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Manoel Theatre

The oldest theatre still used till today

The Manoel Theatre was constructed in 1731 by Antonio Manoel de Vilhena, a Grandmaster of the Knights of St. John with the intention of providing an “honest recreation of the people” in the heart of Valletta, a purpose which is recorded in a Latin inscription above the main entrance. It is actually one of the oldest theatres in Europe where acting and music are still performed on stage till this very day. 

The opening night for the Manoel Theatre was on the 9th of January, 1732 with a performance of ‘Merope’, a classic tragedy by Scipione Maffei. The theatrical sector in Malta developed along the Maltese history, it was almost shut down during the times of the French, and it started flourishing again during the British rule. 

Later in the 19th century, the Royal Opera House was built, rendering the Manoel Theatre useless. However the Opera House was completely destroyed during the Second World War and the Manoel Theatre was turned back to life. 

Since then, the theatre has been fully restored to its earlier glory and is beautiful to look at; it is a wonderful setting in its own right. The Manoel Theatre is now officially Malta’s National Theatre and continues to enjoy the high standard of both and local artists. Regular performances of music, drama and other arts take place throughout the year till this very day.

Attached to the theatre is a museum that was set up by the Fondazzjoni Patrimonju Malti as a tribute to three centuries of Theatrical History in Malta, exhibiting a range of memorabilia that collected from a wide range of sources, both public and private. 

To know what performances are being held at the Manoel Theatre from time to time, have a look at the events happening in Malta, in particular the concerts and the theatre sections.

Valletta Building Fortification 115, Old Theatre Street, Valletta UNESCO site ? no Website +356 2122 2618
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Entrance to the Manoel Theatre in Valletta Aerial view of the manoel theatre valletta Stage and stalls the manoel theatre valletta Beautiful stall at the manoel theatre Internal staircase at the manoel theatre valletta Detailled decoration at the manoel theatre valletta. Seating and stalls fo the the manoel theatre valletta Stalls and celing of the manoel theatre valletta main stage of the manoel theatre valletta.

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