Terra Verunt 2017 was an interdisciplinary, immersive piece on the subject of Child Migration. The piece was inspired by the mass migration of Maltese children to Australia and the exile of Spanish children escaping from the civil war. It reflected on the current state of affairs in relation to the Syrian, Ethiopian, and Libyan children who arrive in Malta, without identification, and who are forced into detention.
With original soundtrack by Renzo Spiteri, choreography by Lucía Piquero and dramaturgy by Erica Muscat, the piece followed 9 migrant children on a journey from or to their migrant home. It spoke of the excitement and trepidation in leaving family and home for a new land and, for the returning migrant, the weight borne from years of being severed from their home country. Thanks to the support of MaltaFilm, a further element was inaugurated into the performance – that of a featurette that ran in parallel to the performance. Not only did it offer yet another facet to what was happening in the story of these children, but through carefully constructed choreography and a precise soundtrack, the action on screen worked directly with the artists in the space to tell a story that went beyond the realm of the space at Splendid.
The aim of the performance was to offer an opportunity for the audience to “live” through and identify with their own version of this journey. This was an experiential work with actors and dancers filling in the roles of the young migrants with a soundtrack that slowly submerged the audience into a world mirroring the current migrant experience. It offered the audience the opportunity to play and integrate with the children, moving across spaces, not limited to a singular story-line but multi-directional, to create their own unique journeys.
The event ran over a 24 hour period with the first show opening on Friday June 30th 2017 at 8pm. Each show was just over 45 minutes long and a total of 8 performances were held between the opening performance and the final performance on 1st July 2017, 8pm. It would not have been possible without the incredible stamina and dedication shown by the artists.
This project was a labour of love for all involved, with themes that were, and still are, very close to our hearts. The idea was to use art as a vehicle of dialogue, offering a distinct experience that would allow the audience members to see what they often see in the news but in this occasion as an actual human situation. The close presence of the bodies, the invitation to join in, and the atmosphere created at Splendid would submerge the audience and be an opportunity to relate differently to the ordeal of migrants, especially children.
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Length: 45 minutes
Touring Company: 11
Dramaturgy: Erica Muscat
Sound: Renzo Spiteri
Choreography: Lucía Piquero
Dancers: Fabiana Mangialardi, Carl Crochet, Gaby Davies, Kostas Papamatthaiakis, Corinna Abela, Emma Louise Walker
Actresses: Erica Muscat, Stephanie Bonnici, Laura Wyatt O’ Keeffe