TANGHAL, the National University and College Theater Festival, started in 2007 as a national gathering of youth theater groups based in the universities, showcasing the harvest of the best performances during the previous year. Being the wellspring of new performances, the school-based theater performances were considered to be the best starting point to encourage creation of fresh theater experiments.

The organizers, led by the National Committee on Dramatic Arts of the National Commission on Culture and the Arts, set themes in response to pressing issues of the day. Tanghal started in Iloilo, with the University of San Agustinas host of the first Tanghal. In the succeeding years, it moved to Zamboanga (2008) with the Association of Culture and Performance in Zamboanga hosting the event in West Mindanao State University, then on to Laguna (2009) with the ARTIST Inc. and Colegio de San Juan de Letran as host, then to Manila with the ALYANSA Inc. as host and the  De La Salle University, Manila, De La Salle College of St. Benilde, and the Cultural Center of the Philippines as venues,  and in 2011 the University of St. La Salle in Bacolod became host of Tanghal.

In 2012, the design of the festival was changed to encourage collaboration between schools and communities. The festival was held in four sites, one at each of the four regions in Luzon. The Tanghal was held at the Benguet State University in the Cordilleras; in the Visayas, Tanghal was held at the Silliman University in Dumaguete; in Mindanao, the Tanghal was held at the Mindanao State University in General Santos City; and in the National Capital Region, Tanghal was held at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Manila Campus.

The seventh installment of Tanghal featured the rich legacy of Philippine theatre and focused on major drama forms and groups considered as major icons in the field of theatre in the country. With the theme “imadyinICON: Mga Imahen Ng Harayang Filipino” Tanghal Theater Festival 2013 was held at the following venues (Luzon) Bicol University in Legaspi City, (Mindanao) Xavier University and other venues in Cagayan de Oro, (NCR) Polytechnic University of the Philippines, and (Visayas) Abatan River Ecological Theater and other Heritage Sites in Bohol. The Bohol Theater Network  performed at the Closing of TANGHAL VISAYAS, which was also the Opening of the LIKHA ASEAN FESTIVAL.

In 2013, natural calamities took its toll in the Visayas—super typhoon Yolanda struck, barely a month after a strong earthquake devastated Bohol. Thus Tanghal 2014 was re-designed to support disaster relief operations and disaster awareness for communities. The 2014 Tanghal: Theater on the Edge was themed and designed as a national gathering of selected representatives from the regions in Bohol. Through a workshop, performances were devised and were later shown in a public performance in Loon, Bohol.  An equallyimportant component was the Ginhawa Theater Caravan which had groups performing in equally devastated areas in Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao and the National Capital Region.

For its ninth year in 2015, we draw lessons from the previous Tanghal festival events. We need to put our acts together— theater artists from all communities should use theater as an avenue for exchange of developed technologies in response to urgent needs of the time. Wider participation and camaraderie among groups and communities should be encouraged.


Tanghal 2015 is conceived as ‘paglalakbay at paglikha ng bayan’ or Likha Lakbayan. The concept of ‘travelling together’ is significant not only as a curatorial design but also, and more importantly, as a recognition of our archipelagic character as a nation, our heterogeneity and plurality in culture, in language, in the very geography and spaces in which our theater practices thrive. Theater as an act of community in the oarchipelagic context must travel, forming and reforming the center (the nation, as it were) at each site, because each site and the places and people we encounter therein are equally important and constitute the complex fabric of our ‘bayan’.

The theme incorporates the idea of ‘re-imagining the nation’–devising communities, rebuilding a nation–in response to recent events especially of disasters that devastated many communities. It is therefore still ‘theater-on-the-edge’ but reframed this time as performative actions that redefine the nation for the future. The performances in Tanghal 2015 will feature local practices—‘icons’ of theater practices, both traditional and contemporary—expressing ways of coping with disaster but also the people’s fierce hope and practices of working together for a better future.

Project Description

The festival will be a collaborative two-part process of devising work (play creation) and presenting the output in at least three sites: one site each in Luzon and the National Capital Region, Visayas, and Mindanao.

