The Malta Independent 9 December 2019, Monday

Promoting culture in the communities

Owen Bonnici Friday, 9 August 2019, 07:55 Last update: about 5 months ago

The Ministry’s three priorities in culture are to bring culture closer to the people, increasing professionalism in the sector and to increase economic contribution through culture.

During the year these are all taken in consideration when organizing the numerous events held, practically, every week.

Our emphasis on the importance of culture in our lives is backed by the notion that through culture, people and groups define themselves, conform to society's shared values, and contribute to society. Culture is a means to unite all. Furthermore, culture promotes community participation, enhances the understanding of local traditions, promotes them even with foreigners, but also, contribute to our country’s economy in more ways than one.

That is why my team and I give the utmost importance to this sector, which has grown considerably in the recent years and has been a catalyst of job creation within the sector, increasing employment and also increasing the awareness of what the country has to offer, tradition and culture wise.

We are backing this marvellous journey through this sector by enhancing our product, not only through schemes aiding the artist and all those connected to this sector, but also by bringing back to life our precious world renowned historical patrimony. We have never seen such a large scale restoration process going on in our islands as we are seeing in these recent years.

 

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Summer months used to bring a lull to culture activities in the communities. Apart from the events mainly organised by Festivals Malta, there was a lack of activities going on in our towns and villages. Not anymore. We are endorsing and also supporting cultural events taking place around the island, which are becoming crowd pullers and also establishing themselves in the local events calendar.

As can be said of the Summer Carnival which will be taking place in the coming days, between 23 and 25 August.

Organised in collaboration with several Local Councils, the Summer Carnival is characterised by street parades in seaside villages.  This is practically a smaller scale of the popular Winter Carnival, with floats which are generally smaller. This year we will see a total of 13 floats, one of which will be coming from Gozo and 5 dancing schools.

Events such as the Summer Carnival help strengthen the local cultural calendar during this time of year. Carnival celebrations are well sought both by locals and visitors alike, and through the organisation of the summer carnival, not only are we enhancing a unique initiative, but we’re also reaching out to our communities by organising such events in different localities and reaching a wider audience.

This year the Summer Carnival will be adding another venue to the usual St Paul’s Bay and Marsascala. In fact for the first time, we are also taking the Summer Carnival to Birżebbuġa, with a street parade featuring a variety of decorative floats accompanied by groups of young dancers.

The summer carnival kicks off in St Paul’s Bay on Friday 23rd August at 7:30pm with a Gran Défilé that starts from Dawret il-Gżejjer.  On Saturday, the défilé will start from near the Santana Hotel at 7.30pm and will then move along to Islet Promenade, culminating in Buġibba square.  On Saturday, the Summer Carnival will also take its cheer to Birzebbuga.  The street parade will start at 7:30pm from the Bus Terminus and will proceed along the coast of pretty bay. On Sunday, the festivities move to Marsascala where the parade, featuring the participation of the Sant’ Anna Band, will take on a new route from Żonqor to Marsascala centre at 7.30pm.  

Another initiative from Festivals Malta for the summer carnival this year was the collaboration with University and MCAST Students whereby students were invited to submit artistic illustrations representing the summer carnival which will be used for promotional purposes.  This initiative is one of several efforts taken up by Festivals Malta to reach wider audiences and to create contact points where the younger members of the community can engage.

And this is after all another of our priorities in culture, that of fostering the love of culture at a young age to those who in a couple of years’ time will be, in turn, administering our patrimony.

 

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Our cultural strategy is providing more platforms for further professionalization within the sector, and through such projects we enhancing this sector, and providing further outlets for the deliverance of original productions and making culture and the arts more accessible to society.

Through Arts Council Malta, the ministry is assisting the commissioning of original musical theatre productions in Maltese by supporting shows such as ‘Il-Kbir Għadu Ġej’, whilst also supporting new talent and youth working with established artists.

Thanks to such initiatives, we are promoting and strengthening local productions.

 ‘Il-Kbir Għadu Ġej’ is an original musical in Maltese penned by Malcolm Galea. The songs are all part of Malta’s own king of rock ‘n roll Freddie Portelli’s extensive discography. With the direction of Sean Buhagiar, and under the musical arrangement of Mro Dominic Galea, this musical promises nostalgia and with a cast of more than 50 performers, it will be a night to remember!

‘Il-Kbir Għadu Ġej’ premieres this evening with shows till this Sunday and again on the 14th up till Sunday the 18th at the Mediterranean Conference Centre in Valletta.

The show is in Maltese, but will also have subtitles for those who are not Maltese speaking.

‘Il-Kbir Għadu Ġej’ is-supported by the Ministry for Justice, Culture and Local Government’s Arts Council Malta.

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