The Mekong Performing Arts Laboratory ’07

MekongPhoto Sharing and Video Hosting at PhotobucketExplore the potency of the arts for social advocacy…

Create, share new bodies of work…

 The Philippine Educational Theater Association and Phare Ponleu Selpak, and with the support of the Rockefeller Foundation, present The Mekong Performing Arts Lab 2007, a three-week intensive training course using theater and performing arts for advocacy on gender, sexuality and HIV/AIDS designed for the performing artists of the Greater Mekong Sub-Region.

This year, the Festival happens November 25 to December 16, 2007 at Battambang, Cambodia.

Event happenings…

November 25, 4pm – Opening Parade & Celebration of Loy Pratip (International Day Against Violence Against Women) at the Veal Preah Meruh Park, Phnom Penh

December 14, 7pm – Performance Recital at the Phare Ponleu Selpak, Battambang (Anh Chanh Village, O Cha Commune)

BACKGROUND

The Greater Mekong Sub-Region remains the epicenter of HIV/AIDS in Asia since the plague was well established across the region in the late 1990s.  It has an estimate of over 2 million people living with the virus, with a 15% increase of infection in 2004-2006.  With this scourge, approximately 29% of infected individuals within the region are adult women, excluding the many cases that have been discovered among the young ones.  Despite the virus’ different stages and dynamics of development, significant increases in proportion of infection among women have become a common thread throughout the region.  Women are contracting the virus at a faster rate than men.  Gender and sexuality constructs contribute significantly to this vulnerablity of women to HIV/AIDS.  Inequality in gender manifests in culture-specific sexual norms and behaviors that translate into gender-power dynamics in sexual relationships.  Such complexities require a multi-disciplinary approach.  These must be fought in all arenas of battle, including the artistic spaces of the Mekong Sub-Region’s creative communities.

 Vibrant and diverse, the creative arts communities in the Greater Mekong Sub-Region have spanned centuries of exchange across countries and cultures.  This, in effect, gave birth to a great diversity of artistic expressions and performing arts traditions, uniquely woven into the very fabric of each culture.

The arts community has always played an important role in epitomizing Mekong societies and serving as catalysts of change.  Many have used arts as an alternative to people’s education and development in the face of the various threats to human security such as HIV/AIDS.

Within this milieu, PETA organizes the 3rd Mekong Performing Arts Laboratory.  PETA, through its Mekong Partnership Project, commits itself to providing avenues for the arts communities in the sub-region to gather together, hone skills, share and create new bodies of work while exploring the potency of the arts for acvocacy on gender, sexuality and HIV/AIDS.

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