Should the Manoel Theatre be Malta’s National Theatre?

The Minister for National Heritage, José Herrera, said that by summer, a law will be presented in Parliament for the Manoel Theatre to become the National Theatre of Malta.

Minister Herrera has launched a public consultation document for a national cultural policy for the next ten years, which among others things intends to raise the level of culture in Malta while serving as a compass for artists and professionals in this sector.

With 180 proposals, the new cultural policy is based on eight pillars intended to raise standards among Maltese artists while serving as a guide for artists to increase their visibility.

The Director of the Cultural Directorate, Mario Azzopardi, said that the document also refers to the thirst for more theatres even in villages.

”We need a hall for concerts by the National Orchestra. For example you have a number of abandoned theatres throughout Malta and Gozo so we need to see what we are going to do with them. They are begging for people to come back for cultural activities because culture should not be just in Valletta but throughout Malta and spread out as much as possible.”

While the cultural industry is currently on its knees because it depends on audiences, Mr Azzopardi acknowledged that it will be a challenge to get the public back into the theatres.

“Various cultural entities are already carrying out a strategy and plans to improve their product because that will be the greatest challenge.  How are we going to encourage people to go back to theatres and places entertainment? Work has already started on this. But sometimes we need to think outside of the box.”

The public consultation will close on 16 April.

Asked about plans for Teatru Rjal, including proposals for it to be roofed, the Minister said that the Government was evaluating various suggestions, however there is still no decision about the way forward.

He said that the Manoel Theatre was built 300 years ago by Grandmaster Antonio Manoel de Vilhena and is considered one of the most beautiful theatres in the world.