About Batumi Drama theatre
The Batumi Ilia Chavchavadze State Drama Theatre locates a Museum named after Gaioz (Kukuri) Gogiberidze, People’s Artist of Georgia. The museum preserves the exhibits reflecting the creative activities of the theatre, archive materials, photo-video-audio records, personal records of the theatre staff, rehearsal and performance diaries, programs, posters, booklets and albums.
The existence of theatre art dates back more than 125 years in Batumi, but its roots start from the distant past.
The first Georgian performance in Batumi was held on 8 (20) July 1879 by the local stage-lovers. This was the foundation of the Georgian theatre in Adjara. The first Georgian performance in Batumi was held on 8 (20) July 1879 by the local stage-lovers. This was the foundation of the Georgian theatre in Adjara. The first building of the theatre was constructed in 1884. It placed 450 seats.
On 28 August 1912 the actors’ session founded the Actors’ Partnership. Shalva Dadiani was appointed the stage-director. “The Travellers’ Company” held the first performance in Batumi on 15 September, in the Shmaevsky Theatre. This marked the foundation of the third professional theatre in Georgia. In 1913 a Drama Society was established in Batumi, chaired by a famous public figure Ivane Meskhi. The management of the Drama Society formed a company of professionals with the director Shalva Dadiani. The Batumi Drama Company consisted of local as well as invited actors. In 1921 Batumi Theatre was granted the title “academic”.
On 18 March 1937, a new theatre was solemnly opened. The company comprised the young actors educated at the Rustaveli Theatre drama studio. On 19 March 1952, a new theatre building was opened in Batumi with the project of the architect I. Teplitskyi. In 1959 the Batumi Theatre was granted the name of Ilia Chavchavadze.
From the 1960s significant changes took place at the theatre. Talented youth enters the scene. Like Tbilisi theatres, Batumi theatre had a renovation period. In 1960-70s the creative group of the theatre is increased by young actors and stage-directors. Later they made a great contribution to the development of Batumi theatrical art.
From the second half of the 1980s, the ongoing social-political changes in the country were reflected in the Georgian theatre as a whole including the Batumi theatre as well. The unstable situation made an impact on the policy of the theatre repertoire as well as its aesthetics.
From 2005 Robert Sturua was appointed as the artistic consultant to the theatre with Giorgi Tavadze (his pupil) as the artistic director. Robert Sturua’s production of D. Kldiashvili’s “Trouble of Darispani” marked the beginning of the theatre revival.
Since 2014, Andro Enukidze, a prolific stage-director of the mid-generation, has been appointed as the artistic director of the theatre. He has made radical changes in the creative atmosphere, renewed the repertoire and regularly offers premieres to the viewers.
The theatre regularly goes on tours throughout Georgia as well as other European countries, participates in prestigious festivals and theatre forums. A number of company members have been awarded prizes of festivals or contests many times.
In 2015-2018 the international charity foundation “Cartu” implemented restoration-rehabilitation of the theatre historical building. At present, one big stage and two small stages are functioning at the theatre. The theatre is equipped with ultramodern technical means.