For over 20 years, a number of leading theatre practitioners and performers in Malta have studied at Masquerade. We are also very proud to have alumni who have excelled in different fields and who recognise the benefits of their education at Masquerade as having played a part in their achievments.
Masquerade helped me explore and express my creativity from a young age, which inevitably led to me falling in love with the arts and pursuing it as a career. Masquerade also taught me some invaluable lessons regarding the importance of discipline, punctuality and hard work. “No pain, no gain!” was a popular phrase used by anthony bezzina in rehearsals for various productions I was lucky enough to take part in, and is still a motto I live by today. I am ever-grateful for all the performance opportunities I was given with Masquerade as these undoubtedly helped me become a more confident and experienced performer.
Classes at Masquerade every Saturday morning formed a large part of my childhood/teens. I looked forward to it all week. I can safely say, being a Masquerader made growing up a little more colourful. Through Masquerade, I made friends for a lifetime, learnt to love and respect the craft, believe in myself and most importantly to follow my dreams. I will always be very thankful to the teachers who always provided fun lessons, were full of encouragement and have helped to mould me into the person/performer I am today.
Masquerade was where I attended right before I started my journey in the UK . I remember we went up to Stafford to train with British professionals and that's when I realised this is what I really wanted to do for the rest of my life. Tony is very personal with all the students and I felt like I was part of a team there, which is a skill I now use daily in all my shows. The private singing lessons I had at Masquerade were also the foundation of all my vocal training which is essential in musical theatre. Only great memories to be remembered at the school.
I was only 12 when I joined Masquerade and it definitely was one of the best choices I ever made. It is a theatre arts school equipped with the best studios and top trainers in the industry. It was a big learning experience for me in all 3 disciplines and today I can see the results of all my hard work. The arts have become very competitive and having the opportunity to start training at a young age gives you that little boost and encouragement for when you enter your first rehearsal with an international company.
Masquerade definitely gave me the right tools and skills for when I furthered my studies at the Royal College of Music. In the world of opera you never stop learning. It is a life long training programme exploring new repertoire and tackling challenging roles, however the love and passion I have for it will always make me work harder in achieving my dreams.
I joined Masquerade for half a year before leaving Malta to further my ballet career. I was very serious about ballet at the time but was always intrigued by the acting world in particular. The course was my first introduction to acting and singing which was hugely important when I finally auditioned for schools in London. I was accepted at a ballet school called Urdang Academy although like many other schools it was slow to transition into a musical theatre school. London was all about the 'triple threat' at the time and I believe that Masquerade gave me the skills and courage I needed to put myself out there and finally secure a place.
My career focus has changed since first joining Masquerade, for the past 5 years I have been working as a full time actor taking a step back from ballet. I remember my teacher anthony bezzina taking me extremely seriously when I expressed my future plan to work as an actor abroad. Back then he encouraged me completely, but never glamorized the idea. He prepared me for the harsh reality of what this career entails and the hard work that would accompany such a dream. Although I came from a ballet background and never went through the the conventional full time training as an actor, the time I spent at Masquerade had a huge impact on my work ethic, which has stuck with me through out my career.
I remember Masquerade being a safe space that allowed us to express ourselves completely with no judgment. A place that stripped me from my inhibitions and gave me the focus I desperately needed at that time in my life. I'd recommend it to anyone hoping to go into the performing arts in Malta or planning to study or work abroad, but also to anyone simply looking for a healthy expressive outlet. Masquerade undoubtedly gave me the foundation I needed to make that step towards my chosen career.
My training at Masquerade was my first introduction to drama training and invaluable to advancing my career. I started out doing a production of Annie with them which led to attending their theatre school and I was immediately hooked. They gave me the confidence from a very young age to keep working towards my goal of becoming an actress. Tony and Veronica and the rest of the Masquerade team were, and still are, so supportive. I got to do classes regularly and got the opportunity to do exams in Drama and Musical theatre for about 10 years which led me up to my drama school auditions and ultimately drama school where I got my BA (Hons) in Acting from the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts in London.
There are far too many memories for me to recall but the ones that stick out are the Easter/Carnival Drama Camps, the end of year productions, the UK trips to Stafford and London where we got to perform at the Arcola in London as part of the National Theatre connections and the Summer Experiences. Getting to be a part of the cast in Annie, Tin Pan Ali, Dracula Spectacular and Seussical also cemented my love for the stage. I miss running up the stairs at the old school in Floriana early for class to say hello to Tony or Veronica and have a catch up or teching until the early hours of the morning for a show at the Manoel Theatre but without those experiences in my childhood and adolescence, I wouldn’t be in London and a working actress. I am so proud to see how the company and school has grown and what an incredible space 'M Space' is and how it has enhanced the Maltese theatrical scene.
