Jul 17, 2024

Established in 1982, the Carlos Bulosan Theatre is based in Toronto.

Since its establishment in 1982, the Carlos Bulosan Theatre (CBT) has presented works that reflect the issues of Canadian Filipinos.

 For 35 years, the independent Toronto-based theatre company has also provided a platform for emerging Canadian Filipino artists and writers.

CBT is now compiling its theatre material into an anthology to celebrate the community’s artistic achievements.

The book project was launched on December 2, 2017 at the Tarragon Theatre in Toronto.

CBT artistic producer Leon Aureus talked about the significance of the upcoming anthology in his opening address: “Within these pages are our aspirations and dreams, meaningful and authentic stories, sometimes a reflection of the worst of us, but more often a shining inspiration, a commemoration of the best of us – who we are and who we can be, as individuals and as a community.”

A fundraising campaign with a target of $10,000 has been launched to support the anthology project.

According to CBT’s gofundme page, the anthology “documents Filipino-Canadian theatre material in a library and research-ready resource”.

“The work featured in this Anthology are all written by CBT’s artists, both current and alumni and were workshopped or mounted throughout the company’s tenure,” the CBT states.

The anthology is expected to be published either in late 2018 or early next year.

According to the theatre company, there are four reasons to support the anthology project.

One is about the “representation” of the community. “Filipinos are one of Canada's fastest growing cultural groups, the third-largest Asian Canadian group in the nation. Canadians need to have a resource that will serve as a reflection and celebration of the Filipino-Canadian community's rich history in and contributions to not only Toronto but to the country as well.”

The second is about Canadian Filipino artists: “Filipino-Canadian artists and storytellers will see themselves reflected in the work they access in libraries and schools. They need this to be able to stand on the shoulders of artists who have already blazed trails and cleared paths. You want to be part of the celebration of voices and stories of Filipino-Canadians, past, present, and future.”

The third is diversity. “This collection of all-original work will add to a growing Philippine and Canadian theatre anthology, celebrating diverse stories and voices that work within the mosaic of the multi-cultural country that is Canada.”

The fourth is support for independent companies: “Carlos Bulosan Theatre is a diverse, local and independent theatre company, one that continues to serve and advocate for the Filipino-Canadian community despite limited financial opportunity and resource. Help a small company make great leaps!”

The theatre was founded in 1982 by the late Fely Villasin, and activists Martha Ocampo, Voltaire de Leon, Ging Hernandez, and Bernie Consul. It started as the Carlos Bulosan Cultural Workshop.

Carlos Bulosan was a Philippine-born writer, who came to the U.S. during the 1930s as a migrant worker. He gained recognition in America with Laughter of my Father, a collection of stories that was published in 1944.

Bulosan is best known for America is in the Heart, a semi-autobiographical novel published in 1946, which depicts the Filipino immigrant experience in the U.S.

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