Shining the spotlight on young talent at the Manoel

This summer, Teatru Manoel comes to life with the best of Malta’s young talent in two productions. TOI TOI Learning and Participation Programme Manager Kate Fenech Field offers Laura Bonnici a glimpse behind the scenes of the Teatru Manoel Youth Talent Gala and new musical, Meet Cute

Daniel Zak Borg (piano) & Bernard Curmi (violin)
Daniel Zak Borg (piano) & Bernard Curmi (violin)

As Teatru Manoel’s learning and participation programme, TOI TOI is the home of opportunity for many local artists, offering them a prestigious platform from which to springboard ideas into reality. 

As part of its mission, TOI TOI has also produced many exciting shows and experiences for audiences of all ages – and this summer, Teatru Manoel will set the scene for two more. Indeed, Malta’s finest young artists will soon perform at the national theatre twice, in the Teatru Manoel Youth Talent Gala and in a new jukebox musical, Meet Cute.  

“Supporting young talent is a core part of the work TOI TOI does at the national theatre,” TOI TOI Learning and Participation Programme Manager Kate Fenech Field said.

“Turning the spotlight towards young artists in training and giving them the chance to experience the electricity of live performance in such a prestigious setting is a priceless gift," Fenech Field added. 

For one night only on Sunday 19 June, the Teatru Manoel Youth Talent Gala will showcase instrumentalists, singers and dancers in an evening packed with repertoire from traditional exam pieces to contemporary jazz, pop and musicals. In the Gala on the Manoel’s historic main stage, the best young artists from across the Maltese Islands will perform alongside guest appearances from local performing arts schools and youth groups, including Teatru Manoel Youth Opera and Dance. 

“Three panellists judged, over two weekends in early 2021, the stage presence and technical skill of over a hundred applicants,” Fenech Field said. She explained the audition process that shortlisted the cast for the Gala following an open call in 2019.

“From violinists to trumpeters, pianists to ballet dancers, there’s so much to enjoy in one event. Watching some of our youngest artists display their talents to such a high standard is a real testament to their families and teachers for supporting their skills. The wide range of music choices and technical styles makes it difficult to choose a highlight, but one thing’s for certain: there won’t be a dry eye in the house!” 

While one audience can delight in youth talent at the Gala on 19 June, others will have the opportunity to do the same at the Teatru Manoel Studio Theatre from June 30 to 3 July. Written and performed by the TOI TOI Collective and directed by Petra Sant, Meet Cute uses songs from the world of musical theatre to explore the idea of a ‘meet cute’ scene, where two future lovers first meet under unusual, humorous, or cute circumstances. 

“Initially the production told a conventional boy-meets-girl love story, but it took a twist to feature often-misunderstood relationships where things are not so clear. Most of our work starts with a basic storyline that develops into a fully-fledged show and Meet Cute is no different,” Fenech Field shared. “The musical theatre songs in the show have wide appeal, ranging from some real classics all the way to recent works to illustrate the development of the genres musically while telling the story. The beating heart of the show is honesty, truth and love.” 

What’s more, Meet Cute will also feature two special guests, top performers Sean Borg and Rachel Fabri, reveals Ms Fenech Field. “Sean is part of our TOI TOI Collective as a former member of our youth training programme and has contributed to TOI TOI on many occasions. Rachel also comes to us with a wealth of professional musical theatre experience and is a warm, collaborative performer – a perfect fit for TOI TOI! We are thrilled that Sean and Rachel are joining forces with Petra Sant to create a memorable start to our summer at the Manoel.” 

Meanwhile, Teatru Manoel CEO Massimo Zammit concludes by highlighting the importance of supporting young talent: “Through TOI TOI, Teatru Manoel nurtures young artists, giving them a valuable opportunity to let their talent shine at the national theatre and a platform on which to build tomorrow’s artistic community in Malta.” 

Teatru Manoel Youth Talent Gala will perform on 19 June at 7pm at Teatru Manoel. Performances of Meet Cute are June 30 at 7pm, July 1 at 7pm, July 2 at 8pm and July 3 at 7pm, at Teatru Manoel Studio Theatre. According to current public health guidelines, no masks or vaccine certificates are required at either event. Tickets are available via email to bookings@teatrumanoel.mt, by telephone to (+356) 21246389 or online at www.teatrumanoel.mt.