In 2007, a video of 1,500 inmates in a Philippines prison dancing to Michael Jackson’s Thriller was posted to YouTube and quickly became one of the first viral videos. The “Dancing Inmates of Cebu” are the inspiration behind an ambitious new musical by Filipino-Canadian creators Romeo Candido and Carmen De Jesus.
Over the past several years, Romeo and Carmen have painted a fictional portrait of the people behind this phenomenon through Prison Dancer, an award-winning transmedia project that includes an interactive web series, a performative cinematic experience, and a cast recording. They are now revisiting Prison Dancer, a musical that will expand this storytelling with an even deeper exploration of these complex characters and their experiences.
The Citadel Theatre is one of the largest not-for profit theatres in North America, drawing patrons from a large geographic region that includes the greater Edmonton area as well as central and northern Alberta. In addition to presenting a full season of professional theatre, Citadel Theatre runs several training programs (including one of the most comprehensive programs for creative development in professional theatre), hosts three resident theatre companies, develops new work, and provides rental spaces for numerous arts organizations and community groups.
The National Creation Fund’s investment of $135,000 will provide the additional time required to develop a large-scale musical, including workshops to revisit the original music and text, and the integration of designers and design concepts earlier in the development process. It will also allow the creators to more fully develop the work as both a stage production and a digital piece.
Developed with support from the National Arts Centre’s National Creation Fund.
Premiering in Edmonton in 2021-2022.