Displaced theater artists turn to online selling amid the pandemic

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 5) — Filipino theater practitioners who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic resorted to selling food and other products on Facebook to put food on the table, a group said on Saturday.

The products are available on the "Pinoy Theater Cooperative" Facebook group, the Philippine Educational Theater Association or PETA said in an interview with CNN Philippines. 

The Pinoy Theater Cooperative was formed in May, in the midst of the strictest quarantine restrictions, which led to the mass cancellation of events, including theater productions. The lockdown affected thousands of people who rely on live performances, PETA artistic director Maribel Legarda told Newsroom Weekend.

“Most of us are freelancers so wala naman 'yung (there is no job) security. You don't belong to a company, wala kang (you don’t have) insurance that will back you up. So, people have really been scrambling to find a way to survive this,” Legarda added.

But Legarda noted that theater groups, including PETA, are still keeping their industry alive online, holding virtual workshops, doing storytelling sessions, and producing online shows.

“We really try to pivot into this digital platform para makapag-survive. (to survive),” she said.

Legarda said PETA launched in September its first-ever online arts festival, which features short and full-length plays, including their hit musical Care Divas, as well as the voter’s education musical Juan Tamad. The festival will run until Sunday, Dec. 6.

She added that prospective viewers could buy their tickets at ktx.ph to watch the shows.