The great Georgian stage director and reformer, Kote Marjanishvili founded the second state theatre back in 1928. Ever since the theatre has carried on the traditions set by the founder and has earned the status of a “social theatre” by marrying the tradition with novelty and never failing to keep up the quality of its productions. Not only does Marjanishvili Theatre maintain the leading position in the contemporary Georgian cultural scene but it also comes to assume the role of a social educator and commentator.
The outstanding Gergian director Levan Tsuladze has held the post of the artistic director of the theatre since 2006 putting together a wonderful team of actors, directors, painters and composers who try to meet contemporary technological challenges and find new avenues through experimentation.
The theatre annually premiers from 7 to 10 plays and has got 30 productions included in its repertoire staged by directors across all age groups. The plays range from national to world classics with a special emphasis on contemporary authors and texts. This could explain the prevalence of young audience among its 50 000 viewers per season.
The theatre transcends its primary role and enjoys a profile of a diverse and vibrant social institution which promotes various art projects and brings together contemporary Georgian poets and writers. It hosts literary and educational projects, exhibitions, play readings by young dramatists and other cultural events.
Marjanishvili theatre tours extensively throughout the world and participates in major festivals. The theatre is involved in co-productions with its counterparts in Great Britain, Italy, Germany, Greece, Poland, Azerbaijan, Macedonia and Ukrain.
Since 2015 the theatre has been a member of ETC, International Theatre Convention.
After the Marjanishvili theatre performance in Globe Theatre The Guardian’s Kate Kellaway wrote:
“If all the theatre in Georgia comes anywhere close to the standard of the Marjanishvili company, then the job of theatre critic there must be the most covetable in the land”
Artistic director of Kote Marjanishvili State Drama Theatre – the recognized leader of Georgian Theatre, one of the most successful, creative, highly acclaimed stage directors, who truly changes and develops theater in most interesting way - has produced more than 70 performances in different cities and Theaters of Georgia and Internationally.
Levan Tsuladze came to Marjanishvili after the THE BASEMENT THEATRE - the first independent Theatre in Georgia, opened in 1997. The Theatre was a hallmark of new age, independence and new generations in culture; the Basement was the hub, that saved and brought new generation of audience.
In 2006 Levan Tsuladze after successful years in Basement was invited to Marjanishvili State Drama Theatre as an artistic director. Since then he leads the theatre to a very successful heights and creates very special working and creative atmosphere.
Levan Tsuladze is awarded with several prizes and honors: Independent Theatre Award “Duruji” for the best performance of a year - three time since the foundation of prize; presidential medal of Honor for achievements in theatre; prizes of Theatre Union of Georgia for best productions for several times; “Athinorama” Award for best directing in 2016; In 2017 is on the list of nominates for best foreign director in Athens, Greece.
Levan Tsuladze occupies a leading position in the contemporary Georgian theatre scene with his avant-guard productions. This is borne out by dozens of successful plays staged across Georgia and beyond it, local and international premiers and enthralled viewers who flock to see his works.
In the 90s together with his colleague-friends he initiated the creation of the first independent theatres in Georgia (first on the Rustaveli Avenue, later in Vake, both in Tbilisi) called Basement Theatres. Later, in 2006 he took over the role of artistic director in the Tbilisi Marjanishvili Theatre where he gave a whole new perspective to the theatrical representation and the use of stage space and created 2 other “theatres” within its walls.
Levan Tsuladze continues to search for various ways of representation and work closely with the new generation of artists to delve into variety of genres and styles such as drama, sad comedies and tragicomedies by staging authors across the spectrum ranging from Shakespeare, Goethe, Thomas Mann, Brecht, Chekhov, Kafka to Georgian authors Kakabadze, Batiashvili and Bughadze. The scope of his creations manifest his multifaceted artistic nature for which there are no obstacles and if there are, there are proven ways to cope with them and if there are no such ways they can be invented.
Press about works of Levan Tsuladze
“Besides the suggestion that “All the world’s a stage”, it also allows Levan Tsuladze and his company to play with concepts of performance and theatre making.”
"...that gives the feeling that even there was ever another stage of existence. Blending notes commedia dell'arte scenes of film noir, Tsuladze's performance is the best modern adaptation of a play by Gogol."
The Cultural OBSERVER
“It's a wonderfully creative and playful way of dissolving the boundaries between 'on stage' and 'off stage'. "
LONDON THEATRE REVIEW
“Levan Tsuladze has a flair for creating strong visual images, which comes in useful when we don’t directly understand the language.”
Timothy Ramsden, Theatre Critic
“... This is not really a puppet show but a show with puppets...
The sense of spectacle is elaborate and yet, at the same time, there is a fantastic sense of humor in the characterization and staging. Above all, it is a show: from the lighting to the costumes, from set to the special effects, everything is calculated to delight and surprise. “
“... There is witchery in Notting Hill, where Georgia’s Basement Theatre has taken up a residence as part of the Gate’s East Goes West season
... This is enjoyable and occasionally breathtaking piece of theatre. Super manipulation combines with some devilishly imaginative puppets and there is a really witty musical soundtrack that can be ironic, smoothly seductive in 50s crooning style or romantically soulful.”
“With humor and sorrow, Levan Tsuladze says goodbye to the culture, to that sadness in heart , to the faint hopes, to ideas and constant aspiration of that freedom, that his homeland was so much waiting and guarding…”
THEATRE AND LIFE
“...This two act silent performance is made in one breath with mind blowing episodes that rush towards the end…
Truly, everything is at the verge of reality and fantasy here.
“…Whatever happens here only happens in theatre.”
“…There is no silence, but there is no word as well. Music is a sound, but the noise of life tells more…”
“You will feel neither overdose nor under dose of humor: it’s just holding temperature at the vital level…”
“…You are involuntarily involved in the action, and start thinking about your own personal choices.”