Chosen from amongst hundreds of youth theatre companies from across the Commonwealth, Teatru Manoel Youth Theatre (TMYT) was one of the ten groups of young artists who were given the opportunity to be part of The Tin Forest International Theatre Festival, as part of the Glasgow 2014 Cultural Programme.
This Programme ran alongside the Commonwealth Games and the Festival brought together a whole assembly of cultural variety providing participants with exciting workshops and extremely diverse theatrical experiences. Members of TMYT performed their originally devised piece CLUB directed by Denise Mulholland and choreographed by Warren Bonello. This was first performed during the Żigużajg 2013 Festival.
TMYT member, Luke Saydon described the experience, “Not only did audiences respond so positively to our piece but they were also emotionally engaged to what we were giving them. No satisfaction could be greater than this. Tin Forest opened a gate of opportunities, as well as new friendships and networks between different companies. Working closely with established professional theatre veterans, engaging in cultural exchange, as well as performing to an international audience marks Tin Forest as an experience which will always be a landmark in my acting career.”
Leon Xuereb added that, “The various theatrical traits explored in the workshops, some of which included improvisation, clowning and puppetry, were enriching both on a personal level for me as an actor, as well as in the creation of a theatrical piece.”
Three other TMYT students, Nicola Azzopardi, Ruth Borg and Karen Decelis were chosen as part of The Tin Forest International Performing Company which was made up of young people between the ages of 16-25 from countries all over the Commonwealth – from the UK to India, Australia to Canada and South Africa to New Zealand. Divided in groups, they devised and performed a mesmerising ten minute piece, as well as an installation which was inspired by the book The Tin Forest and which was held in different areas of the Glasgow.
The students were also given the opportunity to see the Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony at Celtic Park. In Karen Decelis’s words, “These two weeks were an unforgettable experience for us. We are very thankful for this unique opportunity given to us by the Teatru Manoel Youth Theatre and the National Theatre of Scotland, as well as the Scottish Youth Theatre.”
Denise Mulholland, who directed and accompanied the group, summed up the whole experience, “Apart from the extremely positive impression the performances given by TMYT left on the other member groups and the audiences, the whole event was a fantastic opportunity to build networks with other groups and festival organisers from different countries. This will undoubtedly lead to further interesting exchanges in the future.”
Ray Attard, Teatru Manoel CEO, stated, “This is a very satisfying outcome of this first overseas TMYT project and we are extremely proud of our new cultural ambassadors. This justifies the investment we are making in this field in not only giving our local artists an opportunity to expand their horizons overseas, but also to showcase to the outside world our local talent.”
CLUB is part of the recently launched Malta Showcase which aims to give local artists a helping hand in exploring overseas markets.
The TMYT members taking part were: Andrea Baldacchino, Antonella Mifsud, Bettina Paris, Justin Mamo, Karen Decelis, Leon Xuereb, Luke Saydon, Mattea Fenech, Michaela Fenech, Nicola Azzopardi, Philippa Cassar, Rebecca Camilleri, Robyn Vella, Rommel Grech, Ruth Borg, Sandie von Brockdorff and Stefanie Weenink.
TMYT is part of Toi Toi, Teatru Manoel’s Education Programme which is devised and run by Rosetta Debattista.
Look out for audition dates for a new intake of TMYT on www.teatrumanoel.com.mt