On Thursday 27 April 2017 the MCAST Institute for the Creative Arts showcased the works in progress on the production of Giuseppe Verdi’s Aida which will be staged in Spanga, Friesland in July/August 2018 and in Valletta, Malta in September 2018 as part of the Valletta 2018 productions.  This opera is one of the highlights of the European Capital of Culture 2018 Cultural Programme both in Malta and Valletta’s twin, Leeuwarden.

The AIDA 2018 project was conceived early in 2016 when various stakeholders met in Leeuwarden.  The project involves students from a variety of departments from both Malta and Friesland, working together in collaboration with a real theatre production house – Opera Spanga – that has engaged an international cast for the event. Students are being directed by Ms Corina van Eijk, Artistic Director of the Opera Spanga, in collaboration with members of the Opera Spanga team, and with the assistance of the professional staff from MCAST and Friesland College’s design arm – D’Drive. Charles & Ron, Maltese design professionals, are also participants in this didactic project.

The production will see the involvement of an international cast of seven soloists, a Dutch orchestra and a Maltese choir of 25-30 singers, and will be set within the contemporary context of war in Syria, Egypt and Ethiopia.  Verdi’s original score will be used yet with a contemporary, avant-garde setting.

This project is multi-disciplinary and also multiple-institute. All the departments within MCAST’s Institute for the Creative Arts are collaborating with the Institute of Engineering and Transport – Building and Construction, and the Institute of Community Services.  Apart from being a multi –institute and multi-disciplinary project it also involves professional collaborators in the performing industry in Malta, namely the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra and Pjazza Teatru Rjal, together with some voluntary choral singers from Voices.

Different MCAST workgroups are currently undergoing works in the following areas.  Performing Arts students are working on the acting and stage hands, Fashion Design and Jewellery students on design and production of costumes and accessories, Cultural Heritage students on the production of heritage accessories, Fine Arts students on the storyboarding and asset creation, Photography students on the photography of scenes for animation, Graphic Design students on animation for projection as part of the set, Spatial Design students on set and prop design, Carpentry and Joinery students on the production of set and props, Media Moving Image students on the green screen filming, editing, and production sequences and compositing and the Hair and Beauty students on the Hair, wigs and make-up design and production. The underlying link between VET and the industry is undoubtedly one of the strengths of this interdisciplinary project which falls in line with MCAST’s mission statement.

MCAST, is a member of the Valletta 2018 board of governors and is working on a number of projects with the Foundation.  Besides the opera the College is also working on a web portal, a children’s book, info pods, the setting up of commercial companies and a sustainable souvenir.