Zabbar’s Blue Arena to be restored

The arena's Art Deco proscenium stage structure is one of a kind in Malta, reportedly built in the 1950s 

The Blue Arena is tucked away in Zabbar's Band club
The Blue Arena is tucked away in Zabbar's Band club

The stage of the unique open-air Blue arena tucked away in Zabbar’s Band club, known as ‘Tal-Grazzja’ will be restored after the Planning Commission gave its consent for works to be carried out.

Only minor restoration work is needed, with the stonework of the stage proscenium still in a good condition considering that it has been exposed to the elements for over 60 years.

In their statement, the Planning Authority said that due to rain water seepage, the roof structure above the stage has deteriorated badly and would be replaced for most parts. The roof structure consists of a rudimentary system of steel joists supporting rows of xorok

PA said the stage structure with its Art Deco proscenium, the only one of its kind in Malta, is reported to have been built in the 1950s when the property had already started being used as a band club.

The arena has a seating capacity of about 400 persons, formerly the walled garden of the spacious 19th century residence in Sanctuary Street, served as an open-air cinema as well as a performance space for theatrical productions, called the Blue Arena.

Designed specifically to a fashion typical of the late 1930s to the early 1950s period, its creator is unknown.

During this period innovative styles were introduced locally, inspired from spectacular works overseas and cleverly adapted using globigerina limestone. Local architects were successfully providing revellers with a taste of the vibrant Art Deco and its variants, which was so much the rage in the ever-growing world of entertainment.