Switching Gears – Teatru Malta

If the past few days have reaffirmed anything it’s that we are confident in our decision to switch production gears and have all the shows we originally planned on producing go into development over the course of this year. We have been working on this for the past few weeks, however these past few days have caught up with us and we feel it is now the right time to make our plans public. 

What do we mean by development? Research and development or (R&D) is a term that basically describes when a company decides to undertake a project or several in this case and invest in its development prior to producing, and therefore due to the current situation at these unprecedented times, we felt that we’d be doing more justice towards our projects, collaborations and Teatru Malta’s ethos, to shift our gears towards developing our future projects 

We are a production oriented national theatre with the declared priority of developing audiences whilst aiding to further professionalise our sector. However we are not venue-based nor do we employ an ensemble; we create varied forms of theatre in varied spaces. This means we need to start from scratch when it comes to new venues, equipment, staging and so forth. We want to create ground-breaking projects and eventful community-based work and we do not want to compromise on the quality of the process or that of the product. This is why we currently believe that producing the work we want to produce right now does not make sense for the national theatre company in terms of the use of public funds when compared to the amount of people that can work on or experience the shows we want to create.

Besides this we believe that there is already enough good work being produced by fellow public cultural organisations who possess venues or employ ensembles, and during a time where it might be challenging to get audiences, we should also leave good space for the private sector. 

This means that over the next few months Teatru Malta will invest in researching all the subjects, themes and media required to produce the shows we have been planning with our collaborating artists, some of which benefited from our Theatre Depożit initiative last year. Besides our associate artists, Luke Saydon, Abigail Mallia, Prof Gordon Calleja, Teatru Anon, Moveo Dance Company, Alex Vella Gregory, Andre Mangion and the New Victorians are just a few of the theatre makers that we will be working with on a number of projects ranging from physical theatre to musicals in the dark in the next few months. 

These artists share our understanding that in such uncertain times going into development really is the most logical and practical way forward for Teatru Malta. This way we will be able to stage the best shows possible for all our audiences, when the time is right. Besides this, we want to be working on preserving our past shows, touring possibilities, as well as investing in our rehearsal venues. Our other initiatives like the Atelier Francis Ebejer and Klassi tas-Surmast will forge ahead. We still have lots to do. 

As a theatre company we have become accustomed to problem solving and last minute changes. However, despite none of this being new to us, these times have proven to be unprecedented and though we would have loved nothing more than to be back in the theatre by 2021, we feel we just aren’t there yet, and that’s okay too. 

We will stage theatre again and until we do, we will continue to work on it behind the scenes. 

These are the working titles of the productions that will be going into Development in 2021:

  1. Manwel Manwel
  2. Drago 
  3. Mother Courage by Bertolt Brecht
  4. Kien hemm Siġra f’Nofs ta’ Triq
  5. Nouveau Riche
  6. Il-Fidwa tal-Bdiewa ta’ Ninu Cremona
  7. 2121
  8. HAN53
  9. Fil-Parlament ma Jikbrux Fjuri
  10. Dnegel u l-Mewt
  11. Gozo the Greek
  12. Billejl is-Suwed kollha xorta
  13. A Musical in the Dark
  14. The League of Youth by Henrik Ibsen