BUILDING OUR FUTURE

The Juventutis Domus has been an active building for over 110 years. It has played a vital role as a cultural space for different communities of people. It was a home for university students in the early 1900s in which they furthered their social and educational development with particular focus on the arts, served as a cinema for hundreds of children from the 1930s and is now providing a space for artists who need a place to test out new creative ventures. The theatre was built for the community and has been of service to it for all these years.

Teatru Salesjan is not a museum. Time has not stopped still within these walls. The music may have changed but the young people are still coming to the Teatru to dance, sing and act, to write, to paint and to laugh and form the friendships that will last a lifetime. This old building has to renew itself for each generation of youngsters who find fascination in its old fly-towers and the narrow corridors under the stage.
 
Seeing the wonder on the faces of the young people who come along and start to understand how a theatre works is priceless. Teatru Salesjan is a magical place, so quiet and dark when it’s empty yet so alive and humming with activity when we open our doors to an audience and the place starts to fill up.
 
Chris Briffa Architects understand this all too well. Whilst preserving the much-loved patina of the old building they have tried hard to give the Teatru Salesjan a new lease of life creating flexible environments that suit the needs of today and answer to the hopes of a new generation.
Throughout 2017, Teatru Salesjan ran a project called commUNITY, which underlined the importance of volunteerism as a tool to help create a modern integrated society in Sliema. This project enabled the theatre to effectively strengthen its position as a space for the community, maintained through the culture of voluntary work.
 
Local architectural firm Chris Briffa Architects was commissioned to create an architectural masterplan, which would help transform the theatre building into a contemporary, accessible arts centre for the community.
 
The plans exhibited propose a contemporary redesign of structural and aesthetic elements that were added over the years, removal and re-construction of the side annex, and the creation of two new performance spaces. These plans showcase the original features of this old building in the midst of a sleek contemporary design.

The commUNITY project has been funded through the Voluntary Organisations Project Scheme managed by the Malta Council for the Voluntary Sector on behalf of the Parliamentary Secretary for Youth, Sport and Voluntary Organisations