Ateneo Theater Arts Wins Four Trophies in the First National Leaf Awards

February 15, 2020
Dr Ricky |Abad triumphantly holding up his awardThree Ateneo theater artists and a college theater company received prestigious honors in the First Live Entertainment, Arts, and Festivals (LEAF) Awards in a star-studded and Filipinana-inspired ceremony held February 8, 2020 at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza.  

Dr. Ricardo Abad, Professor Emeritus and Areté’s Artistic Director led the pack of Ateneo winners with a Golden Leaf Award for Excellence in Theater Arts Education.  The award recognized Abad’s continued excellence as theatre artist and educator and “lifetime work in uplifting a deeper understanding of Theater as a most potent tool in nation building.”   In his acceptance speech, Dr. Abad profusely thanked the Ateneo de Manila University, his theater colleagues and his students for the support given to him in pursuing theater projects both within the campus and outside the country.
Dr. Ricky Abad delivers his acceptance speech
Missy Maramara, Associate Professor, Department of Fine Arts, also reaped honors as Outstanding Performance by an Actress for her moving portrayal in Stop Kiss, a play she herself co-produced and staged at the PowerMac Spotlight Theater.   Ms. Maramara received a nomination as well for Outstanding Director for a Musical of Spring Awakening, a production staged by Blue Repertory.  Ms. Maramara had an ongoing Repertory Philippines production and could not make it to awards night.  Blue Repertory representatives, however, presented her the awards during the curtain call of her show, Stage Kiss, at the Onstage Theater in Greenbelt I. 
Missy Maramara and members of the Blue Rep
Blue Repertory was a big winner with two major LEAF awards and four nominations.  Juancho Gabriel, Idol Philippines star, rose above tough professional contenders to claim the award for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role (Musical) for Spring Awakening, while Blue Repertory garnered another prize for Outstanding Ensemble Cast for a Musical.  The company also received nominations for Sandino Martin as Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Musical and for Krystal Kane as Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Musical. 

The ensemble with their awards
 Not to be outdone were awards and nominations for performances and shows staged, as Spring Awakening was, at the Areté in March and August 2019.  Juana Change Movement, the producers of the gritty Tao Po, twice shown at the Areté, secured  the award for Outstanding Emerging Performance Art and earned for its solo performer, Mae Paner, the Outstanding Performer in an Emerging Performance Art.  Tao Po director, Ed Lacson, Jr., once a faculty member of Ateneo’s Theater Arts Program, received a nomination as Outstanding Director for Emerging Performance Art. 

 Just as notable was Tanghalang Ateneo’s production of Dolorosa, staged at the Areté in August 2019, one that gave nods to Bibeth Orteza for Outstanding Performance by an Actress and to Ronan Capinding for Outstanding Performance by an Actor.  Mr. Capinding teaches this semester at the Department of Fine Arts as he directs a performance for St. Camillus Seminary and supervises a confidence-building workshop for Pathways. The play, Dolorosa, written by Ateneo alumnus, Peter Zaragoza Mayshle, also won first prize in the Palanca Memorial Awards last year.

Areté’s production of Suzue Toshiro’s If He Doesn’t See Your Face, staged at the Doreen Black Box in August 2019, and directed by Ricardo Abad, produced two nominations -- one for Delphine Buencamino as Outstanding Performance by an Actress and another for Brian Sy as Outstanding Performance by an Actor.  Both actors, Ateneo alumni, are among the leading actors of their generation.  Ms. Buencamino is presently a lecturer in Ateneo’s Theater Arts Program and will soon facilitate a workshop on movement design and sustainability for the Asian University Network.  

The LEAF awards came at the heels of several other citations given to Ateneo Theater by the Philippine media, notably the Philippine Daily Inquirer, in their Best of the Year and Best of the Decade listings.  They testify to the esteem held by the cultural industry on Ateneo theater arts in its mission to excel and serve the nation and in places beyond its borders. May the beat of magis go on!  

Photo credits: Photo Credits: LEAF, Blue Repertory, Tanghalang Ateneo, Juana Change Movement, Elizabeth Eviota, Erika Rafael, Frank Rivera, Sofia Santelices, and Tata Tuviera