'Theatre shouldn't limit itself to a small clique' - Owen Bonnici

Arts Council chairman Albert Marshall welcomes the dismantling of the 'monstrosity of fragmentation' in new Arts Council set-up while launching this year's edition of the Francis Ebejer Prize. 

teodor_reljic
Teodor Reljic
19 March 2015, 1:03pm
From left: Manoel Theatre Artistic Director Kenneth Zammit Tabona, playwright Leanne Ellul, Arts Council Malta chair Albert Marshall, Culture Minister Owen Bonnici and Arts Council director of strategy Toni Attard
From left: Manoel Theatre Artistic Director Kenneth Zammit Tabona, playwright Leanne Ellul, Arts Council Malta chair Albert Marshall, Culture Minister Owen Bonnici and Arts Council director of strategy Toni Attard
"Many veteran playwrights weren't happy with the establishment of the Francis Ebejer Prize," Arts Council chairman Albert Marshall said during a press conference at the Manoel Theatre this morning. "A lot of them felt that they should have been the ones to write prominent Maltese-language plays, and that younger ones shouldn't be given a chance. But let's see what the new crop of playwrights brings on board..."

Marshall was speaking during the launch of the Premju Francis Ebejer, a bi-annual competitive prize given out to up-and-coming Maltese playwrights. Marshall said that the prize was initially set up to address a deficit of quality drama within the local theatrical sphere. 

The conference in fact also inaugurated a production by a former Francis Ebejer Prize winner, the young playwright Leanne Ellul - author of Ma Rridx Immur, a rubberbodies collective production to be staged at the Manoel tomorrow and Saturday. 

Marshall also said that while some people may consider the Arts Council to be a "monster", the recent restructuring within the Council aimed to dismantle the "monster of fragmentation" by collating its various responsibilities and activities under a more unified remit. 

Culture and Justice Minister Owen Bonnici welcomed the continuing efforts of the Francis Ebejer Prize in fostering new, and quality, writing in Maltese. 

"Some people might ask: why all this fuss about having good writing in Maltese theatres? Why is it such a priority for us? Well, the fact remains that places like the Manoel Theatre - our national theatre - are best served with Maltese-language productions. That's what the people want to see, and I don't believe that theatre should be limited to the same clique of people, but that we should draw in crowds from all walks of life."

teodor_reljic
Teodor Reljic is MaltaToday's culture editor and film critic. He joined t...