Words that spring to mind when I think about my training at Masquerade are 'happy', 'fun' and 'exciting'. My training at Masquerade began at age 12, which was actually the year Masquerade began. In fact, I was Registration No.002! It helped me so much throughout my life - not only as a performer but also as a person, as it was a huge boost in my confidence and a very special and happy part of my youth. I remember being selected to play the main role of Annie in Masquerade's first production, ANNIE, at the Manoel Theatre back in 1998! This was such an amazing experience which further pushed me to want to take my training at Masquerade even more seriously and also to audition for every single show that they put up! My training at Masquerade prepared me in so many ways for my musical theatre training at the Guildford School of Acting in the UK. I remember feeling like I was where I belonged and also got to acknowledge my comfort zones as a performer as well as how to work on the areas where I didn't feel as comfortable. I learnt what true discipline for the arts really was - being committed to a project, working as hard as I could on myself as a performer, being punctual...(this got better... eventually!), and being professional. Apart from the weekly training classes and taking part in shows with Masquerade, I must mention all the fantastic activities like the Drama Camps, Summer Experience courses, going abroad with Masquerade for masterclasses, training us for NET's 1st edition of L-iSfida.... we used to have such a blast and also made some lifelong friends and great contacts! Thanks to Masquerade's brilliant kick-start in theatre training, I got more and more involved in the local theatre scene and started building a CV which also helped me with getting accepted into GSA and with future theatre jobs, both in Malta and abroad - performing in musicals and concerts in Malta and in the UK, forming part of renowned All Angels quartet (singing at the Champions League Finals & performing across UK arenas and international tours), roles in UK festivals, film and TV etc. It all starts from somewhere! Apart from performing, Masquerade's training also led me to teach singing - at Masquerade, private vocal tuition and at other schools, both locally and abroad. I would have never imagined that I would have also ended up becoming Head of Music at Masquerade for 4 years! I think in a nutshell, you can tell that Masquerade had quite an impact on my life and profession!
I remember being on stage at the Palace Theatre in London singing One Day More with my friends from Masquerade when Tony and Veronica had taken us up for a Masterclass in 2001. I was 15 then and it was the first time I thought 'I could do this'. Who would have ever thought that nine years later I'd be stood on the Queen's Theatre stage, down the road from the Palace Theatre, singing One Day More every evening to packed houses?
Tony and Veronica taught me three very important lessons in life: Being mad is a wonderful thing, working as a team is essential and theatre can save your life.
Masquerade was my second home, an outlet for my creative inclinations, as well as my thoughts and feelings. It was without a doubt the place I credit the most with shaping my love for the performing arts. Starting at a very young age, Masquerade was responsible for teaching me the importance of dedication to my craft as well as the honing of my technique, in order to reach my full potential as an entertainer. Despite all this invaluable wisdom acquired over the years, however, it's the great times and life-long relationships I formed during my time there that I value above all else.
My parents enrolled me at Masquerade when I was just 8 years old, as soon as the school had opened - and I attended for ten whole years. I was a very shy, introverted child, and my training at Masquerade was instrumental in my personal and social development. It also nurtured a lifelong passion for the theatre - I've kept up my acting even as I've moved to different countries, so I've taken part in plays and festivals in England, France, and Luxembourg. The skills I learned at Masquerade were also very helpful when it came to public speaking as I entered university and went on to become a lawyer. My ten years at Masquerade were great fun - I felt valued for my individual attributes and talents, and I learned much more than my lines. During my first year at Masquerade, I also met a girl who ended up becoming my very best friend till this very day, for which I am forever grateful - we still recite our lines and funny incidents from almost 20 years ago. Thinking back on those ten years, I have too many special memories to be able to recount all of them here: excelling at Trinity drama exams, putting on a production from scratch with my final class, toasting marshmallows at a drama camp, trying on costumes in the costume room, helping with tickets and the cloakroom at Masquerade productions, and those perfect Summer Experience weeks and prestigious masterclasses. Attending Masquerade was a very special and lucky opportunity indeed.
