Georgian Academic Theater

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Georgian Academic Theater


(full name, K. A. Mardzhanishvili Georgian Academic Theater), one of the leading drama theaters in the Georgian SSR. It opened in Kutaisi in 1928 under the name Second State Drama Theater; in 1930 it was moved to Tbilisi. The organizers of the theater were K. A. Mardzhanishvili and a group of his pupils, including V. I. Andzhaparidze. T. I. Chavchavadze, U. V. Chkheidze, Sh. K. Gambashidze. D. K. Antadze. and A. M. Zhorzholiani.

Using the progressive democratic tradition of the pre-revolutionary Georgian and Russian theaters and his experiences in the Soviet theater, Mardzhanishvili continued the quest for a heroic and romantic art that would be in keeping with the times. Through his efforts productions were staged that were to remain in the theater’s repertoire for a long time, including Hurrah, We’re Alive! by Toller and In the Heart Itself by Dadiani, both in 1928, and Uriel Acosta by Gutzkow and Kvarkvare Tutaheri by Kakabadze, both in 1929. The theater sought to establish as part of its repertoire works of Soviet authors, in which portraits of contemporaries, participants in the Great Patriotic War, and builders of Communist society were presented, including Marriage of a Kolkhoz Farmer by Kakabadze (1938), The Strict Girls by Buachidze (1941), The Partisans by Mdivani (1942), The Invincible Ones by Gotua (1945), The Hearth of Kharateli (1949) and The Avalanche (1956) by Mrevlishvili, His Star by Mosashvili (1951; State Prize of the USSR, 1952). At the Precipice by Gabeskiriia (1953). To Marine by Baratashvili (1950 and 1958). Grandmother, Iliko, Illarion, and I by Dum-badze and G. D. Lordkipanidze (1960). The Soldier’s Widow by Dzhaparidze (1964). Saints in Hell by Getsadze (1967). Theft of the Moon by Gamsakhurdia (1968). and The Ones From Yesterday (1968) by Dadiani. Classical Georgian works have been staged at the theater, including Guriia Ninoshvili (1934; after Ninoshvili), Times are Different Now by Tsagareli (1936), The Exile by Vazha Pshavela (1945), and Is He a Human Being? (1946, 1954. and 1970; after Chavchavadze).

Russian and world classics occupy an important place in the theater’s repertoire; among them are The Marriage of Figaro by Beaumarchais (1937). Ruy Blas by Hugo (1941), The Dowerless Girl by Ostrovskii (1944), Masquerade by Lermontov (1946), The Inspector-General by Gogol (1951), The Lower Depths by Gorky (1957), Romeo and Juliet (1949 and 1962), Antony and Cleopatra (1951), and Richard III (1957) by Shakespeare, Maria Stuart (1955) and Don Carlos (1971) by Schiller, Pygmalion (1955) and Caesar and Cleopatra (1960) by Shaw, and Medea by Euripides (1962). Works by contemporary foreign playwrights have been staged successfully, including Trees Die While Standing by Casona (1957), Little Girl With a Ribbon by Pergiales (1962), The Lark by Anouilh (1965), and Mother by čapek (1965). The theater was renamed in honor of Mardzhanishvili in 1933. In 1958 the group was awarded the Order of the Red Banner of Labor; in 1966, it won the title “academic theater.”

Artists who have worked at the K. A. Mardzhanishvili Georgian Academic Theater include the directors D. K. Antadze. G. B. Zhuruli, V. P. Kushitashvili, V. V. Tabliashvili, and A. E. Chkhartishvili, and the actors Sh. K. Gambashidze, A. G. Gomelauri, Z. N. Gomelauri, N. S. Go-tsiridze, E. I. Donauri, A. L. Kvantaliani, P. K. Kobakhidze, E. A. Cherkezishvili. and G. V. Shavgulidze. As of 1971 the company included People’s Artists of the USSR V. I. Andzhaparidze and V. D. Godziashvili and People’s Artists of the Georgian SSR M. P. Davitashvili. K. I. Makharadze, V. D. Ninua. G. Kh. Nostava, A. A. Omiadze. T. I. Sak-varelidze, M. S. Tbileli, and la. V. Tripol’skii. People’s Artist of the Georgian SSR and Ukrainian SSR D. A. Aleksidze is the chief director at the theater.


