Carnival 2017: a step away from making the Carnival Project a dream come true

Carnival 2017: a step away from making the Carnival Project a dream come true

The programme for the Carnival celebrations was announced today during a press conference at Pjazza Teatru Rjal addressed by the Minister for Justice, Culture and Local Government Dr Owen Bonnici, Festivals Director Ms Annabelle Stivala Attard, Carnival Artistic Director Mr Jason Busuttil and the Chair of the Valletta 2018 Foundation Mr Jason Micallef.

This year’s Carnival marks the beginning of making a dream come true for the Carnival participants – that of the Carnival Project. Work on the Malta Carnival Experience will start in the coming weeks after all necessary permits were approved by the Planning Authority. At the moment preparatory work is being carried out.

In his speech during the conference, the Minister said, “it’s a great satisfaction for us that year after year we are seeing innovations and work being built on the successes of the previous years, thanks to the dedication of all the participants and organisers who bring us colour and merriment during these days. As a Ministry and Government we will continue supporting Maltese talent, including those that work on the floats, grotesque masks, masks and costumes, dancers and participants, performers and musicians and all those who take part in the organisation of this feast, all of whom bring us an event which brings us together as a community thanks to their variety of talents. Today Carnival participants are looking forward to the completion of the Carnival Project, which will bring together various artists in their work with the result of giving a breath of fresh air to this annual celebration.”

The Artistic Director explained further on the Carnival Project.

“It’s a process which took three years of meticulous planning and dedication from all those involved. The project is financed from European Union funds (ERDF), which means we have to abide by its rules. The main aim for the Carnival Village is to have activities running throughout the year. You’ll surely hear more about it in the near future.”

He added that in May Malta will also host the annual convention of the Federation European Carnival Cities, which will bring to Malta delegates from over 20 countries. This is the fourth time Malta will organise such an important event.

This year’s Carnival, explained Jason Busuttil, is bringing back to life some old traditions which had fizzled out in the past years. These are mainly the participations of decorated carts and karrozzini as well as band marches. Satire is also on the increase.

“Satire has increased a lot. Since Malta has the EU Presidency, we have a float dedicated to it designed by renowned cartoonist Steve Bell and constructed by the Maltese Carnival participants. Carnival is also spreading into other localities with presentations of the main activities also improving,” said Busuttil.

Festivals Director Annabelle Stivala Attard added, “There is a lot of work to make sure that the Carnival and all talent related to it are strengthened, while giving support to all those involved. We are collaborating with other entities such as Valletta 2018 and Esplora to invest in interactive activities which help everyone feel part of Carnival.”

Jason Micallef, Chairman for Valletta 2018 Foundation added, “TheValletta 2018 Foundation is committed to further its investment in Carnival, particularly in the quality of the activities and the number of activities which are taking place inside and outside of Valletta.”

Carnival will also be celebrated at the Science Interactive Centre in Kalkara thanks to Carnival@Esplora on Saturday 18th February 2017 and Sunday 19th February 2017 daytime.

“Esplora believes that Science is an integral part of everything around us. One of the Centre’s aims is to try to help bridge the gap between Culture and the Sciences within the STEAM field. During Carnival@esplora visitors will be able to experience short expert talks related to the physics, engineering and the mechanics involved to make a carnival float. Two carnival floats will be present on site. Two interactive walk-in workshops will also be offered where visitors will be able to paint on carnival masks, model with clay and explore the chemistry of clay minerals,” said Elton Micallef, Deputy Director for Education & Programme Development at Esplora. For more information, prices and opening hours please visit Esplora’s Facebook page: Esplora Interactive Science Centre. 

Carnival starts on Thursday 23rd February in Pjazza Teatru Rjal with an opening ceremony and speeches. Soon after there will be an exhibition of the competing costumes. The next day till the 28th of February there will be a defilè of floats, grotesque masks and dance competitions.

For the first time this year, after Saturday’s activities which end round 8pm, there will be a street theatre performance – ‘B’Tal-Linja Jaqbillek’ in St George’s Square, Qarċilla, marching bands and an exhibition of decorated carts and karrozzini.

