Teatru Malta cannot be the alpha and omega of theatre in Malta all by itself. There’s a whole sector of companies, educational, amateur and professional entities that we could work with. That’s why we started out with countless collaborations: we listened, we talked, we argued, we discussed. We proposed some projects ourselves, we created projects together, we listened to the artists and programmed what they created. This is quite a melting pot of different flavours, but they all go well together, like a serving of good old Maltese balbuljata, enhanced with new and unexpected flavours.
That’s why we can now speak of collaborations with over 30 entities, we can speak about a budget that’s more than double that stipulated by the government budget, we can now speak of 20 international collaborations and of several exciting projects. I believe that the future is in co-productions - and that’s why we have a lot of them. We’re putting up work on beaches, theatres, band clubs, sports centres, spaces in sub-urban areas and many other interesting spaces. We’re interacting with band clubs, with passion play enthusiasts, with għana singers, with bird trappers, with contemporary artists, with conservative artists.
Teatru Malta is making shows for everyone; people of all sorts of ages and from all walks of life, in theatres and outside them, in streets, schools, piazzas and band clubs. The very first show? Il-Qarċilla, l-Għarusa Karfusa which will tour Malta and Gozo’s streets during the colourful Carnival season; the very first Qarċilla written by a woman since its inception in 1760! Teatru Malta will then take you straight to the stage of a world-renowned Commedia dell’Arte master, in Il-Klassi tas-Surmast: Claudia Contin Arlecchino where a masterclass workshop and performance will ensue in honour of UNESCO’s World Day for Commedia dell’Arte.
If you prefer a good old boxing match between rivals, then Raymond 'Fight' Beck is exactly the show for you this March. Did you say something? Well so did the Għannejja many moons ago in Ilħna Mitlufa. From the most maddening depths of Pinter’s Hothouse, to the revival of Francis Ebejer’s Boulevard; operettas for feast enthusiasts in Il-Madonna Tiegħi aħjar minn Tiegħek, to touring operas for children with the coolest cats in town in Il-Qtates ta’ max-Xatt; a Game with a British writer and a Unifaun at the National Stadium after a World Cup match, to the recollections of bird songs from the son of a bird trapper’s childhood in Nassaba - Song of a Bird and Christmas Pantomimes in the Dark. Get to know more by following us around.
We are also always ready to listen and I would like to pass on this message to artists and creators of theatre: come see us, talk to us, complain, propose, criticise, praise - but do come. Teatru Malta wouldn’t be worthy of its name unless you come. We might have a range of productions and a different approach to each, but the aim remains the same – to be a National Theatre. To me, 'national' doesn’t mean that there is only one audience, like some ideal audience, one with the same tastes, or that one audience is better than another because it’s bigger – there are several audiences, and we must seek them out and leave our mark on them. There are those who reminisce of the teatrin in their village, those who like theatre that provokes reflection, uneasiness and protest. There are those who like theatre which makes you laugh and forget, and those who love the sort of theatre which is not obvious, almost absurd or abstract, those who like it in Maltese, in English, non-verbal, classic but fresh, and many others of course, since it’s not possible to mention them all here.
I hope that with this first programme, audiences will start to increase and that more and more people will fall madly in love with theatre, because life should be enjoyed even through extraordinary moments of imagination that we share between us in the theatre. However, despite all this planning, we must stay flexible and urgent to be truly relevant – that’s why you should always keep updated - because we will vary, change and keep coming up with things. Stay with us.
In the meantime, check out our website - www.teatrumalta.org.mt - which is available in Maltese and in English and tells you what we’re up to and how to keep in touch.