A hub to inspire | Anthony Bezzina

We speak to Anthony Bezzina from Masquerade Theatre about the drama school’s newly-built ‘M Space’ in Msida, which is set to become a hub for performing arts on the island. Plus, Bezzina also lets us in on what we can expect from Masquerade’s upcoming Christmas panto – The Curse of Snow White.

Anthony Bezzina inaugurating M Space.
Anthony Bezzina inaugurating M Space.

What inspired you to create an all-new space for performance? What were some of the ideas that drove you as you were devising M Space, and why did you think it was a necessary addition to the performance scene in Malta?

I had searched high and low to find a space where I could expand my activities at Masquerade which we set up 15 years ago. I wanted this space to be outside Valletta, mainly to have an alternative solution to parking and accessibility. I also wanted some consistency for our students and a place for them to go where they could be able to work for more than just the four days of production week. This way they can build more confidence when it comes to performance and not lose much time just getting used to the space available. M Space doesn't just house a theatre, it has a number of performing studios and there are very few places in Malta, if at all, where you can find ten purposely built studios in one block.

Would you say that one of the aims behind M Space is to foster a more holistic attitude towards performance? If so, how so? And what would you say are some of the main priorities of M Space itself?

More or less, yes. It is a complete atmosphere where we can facilitate the needs for training and performance, as well as a number of other activities in one space, be it performance or non-performance related. We already have different companies using our various spaces to facilitate their individual needs. We've also had activities going on in the theatre, as well as people watching movies, taking fitness classes, giving lectures, and other corporate needs.  The main priority however will always remain performance arts.

What void do you hope M Space will fill in Maltese performance culture?

We do not hope to fill a void but to add a new dimension. Creating a new space, welcoming new ideas or to accommodate old ones. It is a very exciting time for the space. We have also managed to attract foreign artists and promoters who are also intrigued with the use of the building.

What are some of the main things that people who want to avail themselves of M Space should know?

Studios are fully equipped with air-conditioning, natural air-ventilation, sprung flooring and a number of them also have ballet barres.  Sound systems, amplifiers and speakers in every room. You just need to bring your MP3 or CD and you are up and running. It can also be used an exhibition space, conference space, theatre space, rehearsal space for visiting companies,  photo shoots, filming of commercials - the list is endless, and once the cafeteria is open the opportunities will increase.  There is still room for ideas and growth. Our belief is that M Space is a hub to inspire, and inspiration is limitless. 

Masquerade is of course also prepping its annual stab at the panto. What can we expect this time around?

The Curse of Snow White is a fantastic script by Malcolm Galea starring Colin Fitz as the Dame (with a difference) and Rachel Fabri with a voice to die for. It is a traditional panto at the Manoel Theatre where the entire family can have a great time.  On set, the creative minds are yours truly, Kevin Abela our musical director, with Lee McCallion as the choreographer, Stefania Galea as vocal coach, Ernest Camilleri costume design and Chris (aka peanuts) our stage manager. Masquerade is back at the Manoel after an absence of two years and it's great to be back working in this amazing theatre.

The Curse of Snow White will be playing at the Manoel Theatre, Valletta from December 26 to January 6. For more information log on to http://www.masquerademalta.com/.