Philippine arts

LOOK: Newly-renovated Aliw Theater is back
LOOK: Newly-renovated Aliw Theater is back

Aliw Theater's Instagram page

The iconic arts theater in Pasay City reopens after it burned down during the 2019 Star City fire

MANILA, Philippines – Pasay City’s iconic Aliw Theater is back from the ashes! The historical complex held its grand reopening on Wednesday, August 10, nearly three years after a large fire broke out in the Star City complex. 

Prima ballerina Lisa Macuja-Elizalde shared photos of her and her husband, Fred Elizalde, at the theater’s ribbon-cutting ceremony. Fred gifted the theater to Lisa in 2002. 

“We re-opened [Aliw Theater] yesterday in a simple ribbon cutting ceremony; walking tour and short performance of three excerpts from my La Traviata and Cinderella and Martin [Lawrence’s] Romeo and Juliet,” Lisa wrote. 

The theater is now part of the new Elizalde Complex, which also contains various multipurpose halls that can be used to hold different events. Additionally, two new flexible custom spaces have been added near the theater. 

The theater can only accommodate up to 1,275 guests at a time after adding new spaces to the complex. It previously had a seating capacity of 2,358 people. 

For events that require the presence of an orchestra, an extra 200 seats will have to be given up to make room for the band. 

Other than the multipurpose areas, the theater also boasts vastly improved sound and light systems, a large curved LED screen, and carpeted floors. 

Lisa also made sure to express her excitement about the Aliw Theater’s reopening, likening the comeback to rising like a phoenix. Parts of the Aliw Theater burned down on October 2, 2019, just a day before the now-57-year-old dancer’s 55th birthday. 

According to The Philippine Star, the iconic theater is already slated for various ballet performances by Ballet Manila this year. 

La Traviata, the dance company’s last show before the COVID-19 lockdown, is up for restaging in October. Meanwhile, Cinderella is set to open on Christmas day for the Holiday Dance Series. 

Since its launch in 2002, the theater has been used as a venue for concerts, theater shows, and different live performances. It is also dubbed as the “home” of Ballet Manila, where Lisa currently serves as Artistic Director and Chief Executive Officer. 

Neighboring theme park Star City, which was also ravaged by the 2019 fire, recently reopened to the public in March. – with reports from Juno Reyes/

Juno Reyes is a Rappler intern.

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