Did You Hear Gina’s Not Really a Teacher?

Pssst! Did you hear Gina’s not really a teacher? She actually went into theatre, and now she’s killing it as an artistic director! Listen to find out how it all started!

Pssst! Did you hear Gina’s not really a teacher? She actually went into theatre, and now she’s killing it as an artistic director! Listen to find out how it all started!

This is What’s the Tsismis, a podcast on Pilipinx identity in the diaspora. Tsismis is the Tagalog word for gossip. Each week we’ll release a new episode that dives into a new topic, so be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss next week’s tsismis!

Today’s episode host is me, Ryan Lacanilao. And the idea for this episode started with singing in the shower. The other day I was singing in the shower, and I thought of all the talented Filipinos out there: if you find a random Filipino on the street, there’s a good chance they can sing better than the average person. And they can probably dance, perform, play instruments, draw, or paint better than the average person too. So you would expect to see a lot of Filipinos in the professional arts community. But that’s not really the case. We Filipinos love the arts, we just tend to not do it for a living. To help me understand why this is, I needed to talk to a Filipino with a career in the arts here in Edmonton, so I gave Gina Puntil a call.

Gina is the artistic director and program coordinator at the Alberta Workers’ Health Centres Workplace School Program, where they take professionally sculpted plays into junior highs and high schools to empower young workers through education and knowledge of their rights. She’s a Pinay boss—a badass Filipina decision maker in the professional arts community. I wanted to collect her story to get an insider’s perspective on why we don’t see more Filipinos in the professional arts community.

Listen in as Gina tells me about her journey. She starts by telling me about what she wanted to be when she was a kid. She tells me about why she chose to pursue a career in the arts.

How did her parents react to her decision to go into theatre? And what’s this about her being a teacher? Listen to find out!I ask Gina if it’s true, from an insider’s perspective, that there aren’t as many Filipinos as we’d expect in the professional arts community. She tells me about what it was like being a kid wanting to pursue a career in the arts. She tells me about what it was like being an adult working in the theatre community, and how it can be difficult to prioritize your heritage and your identity.Did Gina end up deciding to embrace her heritage in her theatre work? Listen to find out!

Gina has developed a number of Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) productions during her time at the Alberta Workers’ Health Centre, including the following:
Working it out by Beth Graham
THAT’S DANGER! By Dave Clark
SAFE & FAIR: SCENE AT WORK by Jane Heather