According to data from 2022, there are 52 theatres in Georgia, including 2 opera and ballet theatres, 41 drama theatres, a musical comedy theatre and miniature theatres, 2 youth theatres, 7 puppet theatres.
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth manages 29 theatres and also N(N)LT – the Centre for the Development of Contemporary Theatre Art. The rest of the theatres are either under municipal jurisdiction or belong to the private or nongovernmental sector.
Over the years, the Cartu Charitable Foundation has restored, reconstructed and equipped theatres (Tbilisi Opera and Ballet Theatre, Rustaveli National Theatre, Marjanishvili Theatre, Batumi Drama Theatre, A. Griboedov Russian Drama Theatre, and Ozurgeti Theatre. Rehabilitation of the P. Adamian Armenian Theatre is underway).
According to the 2017 UNESCO CULTURE FOR DEVELOPMENT INDICATORS / Georgia’s Analytical and Technical Report: “The result of the distribution of cultural infrastructure in Georgia according to CDIS is 0.312. The result of 0.312 is low for the average number of Museums, Libraries and Exhibition venues dedicated to the performing arts for all of Georgia.” https://www.culturepartnership.eu/upload/editor/2017/Policy%20Briefs/CDIS%20Georgia%20Analytical%20and%20Technical%20Report.pdf
6 theatrical festivals are held in Georgia. Notable among them are Tbilisi International Festival of Theater and GIFT – Georgian International Festival of Arts in Tbilisi.
In 2021, 820 000 GEL (227 777 EUR) were allocated for the priority area “Support for the Development of Georgian Theatre and Theatrical Arts” of the Culture Promotion Programme of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth. This area consists of 6 competition and 1 non-competition sub-programmes.
In May 2021, in order to promote the development of the theatre sector, a memorandum was signed between the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth of Georgia and the Theatre Society, in which the parties have defined the basic principles of theatre reform to he carried out in the theatre sphere. They will work on identifying the issues related to the field of theatre to be included in the draft Code of Culture, as well as in the theatre development programmes, in human resource strengthening and implementation of mechanisms that meet modern challenges and ensure access to the theatre arts, as well as the financial and creative sustainability of theatres.
The Memorandum also provides for consultations with the Ministry in the process of selecting candidates for artistic directors of state professional theatres subordinating to the Ministry.
The rule for selecting the artistic directors of state theatres, as well as the Law on Professional Theaters adopted in 2013, is the subject of heated discussions and goes beyond professional issues, as it has a political background.
The strategic document “Culture Strategy 2025” (01.07.2016), Chapter III: Sector-specific Tasks in the Performing Arts aims to:
- Improve the legal and regulatory framework of the performing arts sector in order to raise administrative effectiveness and quality across the sector;
- Support the development and popularization of the national dramaturgy (e.g. consider the integration of new works by contemporary Georgian playwrights into the repertoire of national theatres, introduce thematic competitions in order to reveal outstanding new plays, and encourage performing arts criticism, etc.);
- To advance the professional level of performing arts by facilitating the organization of different events, festivals, master-classes. To also support the participation of Georgian actors, directors, playwrights, choreographers, etc. in international events (competitions, festivals, residencies and etc.);
- Improve educational standards and teaching methodologies, legal and administrative regulations for instructors’ licenses and certification procedures in order to develop a continuous and adapted system of choreographic education;
- Facilitate the betterment of the learning environment (study equipment and other materials) in the institutions of choreographic education;
- Support the development of circus art by ensuring that circus education is adequately represented in the wider system of professional education and by providing access to necessary facilities.
It should be noted that apart from this chapter in the Culture Strategy 2025, there is no sectoral research-based strategy developed by theatre figures and experts, which is a necessary tool for the development of the field.
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