Seven artistic directors to support Marshall in 2018 bid

Directors from fields of art, music, and stage to support British composer Wayne Marshall.

British composer Wayne Marshall is the artistic director for Valletta's 2018 capital of culture bid.
British composer Wayne Marshall is the artistic director for Valletta's 2018 capital of culture bid.

In a continuing effort to marshal Malta's cultural forces towards Valletta's bid as European Capital for Culture 2018, seven Artistic Programme Directors for the initiative have been announced today, following an open call for Expression of Interest.

The directors include actors Marc Cabourdin, Paul Portelli, and Coryse Borg, artist Raphael Vella, musician and composer Ruben Zahra, musican and Malta Arts Festival director Mario Frendo and film producer and lecturer Jean Pierre Magro.

"The creative sector has to help us in this bid because they are an integral part of it," Culture Minister Mario de Marco said at their presentation, today.

Valletta is currently preparing its bid as European Capital for Culture for 2018 - during which time the city will strive to become a year-long hub of cultural activity, in the hope of galvanising both local talent and the tourism industry.

De Marco said the public had responded to a call for proposals. "The success of 2018 depends on the legacy which will be enjoyed after it's passed - the same as previous capitals for culture."

The seven artistic directors will each focus on a specific area of Maltese culture, working under the direction of British composer Wayne Marshall, who was announced as the main Artistic Director for the V18 initiative in June.

"It's a great honour to be appointed," Marshall said. "I've been in Malta for six years and seen it develop significantly in the field of culture. We have a strong chance of getting this bid and increasing Malta's presence globally. Over 200 different proposals have been looked at, and 60 projects will now go ahead as a result."

One of the projects is the creation of a youth and children's orchestra.

In comments to MaltaToday, Marshall had emphasised the importance of working together with a locally-sourced team to help him streamline a cultural programme for the years leading up to 2018 itself... particularly given that Marshall himself has been based in Malta for just six years.

Marshall, who had conducted the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra for the past two years as part of the Malta Arts Festival, told MaltaToday that he was "very happy" to be chosen for the post, following an open call for interest which was advertised both internationally and abroad.

One potential hurdle to Marshall's appointment is the fact that, apart from regular Malta Arts Festival patrons, his is hardly a household name amongst the Maltese population at large. "This is one reason why we have a lot of work ahead of us. It's very important that in the timeframe that we have - from now until 2018 - I make myself fully aware of what's going on in the cultural scene in Malta, and that I be seen to be integrating into and bringing the community together," Marshall said.

Valletta's turn as European Capital for Culture - it will be co-hosting the title with a Dutch city - is expected to provide a boost to tourism, as well as create cultural infrastructures that could benefit local artists and cultural operators in years to come.