Over the past few months, FTZ has been working on a project to regenerate Strait Street in Valletta and transform it into a hub of creative industries through the setting up of an incubator for cultural and artistic enterprises. This project, which has obtained initial EU funding under the MED programme, is being supported by many prominent local artists and cultural operators.
Lower Strait Street, known as The Gut, forms a colourful yet neglected part of our heritage. At the heart of the capital city, it was renowned for its nightlife and was arguably the Mediterranean’s top entertainment mecca for sailors in the first half of the last century. Former British sailors have set up websites claiming that Strait Street “has not, nor did it ever have, an equal when it came to bars, clubs, mini-dance halls grouped together in a long but unbelievably narrow street… which attracted just about every sailor in Malta … that you can safely measure in the thousands in the 1950s…”
Earlier, at the time of the Knights, Strait Street was conceived as the artists’ quarter due to the vicinity to the Manoel Theatre. But Strada Stretta was also a hub of Maltese popular culture, linked to an impressive musical and artistic heritage representing the birthplace of jazz music in Malta and the scene of the island’s cabaret, bar and music-hall culture.