State New Theatre marks start of new phase with 'Macbeth' at renovated venue

Actors of the State New Theatre perform in the 'Macbeth' show on Saturday. Photo via Ministry of Culture, Sport and Youth of Georgia., 07 Jun 2021 - 16:28, Tbilisi,Georgia

One of Georgia's award-winning contemporary theatre troupes, the Vaso Abashidze State New Theatre, is celebrating a new phase after hosting the first performance in its renovated performance venue in Tbilisi on the weekend.

With a bill of Shakespeare's Macbeth, staged by the company's artistic director David Doiashvili and flanked by an exhibition of works by artist Oleg Timchenko on Saturday, the refreshed space welcomed back the group celebrated on the local scene and its international tours.

Rehabilitated in a four-year, 15 million GEL ($2.4 mln/€2.3 mln) government project, the building is a much-changed sight from its dilapidated state from before the works for its renovation started in 2017.

Equipped with new lighting and audio systems and a moving stage, the venue was also unveiled with museum and exhibition spaces, marking a new "multi-functional centre" approach of the culture ministry to theatres under its management.

The moving stage and its equipment now allows the theatre to host international troupes, Doiashvili told Imedi channel in celebration of the reopening. Photo via Ministry of Culture, Sport and Youth of Georgia.

We are creating a new [type of] theatre - the type we believe to be consistent with the times - and now we have simply been given the opportunity to do this [with the renovated venue]

- David Doiashvili

The new vision involves transforming theatres into spaces "for the whole culture scene and not just one company", the ministry said. The initiative involves providing space for culture organisations and artists to display their work to the public at venues that previously saw their scope limited to troupes performing in them.

With the concept heralded by the exhibition of Timchenko's artwork, the fresh look of the building also bears the marks of another visual artist. A "unique" chandelier designed by Tamara Kvesitadze is now one of the first elements of the new foyer welcoming visitors to the space.

The chandelier of the foyer of the venue, designed by artist Tamara Kvesitadze, is one of its highlights. Photo via Ministry of Culture, Sport and Youth of Georgia.

The troupe moving into the updated building has a rich history going back to 1926, when an idea for a musical comedy group by actor and People's Artist of Soviet Georgia Vaso Abashidze came to fruition. The company's current chapter is connected to Doiashvili, who brought a refreshed repertory to the group since his appointment as artistic director in 2005.

The new technology [used for equipping] the stage now allows us to host absolutely any theatre troupe from around the world

- David Doiashvili

The theatre and its director have been distinguished with critical acclaim and audience attention, with Doiashvili's staging of Pillowman awarded 2017 Direction of the Year at the annual Georgian Theatre Prize 'Duruji'.

An exterior view of the renovated theatre in Tbilisi. Photo via Ministry of Culture, Sport and Youth of Georgia.

A year prior the company claimed the principal prize at the Babel International Theatre Festival in Romania for their choreographic drama Three Sisters.

Doiashvili's collective has also been involved in joint international projects, co-producing Carmen Suite with the Moving Theatre of the United Kingdom and performed at the 2016 Colombo International Theatre Festival in Sri Lanka.

During the same fruitful year for their tours the company also presented Introspection - The Story About Us - a narration of Georgia's contemporary history - at the Tribeca Performing Arts Centre in Lower Manhattan, and brought their shows to the Madach International Theatre Meeting in Hungary.

The venue of the State New Theatre is located at 127 Agmashenebeli Avenue in Tbilisi.