Mario Frendo is involved in the cultural sector as producer and administrator of cultural events, performer, and researcher. Between 1987 and 2006 he worked as professional musician with the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra where he occupied leading positions as violin and viola player. Between 1997 and 2005 he read for a degree in Theatre and Music Studies at the University of Malta followed by a Masters degree in Music Composition supervised by composer Charles Camilleri. In 2006, Mario joined the Malta Council for Culture and the Arts where he co-founded, together with Davinia Galea, the Malta Arts Festival. Under his direction as Artistic Director until 2013, the Festival’s international reputation grew through collaborations with high profile artists and networking with key organizations in the field. In 2012, he was appointed Artistic Programme Director for the European Capital of Culture Valletta 2018, a position he held until December 2013.
Since 1996, Mario has been involved as practitioner in experimental theatre working with important theatre practitioners, including Ingemar Lindh, Eugenio Barba, and Jerzy Grotowski. In 2006, he joined the University of Malta as academic member of staff with the Department of Theatre Studies where he currently teaches subjects related to histories, theories, and practice. In the course of his academic career he has delivered lectures related to his research specializations – including contemporary performance theory, interdisciplinarity in the performing arts, and the relations between culture and performance studies – in various institutions including Universities in Chile, Austria, Poland, and the UK. Between 2008 and 2013 he was Head of the Department of Theatre Studies. During his tenure, he worked to broaden the scope of the department by introducing new modules that reflected contemporary developments in the fields of performance research, as well as the relevance of the performing arts as cultural and creative industries. He returned at the helm of the Department of Theatre Studies as Head in October 2017.
In 2013, Mario obtained his PhD from the University of Sussex, UK, with an interdisciplinary practice-as-research project focusing on the musicality of theatre performance. He is currently one of the directors of Theatre Arts Researching the Foundations (TARF), a research platform investigating interdisciplinary practices in the performing arts, and founder member of Icarus Publishing (www.icaruspublishing.com), a collaborative enterprise between TARF (Malta), Odin Teatret (Denmark), and the Grotowski Institute (Poland). In 2016, he was made director of the newly set up Research Group in Culture and Performance within the School of Performing Arts at the University of Malta.