After last year’s success, Ħamrun will celebrate Carnival on Sunday morning, with at least five bands marching along the streets accompanied by a number of floats.

On Monday and Tuesday dance schools will parade in Valletta’s streets. Carnival will end on Tuesday night with the grand defilé in St Anne’s Street in Floriana.

Carnival will also be celebrated in these localities thanks to their local councils: Zabbar, Għaxaq, Qormi, St Julian’s, Dingli and Naxxar.

Seating will be available for events at St George’s Square.  Tickets can be purchased online from The event will also be covered live on TVM on Saturday morning, Sunday from 2pm till 8pm and Tuesday from 6pm till 9.30pm.

More information


This year’s Qarċilla was penned by Immanuel Mifsud, produced by Joseph Galea and the witnesses for the wedding are Daphne and Glenn. This Carnival tradition, which its first reference dates back to 1760, was renewed four years ago by the Maltese Department (UOM).

B’Tal-Linja Jaqbillek Żgur!

The street performance which visited Malta and Gozo on board of an old typical Maltese bus last summer will visit this year’s Carnivals in our capital cities. The cast includes veteran actresses Josette Ciappara and Mary Rose Mallia, with the latter being the bus captain.

The script was written by Simon Bartolo and directed and produced by Sean Buhagiar. The performance will be held on Saturday 25 February at 9pm in St George’s Square and on Sunday 26 February at 3pm on Victoria’s Carnival stage.

Triq it-Taraġ

Artists together with residents from the DuwiBalli area will celebrate and narrate the way of living in this part of Valletta. The residents will collaborate with Italian artist Federica Terracina and Carnival veteran Godwin Scerri to create a merry atmosphere. The activity includes readings of original work by Jean Paul Borg, inspired from stories of people living at DuwiBalli. Photos taken by resident Osea Tabone will be exhibited in the street. All this will take place on Sunday 26 February at 8.30pm and Sunday 27 February at 10am. ‘Triq it-Taraġ’ forms part of ‘Ġewwa Barra’ – a Valletta 2018 Foundation community project. The performance is open to the public.

The Programme

Thursday 23rd February

5.30pm Opening Ceremony of Malta Carnival 2017 activities at Pjazza Teatru Rjal, Valletta

Friday 24th February

5.30pm Dance competitions at St George’s Square and Carnival defilè consisting of the King Carnival float, satirical floats, grotesque masks and Dancing Companies Floats Section A (tickets at €5)

Saturday 25th February

9.30am: Children’s Carnival at St George’s Square, Valletta (tickets at €5)

3pm: Dance Competition at St George’s Square, Valletta together with the Grand Defilé performance (tickets at €10)

7pm: Hilarious Carnival including the traditional Qarċilla, street theatre performance ‘B’Tal-Linja Jaqbillek Żgur’ and a lot more at St George’s Square

Sunday 26th February

9.30am: Carnival Band Parade in High Street, Hamrun

1pm: Carnival Floats Parade at Castille Place, Valletta. The parade will proceed along Merchant’s Street to St George’s Square and then along Republic Street

2.30pm: Special Sunday afternoon Carnival Grand Show at St George’s Square, Valletta (tickets at €12)

8.30pm: Triq it-Taraġ at DuwiBalli, Valletta

Monday 27th February

10am: Dance School’s Carnival Parade followed by a dance show at St George’s Square, Valletta

10am: Triq it-Taraġ at DuwiBalli, Valletta

4pm: Dance Competition Programme followed by the Grand Defilé at St George’s Square, Valletta (tickets at €7)

Tuesday 28th February

10am: Dancing School’s Carnival Parade followed by a dance show at Pjazza Teatru Rjal, Valletta.

