Manoel Theatre to kick start education programme

The Manoel Theatre has appointed an ‘Art Education Consultant’, in its drive to foster more interest in arts and culture among local youths.

Pianist and music therapist Rosetta Debattista will be at the helm of the national theatre’s newly created Art Education Unit, where she will be working hand-in-hand with government, Church and private schools to create specialised, age-specific workshops for students, while also overseeing a number of side projects specifically targeting students and teens who are presently studying drama and music. Live performances, workshops and masterclasses together with a Youth Theatre group will form part of the theatre’s strategy for this new unit. “Our aim is to bridge the gap between the Arts and our community through events that inspire, teach and formulate a new sense of appreciation,” Debattista said. Ray Attard, the theatre’s CEO, said that Education Unit is an important step in the right direction when it comes to addressing the local context, in which arts are perhaps seen to be ‘extra’ when compare do the rest of the school curriculum, and indeed other professional fields. “Investment in the younger generation is merely a part of the overall perception that needs to be addressed. We hope that as Malta’s national theatre we will be the driving force to continue to encourage the community to communicate that art is not a luxury but a necessity. “Our message is simple, when one incorporates arts in their lifestyle their overall performance in school or work improves immensely,” Attard said. Asked whether this move will address the fact that, since the departure of the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra from its premises, the Manoel Theatre effectively houses administrative staff but no artists, Attard said that education will help pave the path for more independent artists to emerge from the theatre’s fold. “To this effect the Manoel has engaged a music consultant and is in the process of engaging a counterpart in the drama sector. The Manoel has almost total ownership of the music content of the programme, and this has seen significant improvement since Mro Brian Schembri was engaged as music consultant. “The Manoel has also been coproducing a number of drama works with drama companies, and commissioning others. The part of the programme which is not its own is in fact a minority share of the whole programme. With the new initiatives, such as the education programme and the engagement of the drama consultant, this is expected to decrease,” Attard said.