Built in the 18th century, the Manoel Theatre in Valletta is one of the oldest working theatres in Europe. It was constructed by the Grand Master of the Order of St. John Antonio Manoel de Vilhena with the intention of providing noble entertainment for the Order’s knights. The Latin motto Ad honesta populi oblectaconem (for the honest recreation of the people) can still be seen today as an inscription at the entrance to the theatre.
The Manoel Theatre was designed by the renowned Baroque architect Romano Carapecchia and was inaugurated in 1732 with a performance of Merope, a classic tragedy by Scipione Maffei. The theatre’s oval hall, which holds close to 600 spectators, is designed in Baroque style and is decorated with wonderful carving. Its shape and design produce amazing acoustics inside the hall, and this make it a perfect venue for different types of live performances.
During the 19th century, the British government in Malta built the Royal Opera House and this became the main theatre in Valletta. The Manoel had become less popular until the World War II when the Royal Opera House was destroyed and the Manoel theatre was eventually restored and brought back to its glory.
Nowadays the Manoel theatre has become the centre of Maltese culture. It is committed to entertain, inform, and educate its audience while enriching their cultural life.
If you’re staying in Valletta, make sure to experience a live performance or else just book one of their tours to explore this amazing baroque jewel. The most amazing thing about staying at the Embassy Valletta Hotel is that the Manoel theatre is just 5 minutes’ walk away!
Guided tours are available from Monday to Thursday, between 10.00am and 12.30pm at 30-minute intervals. Anyone visiting the theatre must abide to any health regulations related to the current Covid19 pandemic.