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The 2019 Malta International Arts Festival Returns in Style!

Floating stage sets the scene for this year's highly anticipated event!

Photo by Joseph Agius Attard

This year’s highly-anticipated Malta International Arts Festival (MIAF) – which will run between June 28 and July 14 – will feature a vast range of fascinating and appealing cultural events, from virtuoso music performances to spectacular dance movements and theatrical works.

The festival’s main attraction this year, however, is the ‘Fernandes’, a Turkish sailing vessel that will be transformed into a floating stage – where quite a few performances will be taking place.

Festivals Malta director Annabelle Stivala said this year’s arts festival is special. “The MIAF is also the longest festival in our portfolio, and one we are thrilled to see return – especially with such an exciting programme for our audiences.”

Ruben Zahra, Annabelle Stivala - Photo by Joseph Agius Attard
Annabelle Stivala - Photo by Joseph Agius Attard

Ruben Zahra, Annabelle Stivala - Photo by Joseph Agius Attard
Ruben Zahra, Annabelle Stivala - Photo by Joseph Agius Attard

“This is an adventure and a challenging journey for me,” said artistic director Ruben Zahra on board the ‘Fernandes’ during the festival’s programme launch. “One of the priorities in my vision for this year’s arts festival is not only to present a programme of artistic excellence but to create something that also provides a unique experience within a local context.”

In fact, audiences will be able to enjoy eight productions in seven localities around Malta: Marsaxlokk, Marsascala, Senglea, Kalkara, Sliema, St Julian’s and Valletta. Meanwhile, the MIAF team is working hand-in-hand with the local councils to try to involve new audiences, while also using the Mediterranean Sea as a stage and background.

“Those taking part in the arts festival will be performing on this amazing floating stage, while audiences will be watching from land,” Zahra explained.

Photo by Joseph Agius Attard
Photo by Joseph Agius Attard

However, audiences can also watch from on board the ‘Fernandes’ itself in a project called ‘Harbour Odyssey’, a unique sunset tour-performance around the Grand Harbour, accompanied by musicians, actors, acrobats and circus-artists. Through a historical narrative, this trip will explore the harbour’s history and mythology, incorporating heritage with culture.

“The Neolithic Temples of Hagar Qim will serve as a background to two productions being held in collaboration with Heritage Malta – in the same way that the sea will serve as a stage for the MIAF,” Zahra added. “This is yet another example of how the arts festival does not simply offer a spectacle of dance or a mere concert but a unique experience that truly values our cultural identity.”

The MIAF team is working closely with a number of organisations in the run-up to the festival, including Teatru Malta, the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, Żfin Malta, Spazju Kreattiv, the Chinese Cultural Centre, the British Council and the Israeli embassy, among others.

The MIAF runs between June 28 and July 14. Tickets are available online at For more information and updates about the events programme, visit and


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