The Toi Toi experience
John Galea from Malta, member of the World Choir Council, tells us about Toi Toi: A phrase used to wish good luck to an artist before going on stage, is the title of a rich and varied educational programme set up by music therapist and educator, Rosetta Debattista, who believes that honing a love for the arts from a very young age is of intrinsic importance.
The vision of Toi Toi is to inspire all children to be creative and incorporate arts as part of their lifestyle. The mission is to find and foster the next generation of theatre lovers all over the island and strengthen the role of drama and music education.
Most Toi Toi events take place at Teatru Manoel. This prestigious Baroque theatre is situated in Valletta, recently hailed Capital of Culture for 2018. Toi Toi’s events are very much a part of V18’s vision. Since its inception in September 2011, a number of Toi Toi events have been set in motion and become increasingly popular. These include the monthly 022, 325s, 628 concerts for babies and children, theatre tours, treasure hunts, behind the scenes, travels (to schools), workshops, mini concerts and Bonanzas, which include workshops with internationally acclaimed musicians such as Carlos Bonell, Carlo Rizzo, the Ardeo Quartet and Gerard Causse. Events for adults include pre-concert talks and jazz jams. Other events include our popular Baroque Sundays events as well as collaborations during Malta’s annual Ziguzajg children’s festival.
One of Toi Toi’s important initiatives was the youth theatre company TMYT, for people aged between 16 and 20. The weekly sessions culminated in a production entitled ‘ Peculiar Children’ in February 2013. Following the success of TMYT, this year Toi Toi plans on launching its own opera company for the young, TMYO. Communication with schools and educational practitioners has been ongoing in order to ensure awareness of both opportunities and the demand for such an education programme. Toi Toi hopes to link up with several European entities so as to enrich the work that has been done so far.