July 04, 2017

July 4, 2017

THEATER actor, television and film director Arsenio “Nick” J. Lizaso is the new president of the Cultural Center of the Philippines.  He was officially elected by the CCP Board of Trustees on June 13, 2017.  Lizaso has been with the CCP as member of the Board of Trustees since 2010.

Steeped in Western and Filipino literary classics, Nick Lizaso joined the Filipino film industry with a formidable background as a theater actor and director.  He was a recipient of the British Council Grant Attachment with the Nottingham Playhouse and the Royal Shakespeare Company (London and Stratford-on Avon), as well as a Fullbright-Hayes Travel Grant to the U.S. on theater arts, film and television.  A leading figure in the Directors Guild of the Philippines, he was President of the Guild from 1983 to 1985.

Born in Santa Maria, Bulacan, hometown of the King of Balagtasan Jose Corazon de Jesus, his maternal grandfather, Nick has played and continues to “play many parts”, using Shakespearean language, not only as an actor on stage and TV, but as an active educator and advocate of community engagement in the arts. His expertise in theater has been honed at the Nottingham Playhouse and the Royal Shakespeare Company (London and Stratford-on Avon) and as a Fullbright-Hayes scholarship grantee in the U.S. He is a recipient of several awards including Dangal ng Lipi Award in the field of Theater Arts (1999) from the City of Manila, Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Arts (1995), Patnubay ng Sining at Kalinangan (1995) from his hometown Sta. Maria, Bulacan.

In 2009, he was the only Asian to be invited as a member of the jury in the 6th International Student Theater Festival held in Belarus, where he also conducted a workshop on Voice for Performance.  He has received similar invitations for him to read papers in other international theater congresses.

In July 2011, Nick almost single-handedly organized the 1st Philippine International University Theater Association Festival / Conference / Workshops, a 5-day international event wherein 24 foreign theater experts and educators conducted workshops and gave lectures at Miriam College in Quezon City, attended by around 150 teachers and students.

In recent years, he has also represented the Philippines in international theater events as a member of the Executive Committee of the International University Theater Association or IUTA, a unique forum where teachers, practitioners, creators, scholars and theorists from over 1,000 universities and colleges based in 50 member countries share discoveries and discuss common concerns in the field of theater and performing arts. He is also a Vice-President of the Theater Education and Training Committee of the International Theater Institute-UNESCO.

In July of 2012, he helped bring Tanghalang Ateneo’s “Sintang Dalisay” to Minsk Belarus where it copped second place, besting other plays from countries with long theater tradition such as Italy, China, France, and others. The said play went on to win the local Awit Awards for best stage production in 2012.

Lizaso’s participation in international congresses and workshops affords him the opportunity “to share with others the unique perspective of the Asian, specifically Filipino creative artists involved in theater and the performing arts.” Like a silent unseen stage hand, Nick is doing his share of keeping Philippine theater alive by connecting it with other theaters of other countries, hoping to infuse it with fresh insights, new blood, new trends.

Nick’s other personal advocacy is teacher empowerment, organizing workshops focused on teacher development, infusing theater techniques to teaching to bring life to the classroom. He has conducted workshops in such places as Tagum City in Davao, Puerto Princesa City, Legaspi City. His most recent teacher development workshop was held for 5 days in November 2015 at the Rizal Memorial Colleges in Davao City.

In addition to the different outreach performances that the Philippine Philharmonic Orchestra has done over the years, Lizaso has supported the performances of the PPO in a cross section of Philippine society from medical institutions to the Greenhills business area.

Aside from community engagement activities, Lizaso also organized a free seminar about Mabini, entitled “The Last Filipino” at Club Filipino in Greenhills.