Marco Calleja: 'So much on my bucket list, however I’d definitely want to paraglide'

Performer, director, producer, educator Marco Calleja tells all in our Q&A

Maltese-born Marco Calleja is a performer, director, producer, educator, and TV host. Graduating MA in Advanced Theatre Practice from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, London in 2017, when not on stage, or in the rehearsal studio, Marco is a Special Events and Projects Manager at a local Independent School or watching movies, reading novels, telling stories, swimming, and wandering around chasing sunsets. He is currently in rehearsals for Masquerade’s Ċikku and the Chocolate Panto, which opens on Friday 23 December at Teatru Manoel.

What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

Three long, deep breaths and a coffee.

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

Be kind to yourself.

What do you never leave the house without?

My phone.

Pick three words that describe yourself.

Resilient. Organised. Dreamer.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?

Doing my MA at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (and living the London life!)

What is your guiltiest pleasure?

Oreo pancakes – yummmyy!

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?

Keep moving forward and work to live.

Property and cars aside, what’s the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought?

My aquarium – I love the sound of water.

What is one thing you wish you knew when you were younger?

Don’t grow up! It’s a trap!

Who’s your inspiration?

The kids I teach. I empower them yet they empower me more.

What has been your biggest challenge?

Producing and hosting a daily TV programme AND running a drama school, during a pandemic. That was tough.

If you weren’t an Events and Projects Manager, what would you be doing?

I would be backpacking around the world. Still contemplating it! Never say never!

Do you believe in God?

Yes, but I go beyond the stereotypical impressions.

If you could have dinner with any person, dead or alive, who would it be?

Dinner party with Billy Porter, Freddy Mercury, Bette Midler, George Michael, J.R.R. Tolkien and Emilia Clarke. Oh, the things we’d discuss!

What’s your worst habit?

I am fast. Very fast. Too fast. Need to take breaks more often.

What are you like when you’re drunk?

Think… lots of laughter; the total truth: deep discussions and a touch of hysteria. I remember everything though. (Not sure if that’s a good thing).

Who would you have play you in a film?

Tom Ellis of Lucifer-fame. I’ve been told I resemble him. YAY.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Hypocrites and two-faced people.

What music would you have played at your funeral?

Anything by A Great Big World. Touch of classical. But whoever is organising it… let’s go for uplifting please.

What is your most treasured material possession?

My locket. It’s around my neck all the time.

What is your earliest memory?

Christmas eve impromptu-theatre at Nanna Mary’s in Valletta. All the shows my cousins and I came up with.

When did you last cry, and why?

A couple of days ago, while in rehearsal with the children, a seven-year-old selflessly donated her emotional-support stuffed-animal as a present to Baby Jesus. Needless to say, this brought a tear (or rather many) to my eye.

Who would you most like to meet?

Billy Porter. Read his book and there is so much I’d want to ask him.

What’s your favourite food?

Chicken curry. Deliciousness.

Who’s your favourite person on social media right now?

Mmmm. Not really on social media much at the moment but I guess Jay Shetty.

If you could travel in time, where would you go?

The roaring 20s… the 1920s. Our 20s this century haven’t kicked off yet.

What book are you reading right now?

I’m reading two actually. ‘Son of a Witch’ by Gregory Maguire and ‘Think Like a Monk’ – Jay Shetty.

If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

The ability to look into the past. Think about it – imagine touching the Valletta bastions and seeing everything they’ve seen!

What’s one thing you want to do before you die?

So much on my bucket list, however I’d definitely want to paraglide.

What music are you listening to at the moment?

The ‘Rings of Power’ soundtrack. I am mesmerised by all things Tolkien.

In the shower or when you’re working out, what do you sing/listen to?

Give me Gaga anytime… or the Pumping Iron Playlist on Spotify that works up a sweat.