Theatre director Gela Kandelaki honoured with Lithuanian state award

Theatre and film director Gela Kandelaki will be honoured for his contribution to relations between Georgia and Lithuania. Photo: Budrugana Gagra., 27 Jun 2018 - 16:26, Tbilisi,Georgia

Georgian theatre director Gela Kandelaki, founder of the Budrugana Gagra hand shadow troupe, will be recognised with a Lithuanian state prize for his contributions to the country’s stage art.

Kandelaki will be awarded by President Dalia Grybauskaitė next month, honouring his pedagogical work with Lithuanian shadow theatre actors.

The founder of the Tbilisi-based company — which is unique for using only bodies of actors and no props for casting shadows — held master classes in the art for students from Lithuania in the recent years.

Actors of the Budrugana Gagra hand shadow theatre, founded by Kandelaki in 1991. Photo: Budrugana Gagra.

Travelling to Georgia in 2015, students of the acting faculty of the Academy of Arts of the University of Klaipeda attended the sessions in Tbilisi over two years.

Their subsequently established hand shadow company Budrugana Lietuva was also gifted the show The Four Seasons of the Year by their Georgian counterparts, for performances in Lithuania.

Prior to the collaboration, Kandelaki had received an offer to establish a hand shadow collective in Lithuania, however the theatre director opted to continue his work with Budrugana Gagra.

Establishing the Georgian troupe in 1991, the director assembled the group mainly from internally displaced persons (IDPs) from the early 1990s conflict in Georgia's breakaway Abkhazia region.

Kandelaki has also worked as film director, actor, screenwriter and producer, involved in cinema productions between 1970-2012.

Kandelaki’s contribution to the cultural relations between Georgia and Lithuania through the hand shadow project will be marked with the award in Lithuania next month.