The newly renovated Aliw Theater is back

Pasay City’s iconic arts theater reopens after burning in 2019 Star City fire

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

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

“We have reopened [Aliw Theater] yesterday during a simple inauguration ceremony; walking tour and short performance of three excerpts from my 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 rooms 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 new spaces were added to the complex. It previously had a seating capacity of 2,358.

For events requiring the presence of an orchestra, 200 additional places will have to be given up to make room for the orchestra.

In addition to the multi-purpose areas, the theater also features vastly improved sound and lighting systems, a large curved LED screen and carpeted floors.

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

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

La Traviata, the dance company‘s last show before the COVID-19 lockdown, is due to be reenacted in October. Meanwhile, Cinderella 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 performances and different live performances. It is also dubbed the “home” of Ballet Manila, where Lisa currently serves as Artistic Director and General Manager.

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

Juno Reyes is a Rappler trainee.

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