Monique Wilson stresses importance of gov't support for theater industry amid COVID-19 crisis


Posted at Jun 16 2020 02:54 PM

MANILA -- Monique Wilson manages to find a silver lining as the theater industry struggles in the "new normal" brought about by the COVID-19 crisis.

In a webinar organized by iWant and Tanghalang Pilipino on Monday, the actress-activist said the emergence of digital performances amid quarantines make theater more accessible to the masses.


"While, of course, iba pa rin 'yung experience of being in a live theater kasi collective energy 'yung nangyayari, you are part of the action on stage... isipin natin 'yung mga nasa ibang provinces or cities, or 'yung iba na 'di nakaka-afford ng theater ticket, this is a time for them to be able to watch," she said. 

"I'm happy about that kasi theater should be shared in the widest platform talaga kung kakayanin, without losing 'yung magic ng experience of being live... It makes me very excited na may mga kababayan tayo all over the country and other parts of the world who can access theater. So malaking bagay 'yun."

Wilson was referring to the recently launched Pantawid ng Tanghalan campaign of Tanghalang Pilipino where six of its shows are streamed on iWant until July 12.

The project aims to raise funds for members of the theater community whose livelihoods have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.


Despite her optimism, Wilson stressed the importance of the government's support for the theater community, and the arts industry as a whole, amid the pandemic.

"Hirap na hirap ang mga theater companies, kahit full house 'yan. Because siyempre we want to keep the ticket prices affordable sa general public and at the same time we want to pay our actors and production people a liveable wage. Mahal mag-produce ng isang show," she said.

She went on: "So kung wala rin tayong suporta from the government, mahirap siyang i-sustain alone. And I think it's calling on a certain consciousness, na dapat magising ang government sa kung anong nako-contribute ng arts sa isang society. We are the soul of a nation." 

With theater companies expected to cut their audience capacity by half in the "new normal," Wilson said financial assistance from the government is need to keep the industry afloat.

"Kung mabubuhay ulit ang theater dito at we have to do social distancing, we cannot fill it to 100% maximum, let's say for the first year or two. Kailangang may ibang financial support na papasok in order for us to do that. So dapat ipaglaban natin 'yun as artist-practitioners dito," she said.