This theater has space. Tons of it. That’s what Christopher Mohnani said yesterday about the Samsung Performing Arts Theater in Circuit Makati which finally opens this July 14. Mohnani is the managing director of the ten-level, state-of-the-art facility—touted to be the realization of Ayala Land Inc.’s vision of providing a home to world-class Filipino talent.
First off, the theater has five levels of lobbies—that’s a lot of space to mingle and socialize in before a show or during intermissions. But the main draw, of course, is the auditorium which has a seating capacity of 1,500 and was made precisely to serve the needs of cultural events, musicals, concerts and plays.
Mohnani—who was a soloist and principal dancer with Ballet Manila, Krasnoyarsk State Opera and Ballet Theater of Russia, and was a principal dancer with Nashville Ballet, one of top 10 ballet companies in the US—refers to the venue as a “performing artist’s dream.” It has a rehearsal hall which is the same size as the stage. It has comfortable dressing rooms and the backstage can accommodate about 90 mirrors.
The auditorium is also equipped with impressive acoustics, making the performances of Soprano singer Lara Maigue and musicians from the Manila Symphony Orchestra during the theater’s press preview Tuesday all the more captivating.
Mohnani tells ANCX that the Almario sisters Cynthia and Ivy, who took care of the theater’s interior design, kept the look really contemporary but very Filipino. “You'll notice a lot of mahogany colors. And also it’s very muted because the idea is that the only pop of color would be Jaime’s [Zobel de Ayala] artwork and what you see on stage,” he says. “So even inside the auditorium, there’s a lot of mahogany panels and blue carpet. Even the seats are muted gray so that when the curtain goes up, the lights are the only colors that you see, all the focus will be on the show and the performance.”
Upon entrance to the theater, a seamless sensory display of constellation lights immediately greets visitors. This is designed by Christine Sicangco Lighting Design Inc, a renowned architectural lighting design consultancy firm.
Meanwhile, the theater itself was designed by US-based consultants, Theater Project Solutions, and experts on sound design, Akustics, in partnership with GF and Partners and world-renowned architects from Callison RTKL. Clair Brothers also served as acoustical consultant and provided all of the sound equipment, says Mohnani. Samsung, which shares Ayala Land Inc.’s vision of supporting the arts, served as corporate partner for the project.
Two acclaimed musicals will soon be staged here: “Mula sa Buwan,” the Filipino adaptation of “Cyrano de Bergerac” (August 26 to September 11), and the production based on the band Queen’s discography, “We Will Rock You” (October).
[Photos by Ed Simon]