The Malta Independent 22 August 2019, Thursday

Creating something Unforgettable

Tuesday, 5 February 2019, 09:01 Last update: about 8 months ago

Actor, director, culture advisor and strategist Toni Attard is the founder of Culture Venture, a small creative enterprise that makes big creative ideas work, and whose focus is to champion the arts and work with artists, arts organisations, and creative professionals. Culture Venture’s next project is Unforgettable, the first concert to be held in Malta by dynamic young tenor Nico Darmanin.

A dedicated professional in the sector, Toni Attard can trace his love of the arts back to his childhood. "When I was still little, my playtime was characterised by devised performances, puppet shows and improvisation in my mother's hairdressing salon," he recalls fondly. "Friends and family had to endure my drama both 'on stage' and 'off stage'. As a summer project I once attempted to build a scale model in cardboard of the Manoel Theatre. I abandoned the project after the first tier collapsed on my stage!"


Childhood dramatics notwithstanding, Toni explains that he only started considering a career in the creative industry after finishing his first degree. He professes that he truly believes in the transformation that the arts and culture can bring to communities and cities, and wanted to transform that belief into action. "As an actor and theatre director, the arts provide me with breathing space to co-create and share diverse experiences with audiences," he enthuses. "While, as producer, I love to work with passionate and ambitious artists who are eager to push their own boundaries, take creative risks and are excited to make their big ideas happen."

It took Toni a further 11 years to think about launching his own creative start-up that brings together his passions as artist, policy-maker, and producer. Since its foundation last year, Culture Venture has produced Alex Attard's photography exhibition Parallel Existences; Nuna Palk, a children's theatre festival with Teatru Salesjan; and the multidisciplinary performance Verbi by the Barumbara collective. On his choices as a creative producer, Toni states that he is always looking for talent, passion and potential. 

Culture Venture's next project is Unforgettable, the first concert to be held in Malta by Maltese tenor Nico Darmanin. Darmanin is a young singer who is making a name for himself in the opera world; another young and supremely gifted Maltese artist who is achieving great successes abroad.

"I've known Nico for some years and have been following his career since I first directed him in the opera The Magic Flute," says Toni, explaining why he opted to produce Unforgettable. "Not only is his career going from strength to strength but he's also diversifying his repertoire even further. Nico always wanted to present something different to audiences in Malta, and bringing back the Golden Oldies with his unique classical voice for Valentine's day sounded like the perfect introduction."

Toni is convinced that Nico's talent, charm and charisma, matched with the incredible sound of the Big Band Brothers and the beautiful voice of Jasmine Abela, promise to create a truly unforgettable concert. "I suspect audiences will have to hold back from dancing in the aisles but they will definitely be tapping their toes in their seats," Toni says with a smile. "Seeing the grandeur of the Gran Salon of the Archaeology Museum being filled with the music performed by a 14-piece brass band, with Nico and Jasmine's voices interpreting some classics immortalised by greats such as Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole and Tony Bennett, among others, is going to be pure magic... It will be a concert over three unique nights to be shared with music lovers across generations."


Unforgettable - A Concert by Nico Darmanin will take place on 14, 15 and 16 February 2019 at the National Museum of Archaeology, Valletta. Tickets at €45 are available from

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