Manoel Theatre

Valletta, Malta

The Manoel Theatre is one of the oldest working theatres in Europe. Constructed in 1731 by the Grand Master Antonio Manoel de Vilhena the theatre is a baroque gem with a wonderful acoustic and a full calendar of events populated by local and international performers, with productions in English and Maltese.

The theatre is located on Old Theatre Street in Valletta. It considers itself as the country's national theatre and the home of Malta Philharmonic Orchestra. Originally called the Teatro Pubblico, its name was changed to Teatro Reale, or Theatre Royal, in 1812, and renamed Manoel Theatre in 1866. The first play to be performed was Maffei's Merope. The theatre is a small, 623 seat venue, with an oval-shaped auditorium, three tiers of boxes constructed entirely of wood, decorated with gold leaf, and a pale blue trompe-l'oeil ceiling that resembles a round cupola.

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Founded: 1731
Category: Miscellaneous historic sites in Malta

Rating

4.6/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

IasminaYelMar (9 months ago)
As the Manoel theater is the first theater to be built in Europe, you must visit it. The guide was very kind and very clear w/ the history info Unfortunately we couldn't visit the museum and the other parts of the building because of some works taking place in that moment. Magical place.
Nabil Ramirez (10 months ago)
The acoustics in this place are top notch! I switched seats during intermission just to see if the upper two levels got good sound resonance — and they did! Very impressive! I saw the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra and they are amazing, including their guest Greek pianist. This place can double as an opera house so it would have been nice to see the opera here too with the big Italian influence Malta has. It does get hot inside during the summer because they have no air conditioner (or at least not when I visited) — so be sure to bring a fan with you! Could double Enjoy the arts! :)
Stu Radley (11 months ago)
If you are ever staying in or close to Valletta and want to do something different one evening then I cannot recommend this highly enough. Compared to the UK the ticket prices are very reasonable ranging from 36 to 45 euros. We chose to try out one of the boxes on the 1st floor which whilst advertising as suitable for 4 was a bit cramped with some restrictions on the views. But for me this was about the whole experience of the night and whilst sitting in the stalls would have given us a better view the box just added something extra special. The theatre itself is undergoing some renovations so the frontage was covered up and there was a distinct lack of toilets that UK theatre goers would struggle with but the interior was simply stunning as I hope the pictures show. We watched The Band's Visit which was a delightful show with great acting and even better singing. My one criticism would be the heat which was pretty overbearing however that aside if you want to experience good quality theatre in a beautiful setting I cannot recommend this highly enough!!
ivana vanja (12 months ago)
Antonio Manoel de Vilhena, Grand Master of the Knights of Malta, financed the construction of a theater in 1731 in order to keep the young members of the order of knights from mischief, and to offer "honest entertainment" to the citizens. The first performance took place on January 19, 1732. The theater was the center of cultural events until the opening of the Royal Opera House on October 9, 1866, which took over. That's when the "fight for supremacy" between the two objects began. As early as 1873, the Opera building was damaged by fire, so cultural life returned to the Manoel Theatre. After the restoration that lasted for three years, operas, ballets, and theater performances have been held again in the Royal Opera House since 1877. During the Second World War, in 1942, the building was hit during a bombing and everything returned to the Theater again. The Manoel Theater has been reconstructed several times. By purchasing the surrounding buildings, the Theater was expanded, the stage was extended, boxes were added, wardrobes were expanded, and the plan is to expand the reception area - the ticket office, as well as the opening of a cafe-restaurant within the Theater.
Gwen Loyal (13 months ago)
We decided to go to the ''private lives'' show when visiting malta to see the theater. The theater was so beautiful. We were sitting upstairs in the gallery which was a great spot to watch the show but I would recommend people to sit downstairs to have a bit of a better view.
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