rooms can be divided and their wide space and high ceilings make them perfect spots for rehearsals, intimate performances, recitals, exhibits, and social events.
The Aliw Theater, the complex’s flagship facility, is refreshed with new lights and sound equipment. After its restoration, the theater can only accommodate 1,275 audiences. Its first rows can be removed when there is a need for an orchestra pit. Adding to its splendor is a 50 sq. meter curved LED screen, helping to bring the stage to life.
Ballet Manila is set to open its 25th season on February 2023 with a contemporary take on “Romeo and Juliet” by British choreographer Martin Lawrence. But Filipinos will get to see the company perform on the Aliw Theater stage later this year with its holiday dance series starting with Lisa’s “Cinderella,” opening on Dec. 25.
“I made a vow over two years ago,” Lisa says. “That vow is fulfilled here and now.”