The Law on Public Theatres (adopted in the first reading at the Parliamentary Committee in 2005) was approved and signed by the President on June 9, 2006.
The purpose of the Law is to support the activity of theatres and theatre organisations, to promote national dramatic art, to protect the literary language by means of the art of theatre, to revive and develop traditions, to propagate universal human ideals and to integrate Georgian theatre art into the world cultural space. The Law regulates the legal, social, economic and financial relations regarding the creation, operation and re-organisation-liquidation of professional and amateur organisations engaged in theatre activity and determines the rights and obligations of natural and legal entities engaged in this sphere.
The Law provides a new mechanism for setting up a public theatre and defines its organisational and legal status. All theatres financed from central and local budgets shall be founded as legal entities under public law by the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection under its own initiative or on the recommendation of local governments. In the Abkhazia and Ajaria autonomous republics, the respective governmental institutions can recommend new theatres under their own initiative and / or on the recommendation of bodies of local administration in the territories.
The right to establish a municipal theatre under the initiative of bodies of local administration and self-government will be provided in a new Law, to comply with the Law on Legal Entities under the Public Law.
The state is not permitted to interfere in or control the creative process in theatres. However, the Law on Public Theatres provides for the centralisation of the management of theatre structures through concentration of responsibilities in a theatre director (supervisor / administrator). The theatre directors are solely accountable to the state authority for the general control of theatres, including administrative, economic, routine and financial control. The position of “art director” has lost its responsibilities as the legislation lacks the levers supporting and ensuring decision-making in the creative sphere. This provision has produced a discrepancy in the distribution of responsibilities between the director and art director and infringes the rights of the latter.
The Law on Public Theatres does not provide a clear definition of a theatre which allows the state to avoid responsibility for supporting non-public theatres in Georgia.
The new Law on Public Theatres does not extend to any private theatres such as those which are limited companies, non-governmental theatres (NGOs), theatres of mixed type and amateur theatres, which can be founded in compliance with the Civil Code of Georgia and the Law on Entrepreneurs.
The Law on Professional Theatres was passed in 2013, which appears to be a hasty response to the Law on State Theatres of 2006. The new Law on Professional Theatres excessively strengthens the powers of the art director, who will undertake both the creative duties and unreasonably extensive administrative, business, economic, and financial obligations that will result in irreversible management and staff problems in the future.