Today, the 20th of March, is World Day of Theatre for Children and Young People. The aim of today is to raise awareness all over the world on the importance of taking children and young people to the theatre so that they can immerse themselves in the world of performance.
The slogan used to celebrate the day all over the world is “Take a child to the theatre today”. Yvette Hardie, president of ASSITEJ (International Association of Theatre for Children and Young People) has this to say about Children’s Theatre Day:
“Children need to be able to enjoy moments in community where they are reminded of what we share, and where they are able to appreciate the multiple realities of what it means to be human. They need spaces in which to explore new ways of thinking that challenge these divisive narratives, in which they feel empathy for those most unlike themselves. They need concrete experiences of communion in community to remind them of the joy and beauty that the world has to offer.”
In honour of Children’s Theatre Day, here are some local productions that are perfect for babies, kids, youths and the young at heart
Some of these will be performed in the coming weeks, and there are a few that you might need to wait a bit to go and watch. But better to plan ahead than end up missing out.
1. Ninu at Spazju Kreattiv
22nd to 24th March, at 8pm (and 6pm on Sunday)
A brand new, original script in Maltese written by local actor Anton Saliba and directed by Bettina Paris. The two of them have recently graduated with Masters degrees in acting from drama school in London and this is their first work in Malta since graduating. Ninu deals with the realities of being a teenager in Malta and the complications that come with it.
It is aimed at children over the age of 12, but will definitely be relatable for older audiences.
2. MPO Family Fanfare at the Manoel Theatre
23rd March, at 5pm
Once a year, the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra hosts a special performance for children and their families. This year’s concert is called Music of Mystery and Magic and will explore a dark musical world in an interactive concert under the direction of Robert Hodge.
The performance will be hosted by local actress Maxine Aquilina.
3. Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Teatru Astra
29th to 31st March, at 8pm
The team behind the successful performances of Grease, Evita and Jesus Christ Superstar are back with an exciting performance of JATATD. It promises to be a treat for all musical theatre lovers, and is sure to go down well with kiddies too!
Expect colour, fun, and loads and loads of singing.
4. The Three Sunsets at the Salesians Theatre
6th April, at 8pm
An original musical by local composer Luke Saydon and director Denise Mulholland, The Three Sunsets was originally performed in 2014 as part of ŻiguŻajg, and then again at the Manoel Theatre in 2015. It is now making a highly anticipated return, being performed by students of SOPA.
The Three Sunsets involves the disciplines of singing, acting, dancing, physical theatre and puppetry- the youngest performer is just eight years old, and the oldest is 16. This is an uplifting family show suitable for people of all ages, which explores the themes of memory, loss, magic and courage. In a world where we communicate less and less with each other this show reminds us how important it is to share our thoughts and memories; for after all, nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.
5. What A Dahl Day at the Salesians Theatre
6th April, at 4:30pm
Another production by the kids over at SOPA, in a concept by Lovin Malta’s very own Steffie Weenink. This is being performed by students between the ages of five and eight years old and is perfect for young audiences.
It follows three kids as they make their way though a collection of Roald Dahl’s stories and watch them come to life.
6. The Kingdom of Flowers at the MCC
Sunday 7th April, at 6pm
In what promises to be an evening full of magic and talent, local dance school The Dance Workshop is celebrating its 20th annual performance full of talented dancers of all aged and in all styles.
The performance will feature dancers from Ateneo Danza, under the direction of Stefania Sansavini as well as Keith and Nicola Micallef from ŻfinMalta.
7. Lord of the Flies at the Manoel Theatre
12th to 14th April, various times
The Teatru Manoel Youth Theatre programme (TMYT) will be performing its first full-length performance for 2019 with a stage adaptation of the classic novel Lord of the Flies.
Directed by TMYT leader Ian Moore, LOTF is aimed at children older than eight and anyone who feels they are ready to brave the performance!
Of course, this wouldn’t be an article about children’s theatre if we didn’t mention ToiToi and ŻiguŻajg
ToiToi is the Education programme over at the Manoel Theatre, and boasts a fully packed schedule of theatre for children aged zero and up.
ŻiguŻajg is a theatre festival in Malta for children and young people that takes place every November, and is even supporting projects all year-round as part of the Spazju Kreattiv programme.