CCP Leaps into the Future with the New Black Box Theater

MANILA, Philippines—Marking its 53rd year last September, on the heels of its return to live events from the two-year pandemic, the Cultural Center of the Philippines opened the doors of the new Tanghalang Ignacio Gimenez (CCP Black Box) with an inaugural show featuring excerpts of the first performance season.

Slated at the new venue are the CCP Special Concert Series, Tanghalang Pilipino’s “Anak Datu”, CCP Triple Threats Series, “Ang Dakilang Teatro ng Daigdig”, “Carousel” and Ternocon.

Coming 30 years after the last building was erected in the complex, the new state-of-the-art and world-class performing arts space represents CCP’s leap into the future, keeping it relevant with the times.

Images courtesy of Cultural Center of the Philippines

At the inauguration, the new building was blessed in Christian and Muslim rites, with its logo unveiled. The logo, according to B + C, the company behind its design, extracted its shape and colors from Philippine indigenous weaves.  “It represents the bold new works that will take place at the venue—progressive, experimental, fluid, contemporary.  In effect, ‘out of the box’.”

The new building takes its name from the businessman whose generosity made it possible and from the theater term that refers to a performance space, bound by four walls, but offering both flexibility and versatility, with seats, and painted black.

Images courtesy of Cultural Center of the Philippines

Businessman Ignacio Gimenez, once a scholar of National Artist for Theater Wilfrido Ma. Guerrero, donated the building to CCP to honor his mentor as his way of giving back to the Filipino people, and to encourage local business community leaders to engage more in Philippine theater.  Together with his brother Roberto Olanday, the funding for the construction of the Tanghalang Ignacio Gimenez was made possible.

The building took three years to finish with the support and administrative assistance of the Leandro V. Locsin Partners.  The groundbreaking ceremony was held in January 2016 and construction of the building commenced in 2017.

In 2019, delegates to the Association of Asia Pacific Performing Arts Centres’ Manila Conference hosted by the CCP went on a Hard Hat tour to get a glimpse of this modern theater then still in the making.

Located on the corner of Jalandoni and Sotto Streets, the Tanghalang Ignacio Gimenez (CCP Black Box) is a three-level structure with a flexible theater expanse that can be adjusted to artistic and technical needs of live productions of concerts, recitals, plays, and other live events, such as arts conventions, workshops, and exhibitions.

Images courtesy of Cultural Center of the Philippines

Tanghalang Ignacio Gimenez (CCP Black Box) boasts of at least four flexible stage and seating configurations, a removable trap door, a portable dance floor, and a high-end sound and light technology system.  Its catwalk offers provisions to accommodate lighting, sound, video equipment, and additional drapery.  It also has various orchestra and choral risers, as well as aluminum trusses, which can be used for rigging stage sets and designs.  The loading dock can accommodate a 20-foot container truck.  A carpentry area with a high ceiling can accommodate tall scenic pieces.  An acoustically treated door separates the Carpentry Area from the Performance space.

The new building is compliant with the Magna Carta for the Disabled.  It is equipped with high-speed data/internet or ethernet connection that can be used to enhance audience experiences.

The inauguration of the Tanghalang Ignacio Gimenez is a welcome development to the Center as the CCP Main Building will be closed for rehabilitation from 2023-2024.

Images courtesy of Cultural Center of the Philippines

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