I started attending Drama classes at the tender age of 8 and continued on and off for a period of around 14 years. Throughout these years I was taught/trained by a number of well-known local and foreign drama lecturers who have sharedwith me different skills and techniques on how to improve my performing arts skills. I was trained to give my 100% when performing on stage and to always enjoy what I am doing. This is a mantra which I will always live by. Dedication and passion are another two key factors which I have learnt throughout my 14 years at Masquerade. These key traits have stuck with me and have helped me become who I am today. The training I was given at Masquerade helped me develop more self-confidence, and nowadays I have adapted these skills during my daily routine.
I joined the adult class Masquerade in 2003 to meet new people and have a laugh. I had loads of fun and made tons of friends - including some who are now more like family to me - but Masquerade also helped propel my career and life into a completely new direction. I was asked to be in 1565, which Tony was producing and things just spiraled from there. I got cast in some more plays (one of which led to me meeting my wife), did some exams and was cast in a couple of movies. After a while things started getting more interested as I started writing and directing. I produced my first play in 2012 and have written and directed at least one play a year (usually more) since. And Tony has always been there to help out and give advice. I can trace a lot of what has happened to me back to that fateful night in October 2003 when I popped in to Masquerade, wondering if I would have enough fun to come back the week after. I have since been in a touring show in Australia and I have taught drama all over the world. Oh and every year I write and direct an adult pantomime! A few years later I got into stand-up comedy and since moving to London, that has taken over a lot of my life...and of course I still hang out with the "Masquerade crew" whenever I am back in Malta.
People who know me, know that even though I always loved singing, I would never perform in public - Masquerade really helped me break out of that shell and gave me so many opportunities to perform in front of my peers, television and live audiences, whilst guiding me all the way. This really helped me grow as a person and as a performer.
I made so many good friends there, it's almost impossible not to when being in such a fun and friendly environment! Masquerade for me, was a place I could be myself surrounded by people who loved the same things I did.
I still remember the day Tony told me that I should focus on taking singing more seriously after an audition, and this is exactly what I did. Thanks to Masquerade I met so many talented people who trained and encouraged me to aim for the best, and today, music and singing has become an integral part of my life!
Masquerade provides its students with an environment that allows them to build self-confidence and develop a pleasant personality. Through its professional training, Masquerade also enhances its students' creativity while strengthening leadership and communication skills. My experience at Masquerade as a tutor and student was a remarkable one. The school provided me with the experience and skills that I found very useful in my profession as a lawyer, journalist and and newscaster. Masquerade also prepared me well for my role in politics. The discipline and confidence it instilled in me together with the training in public speaking prepared me well for politics. I augur that Masquerade will continue to succeed in its role for preparing children and young people to develop the necessary skills that compliment their career path while giving them the confidence and personality to participate in all sectors of our society.
Masquerade was the first stepping stone in helping me achieve my dream - to become a performer. Under the guidance of many talented Masquerade tutors, I was taught that hard work is the only way to succeed and I am where I am today because of everything I learnt from Masquerade. Masquerade was always a fun place and everything was done in a professional manner. My training at Masquerade made me very ambitious and driven; because of this, I ended up setting goals for myself to achieve. One of my goals was to take my training to another level by studying in London, where I graduated in Musical Theatre. Masquerade was big part of my journey and I will be forever grateful for being part of the Masquerade family.
I was 5 when I started at Masquerade. I always loved to sing and was quite outgoing but it was the “having fun with my friends” part that hit home first. After a year or two I realised how drawn I was to performing and that’s when the bug really set in and this was truly engrained when Masquerade gave us the opportunity to perform at the Arcola in London as part of the National Theatre connections.
There followed many years, numerous performances, a myriad rehearsals, plentiful lessons learnt as a student and, eventually, even lessons imparted as a tutor. This even led me to pursue a diploma in musical theatre at the Guildford School of Acting.
Performance opportunities varied across the years, from pit singing and playing villager No. 1 to playing the female lead in the Christmas pantomime, each performance creating unique memories and experiences which I'll always cherish. All along this eventful voyage anthony and Veronica Bezzina were ever-present … forever supporting, inspiring, guiding, teaching and occasionally biting my head off.
But ultimately it wasn’t about performing arts alone of course. It’s about life and it’s challenges, about dedication, determination, ambition, education, the perennial search for perfection and meticulous detail, the devotion and loyalty, teamwork and human relationships and the emotive roller coaster of joy and sorrow.
Today, more than ever, living and working overseas it’s those experiences that still come to the fore in my work and life.
Masquerade was an essential part of my formative years and it has helped mould me into what I am today and I am lastingly grateful for it.