“I’m still a director,” says Zammit Tabona; ‘no, you’re not’, says the CEO

The artistic director of the Manoel Theater said he was “not allowed to operate” in his role and was not consulted by the board on any aspect of the theater’s operation despite the fact that was under contract until April 2023.

Kenneth Zammit Tabona said Malta weather on Saturday, he was sidelined completely and had no involvement in the running of the national theater in any way.

His comments are controversial after the play by Mario Philip Azzopardi Ix-Xiha was canceled, weeks before it was scheduled amid an outcry over the inflammatory portrayal of a character modeled on murdered journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Politician and playwright criticizes cancellation of Mario Philip Azzopardi’s play

Following the decision to cancel the play, the artistic community called on the theater to appoint an artistic director to ensure the proper management of the Manoel.

His comments come amid controversy after the cancellation of Mario Philip Azzopardi’s play Ix-Xiħa, weeks before it was staged amid outcry over the incendiary portrayal of a modeled character on murdered journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia”

But when contacted, Zammit Tabona insisted there was no need for an art director since he still held the position.

“I’m still the art director although I’m no longer involved,” he said.

In October, the Manoel Theater launched a call for a new artistic director, but the advertisement was withdrawn within hours. At the time management said Zammit Tabona had not been sacked but would move to Festivals Malta so he could oversee the Baroque Festival.

Zammit Tabona insisted he was not consulted on Azzopardi’s game and in fact was the one who advised the board against playing the game more than two years ago.

“Now the council has decided to stage the play without consulting me. My objections weren’t just about Daphne, although that was a big part of it. But it was also because he was full of swear words. “I couldn’t imagine people would want to sit for two whole hours,” Zammit Tabona said.

The artistic director said he had spoken about how he had been sidelined on several occasions and now hoped the matter would be addressed shortly, although he did not elaborate.

Termination letter sent

When contacted, Manoel Theater CEO Massimo Zammit said a termination letter had been sent to Zammit Tabona informing him that he was no longer artistic director. Malta weather has seen a scanned copy of this letter although permission to publish it has not been granted for data protection reasons.

According to Zammit, a memorandum of understanding was signed stating that the International Baroque Festival was to be moved under the responsibility of Festivals Malta. In light of this, Zammit Tabona was transferred to oversee this festival and that’s when he ceased to be Manoel’s artistic director, Zammit said.

But Zammit Tabona said he had received no letter and all he had was a note from JobsPlus saying he had changed jobs.

“I have never changed jobs and if they claim there is a letter of dismissal, it is not true. My contract will not be terminated until I receive a letter from the president saying that I have I have not yet received such a letter,” he said. Zammit Tabona said he was ready to take the case to court if the theater insisted on terminating his contract before April 2023.

Attempts to contact Culture Minister Owen Bonnici, who has just taken over the ministry after the legislative elections, have proved fruitless.

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