Need some COVID-secure, family-friendly entertainment? Then head (virtually) over to the Teatru Manoel, as an exciting new season of the ever-popular Toi Toi programme is about to begin!
Widely considered to be the leading arts education programme in Malta, Teatru Manoel’s Toi Toi programme has been making the Arts accessible for children of all ages since 2011, while supporting emerging local talent. Each new season brings tailored educational events designed for babies to teenagers – and beyond – to find the joy of music, dance, the Maltese language, drama and creativity.
“Toi Toi remains so popular because it connects with our audience of all ages through music, drama and dance,” says Kate Fenech Field, manager of the Toi Toi Education Programme. “Toi Toi is renowned for being interactive, bringing out the creative side not just of the children in the audience but also their parents, caregivers and teachers. This year, COVID-19 has disrupted our plans, but the team has worked to ensure that the new season is safe, yet still has Toi Toi’s signature interactive quality.”
Although the Toi Toi programme is in its tenth year, the new season has been dubbed Season 9.5 in the hope that shows to live audiences will once again be possible by next Autumn. “Live shows have not been possible due to social-distancing restrictions so most of Season 9.5 is being filmed, actively creating new work opportunities for around fifty freelance performers. The online season can be found on our website and Facebook videos that we aim to release weekly,” Ms Fenech Field continues.
Besides Ms Fenech Field, the Toi Toi team is comprised of artistic consultants specialised in different disciplines, including Daniela Said (Music), Dorian Mallia and Diane Portelli (Dance), Simone Ellul (Maltese Language), Sean Borg (Baby Series), Michael Richardson (TTC and TMYT) and Nicole Sciberras (Creative Associate). This range of artistic expertise has once again created a wide-ranging programme for the new Toi Toi season.
The lieder-based show ‘Bert the Shoe-Man’, written and directed by baritone Miguel Rosales, will feature a cast of young singers, while the newly-devised piece ‘Say Hello to Opera!’ will be led by soprano Francesca Aquilina.
Dance lovers will adore ‘Twinkle Tap Toes’, a dance show choreographed and performed by world tap dancing champion Gabriele Farinacci, as well as ‘Dali’, a show by Dorian Mallia and Diane Portelli exploring Salvador Dali’s work and ‘Playground Pastimes’, directed and choreographed by Pamela Kerr and featuring Jade Farrugia and Amy DeGaetano.
Clare Azzopardi’s and Matt Stroud’s Maltese language series ‘Emme’ will be brought to life by Angele Galea, featuring a puppetry introduction by Sean Briffa. Puppetry enthusiasts will also love the hilarious ‘Puppet-tastic’, written and performed by Jeremy Grech and Sean Briffa, while Neil Grima introduces a new puppet in ‘Shirley the Sheep’.
A highlight of the Baby Series will be ‘Tommy & Tammy’s Christmas Tree’, written and performed by Gianni Selvaggi.
Meanwhile, a new recital series has been designed for audiences aged 16 and over.
Mexican Tenor Luis Aguilar, accompanied by Christine Zerafa, will sing Neapolitan song, while Baroque Song will be performed by Clare Ghigo, accompanied on the classical guitar by Charlotte Smith. Maltese Song will be performed by Nicola Said accompanied by Gisele Grima, Crossover Song by Julie James accompanied by George Formosa, and
Dorothy Bezzina will perform her specialty accompanied by Edward Mifsud.
The programme’s also features an exciting new collaboration between Toi Toi and Ziguzajg. In ‘Superhero Comic Opera: Trouser Girl – An Opera for Young Audiences’, children will be introduced to opera in an accessible and fun way.
Apart from continuing the work of its theatre training programme, Toi Toi also includes the Young Producers Project, where local artists aged 16-30 are mentored and supported by a team of experts.
More information about Teatru Manoel’s Toi Toi Season 9.5 may be found online at www.teatrumanoel.com.mt