The COVID-19 pandemic has long denied us all the chance to take in a show in the grandeur of Teatru Manoel – but the time has come to safely return home to Malta’s historic theatre.
With new guidelines in the face of the pandemic – and a programme of new shows – Teatru Manoel is preparing to open its doors once again to socially-distanced audiences.
To safely join the audience at the theatre for any part of its new programme, you will need to stay within its firm guidelines.
Beyond staying home if you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or have had direct contact with any positively-diagnosed individual in the 14 days prior to the event, you are also encouraged to avoid public transport when travelling to the event and obliged to wear a face mask at all times within the building.
While people can buy tickets from the booking office, Teatru Manoel is encouraging people to buy their tickets online. Only ticket holders will be admitted to each event, whereby the ticket purchaser has consented to provide contact details upon booking to enable track and tracing where necessary.
Upon arrival at the theatre, simply join the queue outside – while maintaining a safe distance from others – where a staff member will check your ticket (preferably downloaded onto a mobile device), screen your temperature, and ask that you sanitise your hands before proceeding. Once within the building, you should then maintain a safe two-metre distance from others, including in the toilets. Meanwhile, the Manoel team will continue its stringent cleaning schedule to ensure a safe experience for all inside the building.
“We are delighted to be, at last, reopening the doors at the Teatru Manoel to audiences eager to enjoy the atmosphere again of this unique theatrical institution,” explains Teatru Manoel artistic director, Kenneth Zammit Tabona. “We have been planning for this moment behind the scenes for months, earlier this year releasing an open call for local artists to submit ideas and projects for a new COVID-friendly programme. The first two exciting new shows created as a result will be a fitting way to celebrate the socially-distanced reopening of the Manoel.”
The first of these shows will be a recital by Soprano Nicola Said on 23 October, in which she will sing a programme of pieces by Samuel Barber, Arthur Bliss and Alban Berg, accompanied by pianist Christine Zerafa. Guest musicians at the event will also include Godfrey Mifsud playing clarinet, Nadine Galea and Stefan Calleja on the violin and Desirée Quintano playing cello.
ROOTS by Moveo Dance Company on 31 October promises to be equally unforgettable. The performance presents Moveo Dance Company in a triple bill of dance and live music, in a collaboration between four renowned local artists: Dorian Mallia, Diane Portelli, Francesca Tranter and Tricia Dawn Williams.
In addition, Teatru Manoel has also recorded various performances that will be streamed online, with artists such as the band Skald alongside author Trevor Zahra and actress Teresa Gauci; a violin concerto by violinist Nadine Galea with pianist Christine Zerafa; and a new Toi Toi recital series featuring artists such as Nicola Said, Clare Ghigo, Dorothy Bezzina, Luis Aguilar and Julie James.
Meanwhile, the theatre has worked on a collaboration with the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO) to present a number of chamber concerts, with the first two set to be streamed online in October, while the rest will be performed for live audiences, including a ‘Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 – Eroica’ programme arranged for piano quartet by Ferdinand Ries.
The new season’s mix of live shows and online performances will also include a physical theatre piece named ‘World Trade Centre’ directed by Stephen Oliver; ‘Decameron’, a promenade performance piece inside the theatre complex directed by Chris Gatt; and ‘From Rona with Love’, an original play written by Marta Vella and directed by Petra Sant.
Photos: Teatru Manoel // Darren Agius // Brian Grech