DID YOU KNOW?
The theatre’s current, oval-shaped auditorium is not its original layout. It was originally shaped like a horseshoe, but was reshaped and expanded by Sir George Whitmore in the early 19th century. 2
The theatre’s current, oval-shaped auditorium is not its original layout. It was originally shaped like a horseshoe, but was reshaped and expanded by Sir George Whitmore in the early 19th century.
Next Fact

About Us

“The Manoel”, as it is affectionately referred to by the locals, is Malta’s National Theatre, the best equipped performing arts venue on the Island and a major contributor to the local performing arts scene. It is one of the finest examples of Baroque architecture and one of the oldest working theatres in Europe.

The Theatre has two performance areas:

The Main Theatre

This is a historic ornate baroque auditorium with a seating capacity of 547 spread across the orchestra stalls, parterre boxes, 51 individual boxes on three levels (Tiers) and the gallery. This is where the majority of productions are held. Entrance is on Old Theatre Street (Triq it-Teatru l-Antik).

The Studio Theatre

This is a smaller performance area (7m x 5m) with a maximum audience capacity of 60 on cushioned benches. This space is used predominantly by the Learning and Participation Programme and small productions. Entrance is from the theatre’s stage door at No. 81, Old Mint Street (Triq Zekka), Valletta (round the corner from the main Theatre entrance) which also houses the theatre’s costume house and rehearsal and dressing rooms. The Studio Theatre is on the top floor with an adjoining bar area and outdoor terrace.

Teatru Manoel’s Mission

The Theatre is a Public Cultural Organisation funded predominantly by the Government. As Malta’s national theatre, Teatru Manoel believes that everyone should have access to the arts, and therefore seeks to present as eclectic an annual programme of high-quality productions and events as possible covering the performing genres of music, drama and dance.

The Theatre also aims to be the major local platform for a wide pool of artists, both local and foreign to develop and freely express their creativity through dialogue with a diverse audience that enables mutual cultural enrichment.

The Theatre produces its own productions, collaborates with other Public Cultural Organisations and third-party producers and is a receiving house for independent productions.

  • The theatre’s raison d’être – to provide the general public with honest entertainment – is inscribed in Latin above the main entrance: ‘ad honestam populi oblectationem’.

  • It is said that part of the reason the Grand Master wanted to build a theatre was to keep the young knights of the Order out of mischief, as they would be busy performing in plays during their time off.

  • The first time the Maltese national anthem, L-Innu Malti, was heard in public, was when it was played at a concert at Teatru Manoel on 27th December 1922.

Fun Facts

  • The theatre took only 10 months to build and cost the Grand Master 2,184 scudi (€41,715).
 
  • It has been renamed at least three times: first known as the ‘Teatro Pubblico’ in the late 16th Century, then the ‘Teatro Reale’ in the 17th & 18th Century, before officially being named Teatru Manoel in the late 19th Century.
 
  • The first performance to officially open the theatre on 19th January 1732, was the classic Italian tragedy Merope by Scipione Maffei.
 

  • The theatre’s raison d’être – to provide the general public with honest entertainment – is inscribed in Latin above the main entrance: ‘ad honestam populi oblectationem’.

  • It is said that part of the reason the Grand Master wanted to build a theatre was to keep the young knights of the Order out of mischief, as they would be busy performing in plays during their time off.

  • The first time the Maltese national anthem, L-Innu Malti, was heard in public, was when it was played at a concert at Teatru Manoel on 27th December 1922.

History

Restoration and Refurbishment

2017 – 2018

An acclimatization system is installed in the auditorium which is now warm in Winter and cool in Summer. The parterre boxes at the stalls level are restored, new seating is installed, and the seating layout is changed to that of the original building.

2019

Restoration works continue to return the façade to the original 1731 design.

2020

The Theatre closes in March 2020 due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. It opens briefly for weekly one-hour productions to socially distanced audiences between October 2020 and March 2021 when it had to close again.

2021

Whilst the Theatre is closed for the second time due to the Coronavirus Pandemic significant refurbishment works are undertaken in the adjacent building which houses the Box Office, bar, interval reception room and toilets. The chandelier and the sconces that line the tier boxes are replaced with ones made of blown white Murano glass designed in Rezzonico Style.

The Theatre re-opens at the end of October 2021.

The Theatre’s Legacy

In its (almost) three centuries of existence Teatru Manoel has hosted thousands of plays, operas, musicals, concerts, recitals and dance productions. Even more artists have come through its stage door and treaded its boards, some of whom went on to achieve great success locally and internationally and others who came here already famous.

Learning and Participation

Teatru Manoel has an extensive learning and participation programme that has had a significant impact on Malta’s cultural legacy, especially with young people. You can find out more about that here.

La Valette possesses an opera, small indeed, but neat, though much out of repair. Italy and Sicily supply it with very tolerable vocal performers, and it is a very agreeable entertainment for the garrison. It was excessively crowded every night by the officers of the expedition, to whom it was a great source of amusement. The price of admission is one shilling.

Thomas Walsh

Journal of the Late Campaign – Egypt 1803

Our Organisation

Edward Zammit

Acting Chief Executive Officer

Pierre Vassallo

Chief Operations Officer

Adrian Mamo

Artistic Director

Rachel Vella

Assistant Director Marketing &
Audience Development

Ayrton Walls

Senior Manager HR & Administration

Vanessa Mangion

Senior Manager Operations

Michael Mangion

Senior Manager Events & Productions

Kate Fenech Field

TOI TOI Learning & Participation
Programme Manager

Rambert Attard

Manager Procurement

Melanie Grioli

Manager Design & Branding

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Facilities Manager

TOI TOI Learning & Participation Programme Manager

Senior Manager Events & Productions

Senior Manager HR & Administration

Assistant Director Marketing & Audience Development

Chief Operations Officer

Artistic Director

Acting Chief Executive Officer

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