Floating creatures, world music bring fifth edition of ŻiguŻajg Festival to a close

Through the festival’s collaboration with CHOGM Malta 2015, this year’s programme included a particular focus on diversity as well as the participation of several Commonwealth artists

2 December 2015, 11:19am
Gigantic flying characters and music from around the world marked the end of this year’s ŻiguŻajg International Arts Festival for Children and Young People, which came to a close last week.

Musicians from Jamaica, Ghana, Zanzibar and Colombia – who had opened the festival a week before – also brought it to a close with a concert held at Pjazza Teatru Rjal. The musicians – representing the World of Music, Arts and Dance (WOMAD) – collaborated with Maltese musicians throughout the festival to bring the Music from around the World concert and Final Parade as well as a series of music workshops in schools.

Afterwards, children and parents moved to Castille Square which took on a dreamlike quality as giant flying characters floated over the public. The flying objects were operated from the ground by the actor-operators who were at one with the character floating above them and seemed like a fantastic extension of them.

The events brought to a close the fifth edition of ŻiguŻajg, the only festival in Malta to put children and young people firmly at its centre.

Over 13,000 children and their parents attended the 29 productions forming part of this year’s festival. Of the ticketed events, around 4,500 children came from schools while 6,800 viewers belonged to the general public.

For seven days, 160 creatives from 12 represented countries created a dreamlike world where gigantic characters flew over crowds, sounds created colours and artists could breathe life into a lump of clay.

The festival, which is known for the excellence of its programming and proactive commissioning stance, did not disappoint, with 11 international productions and seven premiered commissions. Participating artists put up 113 performances in 14 venues, ensuring that this year’s edition brought a spectacle of colour and imagination as well as several memorable moments which will stay with audiences for a long time.  

Through the festival’s collaboration with CHOGM Malta 2015, this year’s programme included a particular focus on diversity as well as the participation of several Commonwealth artists. Artists from the UK, Canada and Australia and other Commonwealth countries teamed up with some of the best Maltese artists to create a programme which included theatre, shadow puppetry, music, circus acts, street parades and dance.

This year, too, some of the Maltese productions were viewed by foreign festival programmers who will now determine whether the work will tour internationally or participate in foreign festivals. This, the first edition of the Malta Showcase, was held during the ŻiguŻajg festival week and included new and previous festival productions, which were also open to the public.

ŻiguŻajg is produced by Fondazzjoni Kreattività in collaboration with the Government of Malta and CHOGM Malta 2015.