Retractible roof being mulled for Pjazza Teatru Rjal

Government wants to build national concert hall

The government will be studying the possibility of installing a retractible roof on Renzo Piano's Pjazza Teatru Rjal.

Culture Minister Owen Bonnici said the studies to be carried out would respect the aesthetics of the site while analysing ways to increase the potential of the site. 

The Valletta open-air theatre, on the site of the former opera house, is loved and loathed in equal measure - with the beauty of the site being weighed down by weather limitations and sound problems. "We will consult with everyone," 

"We will consult with everyone," Dr Bonnici told a Labour Party news conference ahead of the June 3 election.

Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said the Valletta site is underutilised, with residents even preparing a class action which risked putting the theatre out of business.

"My information is that the roof wasn't built because the previous administration did not have funds for it. We are looking at the vaults underground - we will see if it's culturally and environmentally possible."

Dr Bonnici said a new Labour government would probe the possibility of building a national concert hall which would host the national orchestra, ŻfinMalta as well as other national entities.

Every year, he said, a locality would be chosen as the cultural capital of the year to incentivise cultural input, adding that a new cooling system was being installed at the Manoel Theatre.

While government investment in culture had doubled, he said the government had invested €85 million to restore 80 historical places during this legislature.

The PL is also proposing to extend the preferential 7.5 per cent tax rate on income introduced two years ago for sportspeople to those who earn a living in the arts. Artistes will also be given the possibility to average their income over three years for tax purposes to smoothen the peaks and lows in income experienced by many in the sector.




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