Gugushvili, E., and D. Dzhanelidze. Gruzinskii gosudarstvennyi dramaticheskii teatr im. Kote Mardzhanishvili: Kratkii ocherk. Tbilisi, 1958.


Georgian Academic Theater


(full name, Shota Ru staveli Georgian Academic Theater), the largest drama theater of the Georgian SSR. Created in Tbilisi in 1921 from the State Drama Theater, which had been organized in 1920.

The activity of K. A. Mardzhanishvili, its director from 1922 to 1926, was of great significance for the creative work of the theater. The production of The Sheep Well by Lope de Vega (1922) was in keeping with the revolutionary times; it was highly professional and became an expression of the ideological and artistic principles of dramatic art in Soviet Georgia. The theme of revolution and the struggle for liberation was realized onstage in the productions of The Heroes of Ereti by Shanshiashvili (1924) and Earthquake in Lisbon by Kakabadze (1925). Propagandizing humanistic ideas and opposition to violence and injustice, the theater turned to classic works of Georgian and foreign drama, including The Lawsuit by G. Eristavi (1921), The Eclipse of the Sun in Georgia by Antonov (1923), and Hamlet by Shakespeare (1925).

Beginning in the second half of the 1920’s (1926–35). the theater was headed by A. V. Akhmeteli; works of Soviet drama occupied the leading place in the repertoire. The productions of The Break by Lavrenev and Anzor by Shanshiashvili (both 1928) and Lamara (1926 and 1930; after Vazha Pshavela). as well as The Robbers by Schiller (1933). established the heroic and romantic direction of the theater and the striving for monumental poetic presentations and made the company one of the leading theaters in the USSR. Productions of Kikvidze by Daraseli (1941 and 1964), The Victors by Chirskov (1946), and The Stationmaster by Mosashvili (1947) were devoted to the heroic exploits of the Civil War and Great Patriotic War. The theater regularly staged plays based on historical themes and works of classical drama, including The Great Sovereign by Solov’ev (1945; State Prize of the USSR. 1945). Othello (1937) and King Lear (1948 and 1966) by Shakespeare. The Sunken Stones by Mosashvili (1951; State Prize of the USSR, 1951), Otar’s Widow (1952; after Chavchavadze), Vassa Zheleznova by Gorky and The Spanish Curate by Fletcher (both in 1954), and Samanishvili’s Stepmother (1970; after Kldiashvili).

The productions of the directors D. A. Aleksidze (Oedipus Rex by Sophocles. 1956, and Bakhtrioni, after Vazha Pshavela, 1960) and M. I. Tumanishvili (Antigone by Anouilh, 1968, and Before the Cart Turns Over by Ioseliani. 1969) were important to the creative activity of the theater in the 1950’s and 1960’s. A poetic manner, highly analytical interpretations of the dramatic writings, and variety in staging have been characteristic of the theater’s productions; an ensemble of brilliantly individualistic, talented stage artists has taken shape at the theater. Among those who have worked there at various times are A. A. Vasadze, S. A. Zakariadze, A. A. Khorava, G. M. Davitashvili, T. I. Chavchavadze, U. V. Chkheidze. and I. I. Gamrekeli. In 1936 the theater was awarded the Order of Lenin. In 1921 it was renamed in honor of the poet and humanist Shota Rustaveli; in 1966, it received the title “academic theater.”

As of 1971 the theater company included People’s Artists of the Georgian SSR G. V. Gegechkori, B. A. Zakariadze, S. A. Kancheli, E. G. Magalashvili, E. A. Mandzhgaladze, G. I. Sagaradze, T. A. Tarkhnishvili. and M. V. Chakhava. People’s Artist of the Georgian SSR M. I. Tumanishvili is the chief director.


Abkhaidze. Sh., and N. Shvangiradze. Gosudarstvennyi ordena Lenina teatr im. Sh. Rustaveli: Kratkii ocherk. Tbilisi, 1953.
Fevral’skii, A. Teatr im. Rustaveli. Moscow, 1959.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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