The Malta Independent 19 December 2018, Wednesday

Inspiration via theatrical immersion

Coryse Borg Tuesday, 13 March 2018, 13:53 Last update: about 10 months ago

Coryse Borg speaks to James Spiteri, who has been creative director of Teatru Salesjan in Sliema for the past seven years, about the new and exciting future of the iconic theatre and, more specifically, about a new venture called Nuna Palk due to make its debut with its first production later this month

First all, tell us a bit about your background...

I am a theatre studies graduate from the University of Malta, after which I did an MA in the Creative Industries in London. In 2011, I was asked to be part of the new management of Teatru Salesjan and became one of its directors after becoming a registered voluntary organisation. Professionally I work as a producer with Stargate Studios, and I do work for Teatru Salesjan as a volunteer. 


How did Nuna Palk come about? What is its main aim?

Nuna Palk is a collaboration between Toni Attard of Culture Venture) and Teatru Salesjan. Our aim is to create a programme of events for families - with a clear focus towards young children. Clowning show 'Ernesto & Bianca' will be the first production of the Nuna Palk theatre season.

What is different and unique about this particular project?

Teatru Salesjan is a community theatre in the middle of a fast developing city. One of the goals of Nuna Palk is to encourage the whole family from child to Nanna to join the fun. That underlines our community mission.

Why should people come to watch it?

Nuna Palk is not only about the shows we put up, but the experience we manage to create at the theatre. We want to help audiences immerse themselves in this fun world of theatre. 

Why is it so important for children and young people to go to the theatre? How can Teatru Salesjan help?

Children and young people need inspiration in their life. We can present stories and situations that can help create awareness and send pertinent messages across. 

What's next for Teatru Salesjan?

We are currently working on developing our programme of events. At the moment we have two in-house initiatives - TS Choir and Chamber and Roaring Voices (Shakespeare Youth Theatre project). We are also working with two in-house creative collaborators - Studio 18 and Opening Doors Association - to create initiatives for young people.


To find out more about Teatru Salesjan check out the website or their Facebook page. There is also a dedicated Nuna Palk page -

Ernesto & Bianca

Maltese actor Jacob Piccinino and French actress Heloise Suire will perform their original clowning show Ernesto & Bianca as the first production of the Nuna Palk children's theatre season at Teatru Salesjan.

Using an invented language, Ernesto is on a mission to impress Bianca, but the question remains whether he will succeed with his obsessively timed and perfectly laid out tea party for two. Wearing red noses, Ernesto and Bianca have no filters for their emotions. When they do try to hide what they are feeling, what follows is a series of comic situations driven by an obsessive attempt to keep up appearances.

Ernesto & Bianca is ultimately a story about two characters who truly need each other but are too afraid to take any further steps. Their story and relationship does not need words, or comprehensible vocabulary, to be understood.

The clowning performance knows its origins in Paris in June of 2016 when Piccinino and Suire collaborated as students of the École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq.

After the success of the first performance in Paris, Jacob decided to continue developing the performance for young audiences with Heloise, who played the original Bianca.

The new show premiered with critical acclaim during the last edition of ZiguZajg festival and is currently being developed further for the Nuna Palk presentation and international touring.

Ernesto & Bianca is recommended for children above the ages of 7 and will be performed at Teatru Salesjan, Sliema from 16 to 18 March at 6.30pm. Tickets, available from, start at €8 with a special offer for families that will provide a free ticket for Nannu or Nanna.

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