Fernando Josef, TP artistic director, confirmed the news and said Ms. Estrella started in her new job March 1. She continues to teach at UP, but will now devote a large part of her time assisting Mr. Josef in managing the artistic and administrative requirements of Tanghalang Pilipino, CCP's resident theater company.
Mr. Josef said it was his idea to get Ms. Estrella onboard. “I need somebody who's more systematic than me--and you can quote me on that,” he said, chuckling. “People who know me, they know I'm more inclined towards the artistic aspects, so I need someone to put order on what I do.”
As associate artistic director, Ms. Estrella will assist in the company's season programming, monitor the quality of productions, and ensure the training of the TP Actors' Company. Her functions as executive director, on the other hand, involve administrative, financial and daily operations. Mr. Josef says Ms. Estrella and TP have agreed on a “testing period” of one year for the new arrangement.
“I'd like her to come up with a better system for our operations,” he said. “She can help us with clearer processes and procedures--for instance, we've had no manual of operations ever since, but I'd like one that would cover the entire process of putting up a production, from choosing the material, to auditioning the actors, to running the show and doing a post-mortem.”
Ms. Estrella, who has directed a number of TP productions (Troyanas and Ang Pokpok ng Ohio in 2005, Orfeo sa Impiyerno in 2006, Three Sisters: A Noh Play for the Virgin Labfest in 2007) will not direct any play in the current season, but Mr. Josef said she has expressed interest in developing a mobile theater piece for children that might be mounted in December 2009, as well as a special production featuring the TP Actors' Company.
An associate professor at the Department of Speech Communication and Theater Arts in UP Diliman, Ms. Estrella holds an MFA in Directing from Columbia University, New York City, through a Fullbright scholarship.
PLUS: Reviews of Ms. Estrella's directorial works--mine for Ang Pokpok ng Ohio (Hanoch Levin's The Whore From Ohio) here, Orfeo sa Impiyerno (Tennessee William's Orpheus Descending) here, Yoji Sakate's Three Sisters: A Noh Play here. Exie Abola's here, for Dulaang UP's 2007 production of Shakespeare's As You Like It.