6pm: Grand Finale at St Anne’s Street with the participation of all carnival floats and general merriment

Ftehim bejn il-pajjiżi tal-Mediterran għal kollaborazzjoni fis-settur kulturali

Ftehim bejn il-pajjiżi tal-Mediterran għal kollaborazzjoni fis-settur kulturali

Il-Ministru għall-Kultura Owen Bonnici flimkien mal-Ministri għall-Kultura tal-Pajjiżi fil-Punent tal-Mediterran, f'Tuneż, iffirmaw dikjarazzjoni ta' koperazzjoni b'miri konkreti fis-settur kulturali fil-forum magħruf bħala d-Djalogu 5 plus 5.  Id-dikjarazzjoni qal il-Ministru Bonnici hija pass 'il quddiem għaliex il-qasam kulturali huwa għodda formidabbli biex ikun hemm paċi fl-Ewropa u fil-Mediterran.  Il-koperazzjoni kulturali bejn il-pajjiżi membri tad-Djalogu 5 plus 5 se tkun qed isseħħ permezz ta' tisħih fil-qafas legali u istituzzjonali li għandu l-għan li jiġi ppreservat il-patrimonju kulturali tar-reġjun fosthom bi programmi li jiżviluppaw it-tixrid tal-kultura.



Is-sajf li għadda l-Festival Internazzjonali tal-Arti ta’ Malta organizza l-akbar spettaklu tat-triq f’Malta. Kien hemm ’il fuq minn 2500 ruħ li attendew u l-pjazez kienu miżgħuda bin-nies jistennew lil....tal-linja. Uħud ġew bis-siġġijiet, oħrajn poġġew fl-art u oħrajn baqgħu bilwieqfa viċin l-atturi.   

L-ispettaklu ta’ Sean Buhagiar, B’Tal-Linja Jaqbillek Żgur! dar mal-ħames reġjuni tal-gżejjer Maltin u sar l-ewwel proġett tat-teatru reġjonali minn mindu ġew stabbiliti l-ħames reġjuni. Il-Kalkara, Birkirkara, il-Mellieħa, is-Siġġiewi u ż-Żebbuġ Għawdex kienu l-pjazez ixxurtjati. Din id-darba, l-ispettaklu se jerġa’ jsir waqt iċ-ċelebrazzjonijiet nazzjonali tal-karnival.  

L-udjenza għandha titpaxxa bit-talent tal-kast meraviljuż u ferrieħi hekk kif tal-linja maġika tidħol fil-pjazza u timlieha bid-duħħan u l-bżieżaq. Il-kast, immexxi mill-kantanta u attriċi veterana Mary Rose Mallia, jagħti eżekuzzjoni enerġetika ta’ 50 minuta. Bla dubju, Mary Rose Mallia hija dik li se tisraq l-ispettaklu. “Naħseb li Mary Rose Mallia għandha talent straordinarju. Kemm jien u kemm Simon kuntenti bil-kbir li se jkollna lilha tmexxi tal-linja. Madankollu, il-kast kollu huwa tassew eċċezzjonali!” qal Buhagiar. L-ispettaklu magħmul minn kast tal-ġenn fosthom Clive Piscopo, Ronald Briffa, Jamie Cardona, Gilbert Formosa, Marilù Vella, Andre’ Mangion, Leigh-Ann Abela u Josette Ciappara.

Dan il-grupp ġie maħluq permezz ta’ programm ta’ teatru soċjali. Saru għadd ta’ awdizzjonijiet fl-iskejjel u fi gruppi tad-drama fl-irħula. Ħafna mill-atturi magħżula għandhom repertorju ta’ drammi tal-passjoni, spettakli fl-irħula u purċissjonijiet. Il-grupp huwa mmexxi minn atturi nisa tal-esperjenza bħal Christine Francalanza u Alison Abela. Buhagiar jemmen li, “Dan għandu jagħti iktar valur lill-proġett. Minn barra li jagħti divertiment bil-kbir, dan huwa wkoll proġett tal-komunità, proġett soċjali u proġett reġjonali bit-tama li jwassal għal iktar demokratizzazzjoni tat-teatru lokali.”  

Il-kunċett huwa sempliċi. Karozza tal-linja Maltija antika tasal fil-pjazza. L-udjenzi tal-karnival se jiġu msaħħra bl-ilwien, bil-kant, bin-nar, bil-kummiedji u ħafna iktar. L-ispettaklu huwa wkoll interattiv u se jinvolvi l-udjenza. Il-kaptan tal-karozza tal-linja – Mary Rose Mallia – tagħżel xi nies minn fost l-udjenza sabiex jitilgħu fuq tal-linja wkoll. Simon Bartolo kiteb skritt bi stil differenti fejn adattata l-ironija tiegħu għat-teatru tat-triq u s-surrealiżmu. L-iskritt jittratta kwistjonijiet soċjali wkoll bħalma huma l-ambjent, il-lingwa, ir-reliġjon u l-politika. 

