PalabasTayo reached out to the people behind OPEN HOUSE, to know more about the online fundraising project for the benefit of the performing arts community.

PalabasTayo: How did OPEN HOUSE start? What inspired it?

Toff De Venecia (Philstage Vice President and Managing Artistic Director of The Sandbox Collective): Open House is an online fundraising initiative in support of displaced workers in the performing arts industry. It’s the brainchild of Artists Welfare Project (AWPI), Third World Improv, SPIT, Philstage, and Theater Actors Guild (TAG), in partnership with Ticket2Me. We looked towards the rest of the creative community for inspiration and applaud their efforts. But we thought somebody needed to take care of our workers as well, especially since most derive their livelihood from shows and events – all of which have been canceled during this period of enhanced community quarantine.

Dingdong Rosales (Senior Member of SPIT): Ticket2Me approached us (SPIT) and asked us if we wanted to do a fundraiser. So sad naman kung tayo-tayo lang (so) I decided to contact Theater Actors Guild and Philstage. Apparently nagusap-usap na rin pala ang Philstage so pinagsama-sama na lang lahat ng efforts para one time, big time na lang yung pangyayari.

Jenny Jamora (Co-chair of Theater Actors Guild): Ticket2Me offered to handle the collection of cash donations, etc. SPIT approached TAG & Philstage to be able to mobilize the theater community and join in the effort. We would all provide content and the platform. AWPI was also brought in to bring in the other artists who do live events and lost jobs — from dancers to writers to backstage workers etc. AWPI also has a great track record of helping artists get basic needs like healthcare, SSS, Pag-ibig.

PalabasTayo: What will be the format? How different is this from Bayanihan Musikahan?

Toff: Mr. C’s Bayanihan Musikhan was an inspiration for the group and we very much laud their efforts and the funds they’ve raised to support our medical frontliners. This is an expansion of that idea to cover the other sectors within the performing arts and to encourage multi-sectoral collaborations.

Dingdong: Each group will do its own shows but under the same umbrella. This will be by theater people, not just musicians. We will avoid online concerts. Mas dramatic reading, improv shows, theater, and dance.

Jenny: We will offer online courses and online performances, live-streamed (especially for full-length plays we have to figure out how to keep theater aesthetics while challenged by varying wifi speeds, locations, and environmental factors).

PalabasTayo: Why are there tickets involved?

Toff: The tickets are basically suggested amounts for the donation. We encourage viewers to purchase tickets generously in support of our beneficiaries. Otherwise, the programs may be viewed for free.

Jenny: When people donate, they will receive a “ticket” as proof of donation. But all our events are free of charge. Getting a “ticket” just gives that feel of seeing a show.

Who are entitled to get the financial assistance and how do they avail?

Jenny: Beneficiaries are theater production people who lost projects due to the community quarantine — freelancers who don’t report to any company. This can range from Dressers to Freelance SMs, Lighting technicians, Stage hands, etc.

Toff: Our funds will benefit the Artists Welfare Project which has a database of workers in the performing arts industry. We’re taking inspiration from the Film Development Council of the Philipines’ criteria for operationalizing its DEAR program so that financial assistance can be extended to the most vulnerable among us, and especially to those who were displaced as a result of CoVid-19.

Dingdong: The Artists Welfare Project has a database of more than 3,000 members.

PalabasTayo: What’s the schedule?

Jenny: Open House lineup, Week 1:

  • March 26 8pm-10pm: SPIT presents Co-Video 2: Chismis for the Week
  • March 27 4pm – 430pm: Ballet Barre Class w/ Lisa Macuja Elizadle
  • March 29 8pm – 9:30pm: Third World Improv PowerPoint ParTWI
  • March 30 3pm – 4pm: “Asian Movement For You” w/ PETA’s Jack Yabut (covering various martial arts and other movement vocabulary for conditioning of an actor or any person)
  • March 31 3pm – 4pm: Song Interpretation w/ Audie Gemora
  • April 1 3pm – 330pm: Audition Workshop w/ Rony Fortich
Open House will raise funds for the benefit of the performing arts industry

PalabasTayo: Do you have to buy a ticket to access the online shows? Or is it still open to all?

Toff: These programs may be viewed in each artist’s individual page as well as the FB page of Open House. Donation opportunities may be undertaken anytime. Just click on the Ticket2Me link: It’s open to all but everyone is encouraged to donate by purchasing tickets from Ticket2Me.

For more information, you may contact the SPIT, TAG, Philstage, or AWPI, or reach out to Open House Fund Raiser’s Social Media accounts (see poster).

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