Georgii Aleksandrovich Tovstonogov

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Tovstonogov, Georgii Aleksandrovich


Born Sept. 15 (28), 1915, in Tbilisi. Soviet stage director. People’s Artist of the USSR (1957). Doctor of art studies (1968).

Tovstonogov graduated from the department of stage directing at the State Institute of Theatrical Arts in 1938. He was a director at the Tbilisi Griboedov Russian Theater from 1938 to 1946 and worked at the Moscow Central Children’s Theater from 1946 to 1949. From 1950 to 1956 he was principal director of the Leningrad Lenin Komsomol Theater, and in 1956 he became principal director of the M. Gorky Bolshoi Drama Theater in Leningrad.

A major aspect of Tovstonogov’s talent is his striving to express monumental generalized ideas, for example, in his stagings of On the Road to Immortality (1951, based on J. Fučik’s A Word Before the Execution), Korneichuk’s The Destruction of the Squadron (1952), and his most important work, Vishnevskii’s An Optimistic Tragedy (1955), which was awarded the Lenin Prize in 1958.

Tovstonogov’s best productions at the Bolshoi Drama Theater have included a dramatization of Dostoevsky’s The Idiot (1957 and 1966), Gorky’s The Barbarians (1959) and Smug Citizens (1966), Sholokhov’s Virgin Soil Upturned (1964), Chekhov’s The Three Sisters (1965), Rakhmanov’s Restless Old Age (1970), and Tsagareli’s Khanuma (1973).

Tovstonogov has trained a group of actors who share his theatrical views and has helped a number of playwrights begin successful careers in dramaturgy, including A. M. Volodin and V. S. Rozov. Tovstonogov is the author of books on the theory and practice of stage directing, including On the Stage Director’s Profession (1965) and Circle of Thoughts (1972). From 1939 to 1946 he taught at the Sh. Rustaveli Georgian Theatrical Institute, and in 1962 he became head of the department of stage directing at the Leningrad Institute of Theater, Music, and Cinematography, where he had become a professor in 1960.

Tovstonogov was a deputy to the seventh and eighth convocations of the Supreme Soviet of the USSR. He has been awarded the State Prize of the USSR (1950, 1952, 1968), two orders of Lenin, the Order of the Red Banner of Labor, and various medals.


Kapralov, G. A. Poeziia zhizni. Leningrad, 1959.
Ben’iash, R. G. Tovstonogov. [Leningrad-Moscow, 1961.]


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.