Photo by Darrin Zammit Lupi
Imagine: 2,000 light bulbs over a block of buildings in Republic Street which can all be controlled by you! Festuni – light-bulb festoons that traditionally decorate rooftops and village squares during festa time – will be given a make-over fit for 2016 in an installation by Andrew Schembri, Festa Festun, which will consist of spectacular festuni which can be controlled by the spectators themselves.
At the far end of Valletta, at the majestic Fort St Elmo, designers and creatives will be showcasing their work. Berlin-based activists Urban Action will be holding a four-day workshop that will culminate in a presentation of ideas for a better, more engaging urban environment where we can actively work, live and play.
Flights have been booked for the members of NONOTAK Studio – a collaboration between illustrator Noemi Schipfer and architect musician Takami Nakamoto. The duo work on light and sound installations, creating an ethereal, immersive and dreamlike environment meant to envelope those who visit Piazza D'Armi inside Fort St Elmo.
All of Valletta, from the city's entrance to the tip of the peninsula, will be once again buzzing with activity for this year's Notte Bianca. Preparations are well under way for the largest annual cultural event taking place in the capital city. On Saturday 1st October, Valletta's streets and venues will come alive with a varied programme of innovative arts and entertainment. This will be especially true for the lower part of Valletta. A record number of activities have been planned for these areas. One such activity is a static exhibition of transport vehicles, which will include old Maltese buses restored to their former glory, classic vehicles, and more as part of ISSUQ SAL-BELT.
The community element remains an important part of the event, with the use of spaces such as the Camarata which will host KAMRATA BURLESQUE! - the scathing satire of Ċikku l-Poplu's music along with dance interludes. The Mediterranean Conference Centre will be hosting all-night tango in MILONGA MALTIJA, and also a bizarre magic show as part of MAĠIJA INFERMERIJA. KANVAS KARNIVAL, at St Elmo Granaries, is an interactive project which will give children and families the opportunity to paint on white carnival floats, together with carnival artists while enjoying the carnival atmosphere created by traditional carnival bands and dance troupes.
“Lower Valletta is one of our priorities. It is a magnificent part of Valletta which can be used in many beautiful ways. Last year, the area was buzzing with activity and this year we want it to get better and better. Cultural regeneration and community projects are part of our ethos, and this area gives us these opportunities. Ultimately, lower Valletta will be extremely fun to visit and explore during the festival”, said artistic director Sean Buhagiar.
Notte Bianca will also maintain its more traditional events, including a number of concerts with music ranging from Baroque and Elizabethan to gospel and jazz. One such event is SUR JAZZ, which will see a traditional jazz area with a funky new set-up, where the public can enjoy the music of the Valletta Hot Club led by Pusé.
ŻfinMalta will be clubbing as Pjazza San Ġorġ turns into KUNĊERTUN Rock Concert with a DJ interlude during which dancers from the national dance company will be performing to electronic music. This will happen between performances by top local bands such as The Travellers.
Anniversaries will be part of the celebrations with XI KSUĦAT, commemorating Valletta's 450th anniversary at Pjazza La Vallete, where an artist will be sculpting the capital city's skyline out of ice. SHAKESPEARE 400 at Teatru Manoel will celebrate the Bard's anniversary with a re-telling of the greatest sonnets and stories Shakespeare ever wrote.
The increasingly popular NOTTE BIANCA LIVE will be aired live on TVM from Pjazza Teatru Rjal and will feature some of the best tunes from 40 years of L-Għanja tal-Poplu.
Other activities include ŻIFFAŻFIN, which will showcase a plethora of site-specific street dance, a film event showcasing the winners of the Malta Short Film Festival, a SCIENCE IN THE CITY area with experiments and installations in The Palace Courtyard, and much more. Details for all events can be found on www.nottebianca.org.mt.
Notte Bianca is organised by Arts Council Malta within the Ministry for Justice, Culture and Local Government, with the support of the Valletta 2018 Foundation, the Valletta Local Council, TVM and MSV Life.