A Note from the Artistic Director… the 2018 Programme
What is Teatru Malta? Why Teatru Malta? All Maltese Theatre? Theatre in Maltese? An agency? A company?
Teatru Malta is explained in the following pages. This programme is the first explanation that might shed some light on what Teatru Malta is or could be, at least the way we see it. 2017 was a year of questions, study, experimentation, listening, reflecting, working from behind-the-scenes.
We started from nothing, or rather, a press conference and a little ado. Today we have an office in the South East region, we have an image, a digital presence, a web of local and international contacts, an infrustructural programme and an artistic programme too. My decision that Teatru Malta would not to produce anything in 2017 might not have gone down well with everybody, but I believe that to build, one needs a strong framework, an infrustructure or at least a good plan of infrastructure. That’s why we organised so many sessions whose primary aim was to listen. Apart from that, we put in a lot of thought, time and a big chunk of our available funds to an infrustructural project that will not only help theatre, but also other sectors like dance and music. Because at the end of the day, we have to work in one single cultural ecosystem.
I believe that empires and dictatorships are a thing of the remote past. 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 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 pot is quite a melting pot of many different flavours, but they all go well together, like a serving of good old Maltese ‘balbuljata’, but enhanced with new and unexpected flavours.
That’s why we can now speak of collaborations with more than 30 entities, we can speak about a budget that’s more than double what was stipulated by the central government budget, we can now speak of twenty 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 plays enthusiasts, with ‘għana’ singers, with bird trappers, with contemporary artists, with conservative artists.
However, we’re only just getting started, so we might make mistakes, but hopefully not. But we are 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 different productions and a different approach to each, but the aim remains the same – to be a National Theatre.
National to me doesn’t mean that there is only one audience out there, 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 they’ll start to like theatre more and more, because all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, and 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.