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Before you go into the Manoel Theatre, read the Latin inscription above the main entrance. It says “ad honestam populi oblectationem” which means that the purpose of the cultural venue is to provide honest entertainment. The 18th-century theater is the home of the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra and presents a rich selection of plays and operas in Maltese and English.
Learn about the theater's history by taking a self-guided tour of its museum. You can do this on any day of the week except Sundays, from morning until late afternoon. Hear about the Portuguese aristocrat António Manoel de Vilhena, who funded the theater’s construction in 1731. He wanted to provide to the general public entertainment which had previously been reserved for affluent families.
See displays of costumes from previous performances. Look at photographs of some of the renowned artistes who have graced the venue's stage and browse old theater brochures and posters. Go into the Baroque auditorium to appreciate the splendor of the décor, including ornate gilt carvings on its tiers of boxes and the large glass chandelier. Admire the pale blue ceiling that resembles the interior of a dome. Handheld audio guides in English are included in the museum entrance fee.
The museum is open throughout the year, but the theater’s performance season runs from the end of September until the beginning of June. Book tickets for plays, concerts, recitals and dance shows. There are also concerts specifically for babies, children, toddlers and teenagers. For the full schedule of events, visit the theater's official website.
You will find Manoel Theatre in the center of the city, just north of the Grandmaster’s Palace. There is a bus stop outside the venue. Leave some time in your day to sightsee nearby attractions such as St. George’s Square, the Embassy Shopping Center and Casa Rocca Piccola.
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