How did it all start?

How did it all start?

Ħolqa started as a European Theatre Festival for Students produced by Ġ.F. Abela Junior College bringing together a number of European and Maltese educational institutions in a drama festival produced by young people for young people.  

The Junior College strongly believes in providing its students with a holistic education. For this reason, holistic education is an integral part of the mission statement of the College. In the past, the College organised various activities involving creativity, theatre and performance.

A number of creative initiatives are available to students up to the age of 16, however the opportunities for 16+ students seem to be rather limited. As a leader in this sector, the Junior College took up the challenge to organise a mini-European Theatre festival in 2014 seeing the participation of four post-secondary foreign schools and our own Junior College group. The festival was a great success and received a significant coverage in both the print media and TV and radio programmes.

A year later, March 2015, the festival was held again in collaboration with the Lycée Général et Technologique Privé Marseille Cadenelle (ISMC), which had been holding a similar festival for more than ten years. In addition to the Junior College, seven other local and European institutions participated in this project.

Ħolqa opened its third edition in April 2016 mainly for Maltese institutions to promote and divulge a theatre culture between schools and colleges.  The festival saw three Maltese schools and the friendly Irish team once again. The fourth edition in 2017 saw seven groups three from the Maltese Islands and the remainder four from Ireland, Spain, France, the Netherlands.

The fifth edition of Ħolqa in 2018 was the biggest to date, seeing twelve participants in total. The three Maltese groups were the Ġ.F. Abela Junior College, Sir Michelangelo Refalo Sixth Gozo, and MCAST Institute for the Creative Arts, Mosta. The remaining nine foreign groups travelled all the way from Ireland, France, Spain, Italy, Germany (two groups), Iceland, Martinique Islands and Belgium. The performances in 2018 were inspired by the theme chosen to resonate with the V18 celebration: ‘No Borders’. This was done in spirit with the idea that culture and the performing arts are a catalyst for unity on many different levels not just political geography.