The impact of the pandemic on the Valletta Cultural Agency, as a public Cultural Organisation, was not small and artists were among the most negatively affected.

“Cultural events almost stopped however, I am proud to say that the Agency pushed on to transform and adapt its programme to be in conformity with the measures put in place by the Health Authorities,” said Catherine Tabone, CEO of the Valletta Cultural Agency.

Among the events held in 2020 were those taking place as part of The Strada Stretta Concept, the first part of The Secret Garden and the Malta International Double Bass Days that took place online, while other projects were held for a live audience. These included the summer events Cinema City, Teatru Gallarija, and Tempo. Meanwhile, the Valletta Pageant of the Seas, was televised and broadcast on TVM.

The series of three concerts Beethoven at Home started in November while the immensely varied Christmas in the City, which included Opera in the City, Blind Date with a Book and Christmas Projections, among other events, took place in December.

The VCA has also launched the process to kickstart the next European Capital of Culture in 2031.

As legacy of the Valletta 2018 Foundation, the Agency has worked hard to strengthen the positive impact of culture on the economy, on society and on activities in Valletta. The Legal Notice that establishes the Agency, highlights the importance of its work to regenerate Valletta.

Meanwhile, a study carried out by KPMG shows that Valletta 2018 generated over €300 million in direct input to the Maltese economy while there was €650 million in investment and an increase in the GDP and in tourism which led tourists to stay in Valletta, attend events and dine in Valletta restaurants.

In 2019 and 2020, the VCA continued to work on sustaining this legacy while supporting artists, offering masterclasses and providing national and international opportunities.

Despite the impact of Covid 19, a varied and vibrant programme of a high standard of excellence is planned for 2021. Besides the ongoing events, several public calls for artistic proposals will be issued while the photography programme TNAX continues. In spring, the Opera Written on Skin, penned by British composer George Benjamin, who is universally recognised as one of the best composers of our time and awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement in Music by the Venice Biennale, will be aired on TVM.

Meanwhile, the play Vari – based on a novel by Trevor Zahra and 7 Visti: Minn Fuq il-Għolja – a programme of Gregorian chant and Lenten reflections by Alexander Vella Gregory and the all-male choir Cappella Sanctae Catherinae, will be aired on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday on TVM.

The VCA programme offers quality events, something for everyone and initiatives to attract people to Valletta.