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Carlos Bulosan Theatre

Community-based professional theatre company, located in Toronto Ontario. CBT was founded in 1982 (under the name, Carlos Bulosan Cultural Workshop) as a cultural wing of CAMD, the North America-wide Coalition Against the Marcos Dictatorship. Founders Martha Ocampo and Fely Villasin functioned as de facto producer and artistic director.

The company is named after Carlos Bulosan, an impoverished young Filipino immigrant to the United States in the 1930s, who faced systemic racism, and educated himself while unemployed and in hospital with TB. He wrote about his life and times in an autobiographical novel, America is in the Heart (1943), helped to organize unions, and fought for equality in a racist society until his death in 1956.

CBTs mandate is to reflect on social issues affecting the Filipino and broader community. It is also committed to creating work that is innovative and reflective of a young generation of Filipino-Canadian artists. CBT seeks to encourage and develop Filipino-Canadian writers, performers, and other artists within the community.

Productions include: Carding (1984, 1986) a play about a Filipino immigrant in Canada; If My Mother Could See Me Now/Inay Kung Alam Mo Lang (1989,1990) about domestic workers; Ten Fingers/Sampung Mga Daliri (1991), a historical interplay of characters depicting the Philippines past and present; Carlos Bulosan: A Trilogy (1992) about the life and works of Carlos Bulosan; Home Sweet Home (1993-1994) about violence against women in the Filipino-Canadian community; Noong Kapanahunan KoNot On My Time (1994) a play about the generation gap; No Boundaries (1995) about how economic changes have affected the lives of Filipino-Canadians; Walang Sugat/Undefeated (1996, 1998) a sarswela (musical production) set in late 1896 when Filipinos took arms against Spanish rule; Images of 1896 (1997) a sarswela about the resistance to Spanish colonial rule; Miss Orient(ed) (2003) by Nina Lee Aquino and Nadine Villasin, which examines the politics of cultural identity through the eyes of three young beauty pageant contestants; and People Power (2008), a collective creation set against the backdrop of the 1986 Philippine People Power Revolution that ultimately toppled the violent and corrupt Marcos dictatorship.

In addition to staging major productions, CBT conducts and facilitates educational series on Philippine history, as well as workshops on various social issues such as racism, violence against women, cultural and generational gaps.

The second artistic director, Nadine Villasin, was responsible for transitioning the company from a community-based theatre group to a community-based professional theatre company. The current artistic director is Leon Aureus.

Website: www.carlosbulosan.com

Last updated 2020-02-27