Why the CCP Needs to Close for Up to Three Years

Major upgrades need to be done.
IMAGE SHUTTERSTOCK

The doors of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) will close for about three years beginning in December 31. The lengthy, albeit temporary, closure is necessary to give way to major renovations and structural retrofitting work, which is scheduled to be completed by mid-March of 2025. 

CCP Chairperson Margie Moran-Floirendo confirmed the plans at a hearing of the Senate Committee on Culture and Sports earlier this month.

CCP organized a show called Musikal II to mark the institution's 53rd anniversary

Photo by Kap Maceda Aguila.

“(The facility) will be upgraded, and it’s going to be a state-of-the-art theater; it’s going to be a more beautiful theater,” the former Miss Universe shared with Esquire Philippines during a special performance called Musikal II at the CCP to mark its 53rd anniversary on Saturday (September 10).

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Structural retrofitting and renovation work will be done on the 53-year-old building. Repair is to be done as well on its main theater, Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo.

“We want to make sure that (the roof) doesn’t leak,” said Moran-Floirendo, adding that the problem was discovered upon resuming operations two years after the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic. “There’s some leakage, and we’re not yet compliant in (terms of our) fire protection system.”

Architectural rehabilitation

Aside from resolving these issues, Moran-Floirendo said the CCP will undergo “architectural rehabilitation” and repairs in its “electricals and mechanicals.” She added, “We’re also upgrading the plumbing, our bathrooms, and all that.” However, she emphasized that there will be “no change in the look and layout” of the establishment. Theatergoers and performers alike will benefit from the “upgrading of (the) light and sound system.”

Major refurbishments need to be done throughout the entire CCP

Photo by Kap Maceda Aguila.
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Work has actually commenced on some parts of the CCP, such as its Little Theater, Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino in the Silangan Hall, and on the fourth floor. Findings after the initial work indicated a need for the staff to vacate the premises temporarily. This was reported by both Moran-Floirendo and CCP Chairman of the Board of Trustees Dr. Jaime C. Laya to the Senate, where they also made a request for additional funding.  

Laya said the extra funds will be used to move out CCP personnel by November this year, adding that the initial congressional funds allocated during the two years the Center was closed will be used to lease offices and theaters while the facility is closed. During the same hearing, Moran-Floirendo said that the funds for the construction of the CCP’s main building have been included in the 2023 national expenditures program. 

CCP Chairperson Margie Moran-Floirendo

Photo by Kap Maceda Aguila.
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“The institution will still remain,” she said. “So, the shows will all push through. The next shows will be outdoors and in other venues. We’re still planning for 2023, but our performances will reach more people. We’re going to be out there. We’re going to go to the regions and perform in theaters in the provinces—and in other theaters of Manila itself.”

In the meantime, the CCP will continue to host events until December this year.

‘A sense of ambivalence’

Musikal II featured excerpts from different shows from 2015 to 2021, such as A Game of Trolls, Ang Huling El Bimbo, and Dekada ‘70. The Saturday staging was attended by notable artists and musicians, including National Artist for Film and Broadcast Arts Ricky Lee and National Artist for Dance Alice Reyes.  

Laya delivered the speech of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on the latter’s behalf. “There is a sense of ambivalence in tonight’s event,” Laya said. “For even as we commemorate the founding of the Cultural Center, we also mark the closure—albeit temporarily—of the institution. CCP has witnessed the best of the Filipino creative expression, in terms of the Filipino culture, its heritage and its arts, and ultimately, its soul.”

The CCP Main Theater Tanghalang Nicanor Abelardo

Photo by Kap Maceda Aguila.
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The CCP Main Theater has several shows lined up until the end of the year. Four productions of its “Dance Series” will begin on September 23. Alice Reyes and Agnes Locsin headline the list of choreographers who will present “a lineup of timeless classics, creative collaborations, and new choreographic gems” to celebrate Philippine dance. 

The Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra will stage its Metamorphosis concert series this year at the Main Theater on September 16, October 7, and December 16, while opera fans will get the chance to watch Giacomo Puccini’s classic Turandot on December 9 at 8 p.m., and December 11, 2 p.m. The CCP will continue to have performances in venues such as its Black Box Theater and host online performances and classes.

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