Shakespeare meets Rustaveli:
Georgia’s capital Tbilisi celebrates legacy of famous poets

The 'Shakespeare and Rustaveli Meet in Georgia' project will pay homage to the two iconic poets. Photo from Art Palace/Facebook., 26 Apr 2016 - 17:14, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgia's capital Tbilisi will host a year-long program of literary events to mark the double anniversary of Georgia's iconic medieval poet Shota Rustaveli and celebrated English poet and playwright William Shakespeare.

This year marks 850 years since the birth of Rustaveli, Georgia's national poet whose literary legacy is represented by the famous 12th Century poem The Knight in the Panther's Skin. This year also marked 400 years since the death of Shakespeare in 1616.

To mark the year, seven organisations and venues in Georgia's capital teamed up to officially unveil the project Shakespeare and Rustaveli Meet in Georgia.

A 1964 Soviet Georgian poster for a performance of William Shakespeare's comedy play 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' at Tbilisi's Rustaveli Theatre. Photo from Art Palace/Facebook.

The project was officially presented on April 23 at Tbilisi's Art Palace. Project organisers said the occasion had been designed to make the creative legacy of the two historic figures "more accessible for the young generation".

The program will launch its first event next month when organisers announce results of the ongoing online poll of the most popular quotes by Shakespeare and Rustaveli. The quotes that earn the most votes will be projected onto the Art Palace walls on International Museum Day on May 21.

Following this, students of the Tbilisi State Academy of Arts will create works inspired by the quotes over a period from May 25-June 25.

A portrait of celebrated medieval Georgian poet Shota Rustaveli. Photo from Art Palace/Facebook.

Later events within the program will include exhibitions of posters, stage sets and costumes from Georgian theatre productions based on Shakespeare’s plays.

The Georgian National Book Centre will also print postcards of winning entries of the Academy of Arts contest. The postcards will be presented by the organisation at this year's Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany.

Further events will involve expert talks on the literary legacy of Rustaveli and Shakespeare and a presentation of Georgian translations of the iconic English poet’s works.

The project was made possible thanks to cooperation of the British Council in Georgia, Tbilisi Art Palace, the Georgian National Book Centre, the Tbilisi State Academy of Arts, Tbilisi City Hall, European School and David Aghmashenebeli University of Georgia.

The cultural program Shakespeare and Rustaveli Meet in Georgia will run until November 2016.