The Manoel Theatre and its annexes are situated at the centre of Valletta flanked by three important streets. The annexes, which consist of a series of 18th cen¬tury houses abutting the theatre party walls were acquired at various stages of its history with a view to using them to house activities associated with the the¬atre.
These premises, however, were poorly organized with large portions of the avail¬able space left vacant. Furthermore, the houses were linked internally for easier access between one and the other, the individual buildings no longer represent¬ing specific activities within the complex with the consequent loss of purpose and identity. In 1993 the Theatre Adminis¬tration commissioned AP to conduct an analysis of the use of its premises to re¬organize effectively the spaces in such a way as to render them more attractive, efficient and financially viable.
The projects tackled included the cre¬ation of a small theatre museum, the reallocation and redesign of the bar and ticket booking offices, the creation and fitting of a specialized book and record shop as well as three studio apartments for the visiting artists. The central court¬yard of Casa Bonici, the large eighteenth century house on the corner with Old Bakery street, constitutes the heart of the rehabilitation scheme, providing an outdoor connecting space between the bookshop and booking offices on one side of the bar and the theatre museum on the other.
During the mild spring and autumn seasons it is fully retracted to allow the courtyard to function as an outdoor space whilst in winter it is operated into a fully closed position to provide protection from rain and cold winds without sealing the courtyard off entirely. In summer the fins are placed at 45 degrees and covered in canvas to provide shade whilst allow¬ing cool breezes to be directed into the building. In its fully retracted position, the roof disappears completely, restor¬ing the courtyard to its pristine image.