Buhagiar, li qed jidderieġi u jipproduċi l-ispettaklu qal, “Wara s-suċċess ta’ dan is-sajf, aħna kburin bil-ħeġġa kbira li ntweriet sabiex jerġa’ jittella’ l-ispettaklu. It-teatru tat-triq u l-karnival għandhom ħafna ħwejjeġ komuni x’jaqsmu. Il-kast huwa entużjast ħafna li jerġa’ joħloq l-karattri kkuluriti tiegħu u nafu li l-udjenza tal-karnival se jieħdu gost ferm bl-ispettaklu.”

Dan il-proġett ġie kofinanzjat minn FOPSIM permezz tal-proġett EU Collective Plays! iffinanzjat minn Creative Europe Programme tal-Unjoni Ewropea. L-ispettaklu se jsir is-Sibt fil-25 ta’ Frar fid-9pm fi Pjazza San Ġorġ fil-Belt Valletta matul il-Karnival Uffiċjali ta’ Malta u l-Ħadd, fis-26 ta’ Frar fit-3pm fuq il-Palk tal-Karnival fir-Rabat matul il-Karnival Uffiċjali ta’ Għawdex.



Last Summer the Malta International Arts Festival hosted what was probably Malta’s largest touring street theatre show.  Over 2500 people turned up and the squares were buzzing with audiences waiting for... a bus. Some came with their own chairs, others sat down on the parvis whilst others stood up close to the cast.

Sean Buhagiar’s B’Tal-Linja Jaqbillek Żgur! was a show that toured the five regions of the Maltese Islands becoming the first theatre project to work regionally since the five regions were established. Kalkara, Birkirkara, Mellieħa, Siġġiewi and Żebbuġ Gozo were the lucky squares. This time, the show is back for our National Carnival Celebrations!

The audience will enjoy the talent of a stellar cast and lively ensemble as the magical bus enters the square, filling it with smoke and bubbles. The cast, led by veteran singer and actress Mary Rose Mallia, gives a very energetic performance during the 50 minute show. The star of the show is Mary Rose Mallia. “I believe Mary Rose Malliia has an amazing talent. Both Simon and myself are extremely pleased to have her captaining our bus. Nonetheless, the whole cast is a real tour-de-force!” said Buhagiar. The show features a great cast with names such as Clive Piscopo, Ronald Briffa, Jamie Cardona, Gilbert Formosa, Marilù Vella, Andre’ Mangion, Leigh-Ann Abela and Josette Ciappara.

The ensemble was created through a social theatre programme. A number of auditions were performed in schools and village drama groups. Many of the chosen ensemble actors come from backgrounds of passion plays, village shows and processions. The ensemble is led by experienced actresses such as Christine Francalanza and Alison Ablea. “This gives a stronger value to the project. Besides being wildly entertaining, this is a community project, a social project, and a regional project which hopefullyl leads to more democratization of local theatre” believes Buhagiar.

The concept is simple. An old Maltese Bus gets to the square. The carnival audiences will then be enthralled with the splashes of colour, song, fire, comedy and much more. The show is also interactive with members of the audience, including the captain of the bus – Mary Rose Mallia – choosing someone from among the audience to board the bus. Simon Bartolo wrote a script with a different style this time – adapting his tongue-in-cheek to street theatre and surrealism. The script also deals with very social issues such as the environment, language, religion and politics.

Buhagiar, who is directing and producing the show, said, “After this summer’s success, we were very proud to present the show again. Street Theatre and Carnival have a lot in common. The cast are more than delighted to re-create their colourful characters, and we are told the carnival audiences will be delighted with the spectacle.”

This project was co-funded by FOPSIM through the EU Collective Plays! project which is funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union. The show will run on Saturday the 25th of February at 9pm in St George’s Square, Valletta during the Official Malta Carnvial and on Sunday the 26th February at 3pm, at the Rabat Carnival Stage during the Official Gozo Carnival.