The devising workshop will be a convergence of theater artists (actors/performers) from the four regional networks – Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao, and NCR— in which these artists will be working with an artistic team made up of a playwright, a director and choreographer, a production designer, and a musical director.  For ten days, the participants will devise or create a performance using stories and other materials from their regions that they will be contributing in the devising process. The venue of the devising workshop is Iloilo, at the University of San Agustin.

An important beginning event in the devising process is a colloquium on the theme of re-imagining the nation after a disaster, where the participants can listen to and interact with some of the country’s leading intellectuals and artists.

Performances will follow soon after the devising workshop. In short, the output of the devising workshop willbe performed in Iloilo and then travel to two other sites: one in Mindanao (Xavier University in Cagayan de Oro [for confirmation]) and Intramuros in Manila/Luzon.

‘Fragments’ of local shows may be performed with the traveling piece. Each site, therefore, will have a mini convergence of theatre artists in the region, and activities may include workshops and discussions, performance fragments, where ‘smaller versions’ of the devised piece may be brought to identified disaster-affected communities.


Individual theater artists are invited to submit applications to be part of the Devising Workshop. The criteria are the following:

1. He/she is 18 – 35 years old.

2. He/she is recommended by the Artistic Director of his/her theater organization that is part of the regional network.

Three (3) individuals per region or a total of twelve (12) individuals will be chosen by a Selection Committee composed of the NCDA Head, the Artistic Director of Tanghal 9, and the Director of the devising process and performance.

How to Apply

Applicants should submit:
1. a cover letter explaining why he/she wishes to be part of the Tanghal 9 Devising project and what expertise/skill/experience he/she is bringing to the devising work;
2. his/her Artistic Director’s recommendation letter; and
3. a brief CV with a specific section on his/her theater experience, training, and other artistic accomplishments.

Applications should be submitted by email to the Artistic Director, Mr. Melvin Lee: melvinleenow@gmail.com. The deadline for applications is on August 15, 2015. Successful applicants will be notified by August 30.


Entries are invited for the Regional Convergence component which will be shown when the Tanghal 9 ‘national’ devised piece would be performed in the region.

1. The piece must be a restaging of an original work shown within the previous year (pieces shown in the 2014 Ginhawa Caravan are not acceptable).

2. The piece expresses the theme/s of the festival and showcases theater practices/forms existing or emergent in the region.

3. The duration of the work is 10 minutes.

For inquiries, interested groups should contact the regional host or write the Project Manager, Mr. Eric Divinagracia:ericdivine8@gmail.com, but the application should be mailed to: The Tanghal 2015 Festival Committee, c/o the Arts Division, National Commission for Culture and the Arts, 633 General Luna Street, Intramuros 1002 Manila | Tel. 527-2192 to 98 / Fax 527-2191 & 94

The complete application packet for the regional convergence performances should include:  1) Synopsis and copy of script, 2) Artistic concept and Outline/Scene Breakdown, 3) Technical needs, 4) List of participants: Cast and Staff, 5) Group profile and history, 6) Video clip of the work (on CD/DVD properly labeled), and 7)Record of previous shows (of the entry).

Funding and Other Support

Airfare and other travel and accommodation expenses as well as food provisions for twelve (10) cast and three (3) staff will be shouldered by the Festival Committee.

Participants in the Regional Convergence will be given a small grant of 5,000 PHP. Food, transportation, and accommodation expenses (if any) shall be shouldered by the participating group.

Important Dates

Submission of Applications    — August 15, 2015
Screening      — August 15 -30, 2015
Notification (Devising participants)   — August 30, 2015
Release of Final Festival Line-up of Performances — September 15, 2015
(Regional Convergence)
Preparation/Coordination/Set-up per Site  — July – September 2015
Colloquium and start of devising process  — October 8, 2015
Devising Workshop     — October 9 – 18, 2015
Performances/Tour     — October 19 – 26, 2015
Run:  Iloilo — October 19, 2015  Mindanao — October 21, 2015  Luzon — October 24, 2015
Participation in October culture and arts festival– October 24 – 26, 2015 (NCCA-wide, Intramuros)
Departure/return trip   — October 27, 2015
Post festival assessments and reporting   — November 2015