Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is CIRCA Pintig?
Pintig which means pulse in Pilipino, was founded in April 1991, with a mission to serve as a voice of the Filipino American community by engaging in active cultural work – using art as a means to celebrate the community’s rich history and culture. CIRCA was a non-profit arts organization that was founded in December 2001 by members of the PINTIG Cultural Group. CIRCA and Pintig merged in 2006 to form CIRCA Pintig, a community theater company. Art serves as a common language that links community members to each other and to those communities with whom similar experiences are shared. In doing so, art empowers the community and renders it a potent force for social change. Pintig believes that a strong voice for the community can be developed through the cultural arts – powerful art with a progressive agenda. We develop plays in which we interpret our own history and experiences, conduct educational and identity workshops for the community, and engage community members to challenge injustice rather than stand silent. CIRCA believes in the power of the arts not only as a means of self-discovery and self-expression, but more importantly, in its strength to collectively reflect the struggle of the immigrant experience in America. CIRCA’s mission is to promote artistic-educational programs for young people which can lead to the development and sustenance of the strong cultural and artistic practices and legacies that bring vibrancy and meaning to immigrant, ethnic communities and the greater society at large.
2. What role do you play in affecting social change
The members of CIRCA Pintig believe that closing the gap between self and others, between humanity and the world, should be a central pre-occupation in a world that has grown small. Long ago we may have been able to avoid each other. Impoverished communities on the far side of the world with “strange” religions could be ignored. But, globalization and the information revolution of the 1990s have drawn many to this “promised land” called America. Immigration has brought people from all walks and cultures and backgrounds closer to us physically. Yet there is an inevitable psychosocial and even economic distance. The distance in terms of human understanding between the immigrants, and local communities and among various immigrant communities as well has had negative effects on society. CIRCA Pintig seeks to close the gaps that divide us.
3. Why are your programs focused on children and teens of immigrant communities?
CIRCA believes that by reaching out and touching the lives of individuals when they are at an impressionable age, when their minds and hearts are still relatively open, we can better understand the problems that they may project towards the society later in life. By positively channeling their energy and ideas early in life, we can affect change and transform society with substantially less effort. CIRCA calls this “working from the inside out”. As we
affect communities, we effect positive changes in society.
4. How can the arts affect real change in the students, the school system or the community?
People can learn much from all art forms. It provides an outlet for self-expression, increases social awareness, develops self respect and self knowledge. It can be a marvelous tool for learning about one’s self, one’s heritage and the heritage of others, the community, society, the nation and this global village of which we are all a part. One of CIRCA Pintig’s goals, through its community arts program, is to help support the development of the intellectual, emotional, and social aspects of the child. Solid character and value formation are the outcomes, as the child becomes aware of, understands and appreciates his heritage and that of others. At the ground level, involvement in these activities, gives an outlet to many immigrant children who otherwise fall through the cracks of the service support systems that are available to them, because they may not be able to see the relevance and the value. From a big picture point of view, the overall impact is a much better social environment.
5. Why is theater CIRCA Pintig's medium of choice?
Through dramatization of an historical event, for example, cultural practices, values, customs, traditions and mores, can come to life, and the interplay among the people involved can be better understood. For children in particular, the theatrical medium can have great influence, as a spectator or participant, because theater is a non-manipulative influence and the spectator or participant is not on his guard. Through this “soft sell” but high impact medium, the child is able to form values and attitudes that he can transfer to real life situations.
6. What do you offer in your school outreach programs?
Among the many noble goals that the school system has for its students is to engage them in learning and developing to their fullest capabilities in order to secure a future for them. The school system desires to balance social skill with academic support and develop the students’ aspirations and talents by motivating them to do well. Ideally, they would like to see students learn to collaborate, communicate and solve problems more effectively, and develop creativity and interpersonal skills, but resources are in short supply and this is where a synergy between CIRCA Pintig and schools can be effective in accomplishing these ideals. CIRCA Pintig works with teachers, parents, children and teens, and with the community as a whole by involving children with the arts. This has an impact not only on the schools but on the community as a whole.
7. What other kind of programs does CIRCA Pintig offer?
CIRCA Pintig has developed a range of activities and projects to meet the needs of immigrant communities in a very relevant way. Every summer, CIRCA Pintig holds its Youth Heritage Program. This program focuses primarily on community youths and is aimed towards deepening their knowledge of, and appreciation for, their own and other communities’ histories and cultures. It consists of historicizing workshops, dramatic exercises and training on ethnic music, dance, literature and visual arts. Workshops are held every Saturday. These workshops culminate in a Theatrical production in the Fall. Each production serves as the creative synthesis of all the artistic-educational processes that the community youths went through. It also provides the opportunity for the youth participants to collaborate with professional local and international artists.