#BEZZJONI: Josette Ciappara

Photo: Elisa von Brockdorff

Josette Ciappara is a household name, not just to you but to all of us at Teatru Malta. We’ve worked with Josette for years and for those who know her or her daughter Marta Vella then not only have you probably been invited to their charming Kirkop home, but you’ve probably also met the family patriarch Pug… the pug who shamelessly attempted to steal Josette’s spotlight in this photo. Pug and Josette had been locked up and keeping each other company all throughout the pandemic, a welcome treat for Pug whose become very accustomed to Josette’s hectic schedule. Juggling lecturing, directing and a handful of other projects, the term ‘’rest’’ is a foreign concept to Josette who has finally found the time to slow down and take a deep breath, indoors and within a safe distance from others that is. Here’s what Josette has to tells us as part of #BEZZJONI, a series of door to door encounters with Maltese theatre icons

Josette Ciappara is usually associated with Education. She followed in her mother’s footsteps as a teacher, and introduced drama into her teaching to reach more students. She won a scholarship from the French embassy and had offers from two schools in the UK. When she returned to Malta, she became a member of the Drama Unit and a tutor at MTADA where she’d previously graduated. In 2001 she was appointed head of the Mikelang Borg Centre, which replaced MTADA. During her last year as head of the Drama Centre, she organized an International Drama Festival.

“Today I am  officially retired and currently just made it to the “vulnerable” list! This said I am expected to be more cautious than others at this historical moment where the whole world came to a halt. Not exactly a halt for me as I am still busy with the normal projects of filming TV programme Staqsini 20 with Ray Calleja and the teams of Cirasa and Banana, producing videos for the schools who are involved in the YEP (YiXue Educational Programme) which kicked off last year with Maria Regina College where we are finally introducing an alternative pedagogical way to teach children how to settle down and be more focused, finishing off the last Uni lectures online, and finally finding time to spring clean, read books, allow more time for practise and meditation sessions and last but not least enjoy Pug’s company. Oh yes and then sleep.

“This weird time has been a blessing in many ways. I realise that when “crisis” strikes the mind is allowed to rest. Priorities change and the more I go with the flow the less stressed I feel. Yes I do miss the theatre, postponing projects, going abroad, staying away from the Spero community, being away from my loved ones because of my “vulnerability”, but when all is said and done I feel a lot happier and healthier and eagerly awaiting “normality” to set in again knowing that “This too shall pass”.