Ekaterina Mazmishvili: "The theatre is utterly giving no chance to the audience to relax"

In an exclusive interview with the Director of the Kote Marjanishvili State Drama Theatre (Tbilisi, Georgia) talked about the role of theatre in the cultural development of society.

Theatre is an art of today and it has the unique sense of reality. When it is alive it responds to the challenges of the present day and works for the future generation. I should also note that theatre should be socially conscientious and involved in the social life. I believe, this is how culture should be developed.

The secret of Marjanishvili Theatre success is in its artistic director; Levan Tsuladze's talent and his strategic thinking in leadership are decisive. One more precondition of success is also not to be only relying on the past but to take care of your team, their aspirations and their understanding of how to achieve them. A leader should completely devote him/herself to work and never fear any obstacles. Marketing-wise, our success can be also explained by the fact that we have shows every night, our 3 stages are busy very day. Besides, we have extremely good media support and good partners. The theatre is utterly giving no chance to the audience to relax, having around 14-18 premieres every year. We visit lots of regions and do have international success. As for the audiences, we attract them with our productions. I do not believe one can do anything unless you have a proper product. I mean our shows, first of all, but dissemination of information is also important, as well as planning ticket prices and providing discounts. Marjanishvili theatre has introduced the so-called “lunch- time sales” when people can buy half-price tickets at the box office at lunch time. Those who buy online tickets, cannot do this. 14-16 GEL is the price for them.

International Cooperation

In 2015 we became members of the European Theatre Convention. It means participation in their projects. This is a completely new direction of work previously unknown for us. We always have the opportunities for international cooperation. My personal strategy is to participate in everything and thus make the statement we are very trustworthy and reliable partners.

The year 2016 will be important for Marjanishvili Theatre with the new co-productions we have planned with Italian, Polish and Azeri partners. Besides, we are working on contemporary plays. As for the Tbilisi International Festival of Theatre, it will have its eighth edition this year. The motto of the Festival is "With the refined sense of reality" and it consists of two sections: International Program and Georgian Showcase; the latter has gained great recognition during its seven years of existence. Besides, the opportunities to promote Georgian productions and to integrate with Europe are increasing, which is why, the Festival is so important for the cultural development of Georgia.

2018 seen from present day's vantage point

If by 2018 we have more coproductions and the international projects of the theatre are strengthened. I will consider it a success. If we renew the cast, develop young generation theatre directors, all these will be part of our success, of course. In my opinion, by 2018 theatre should develop its technical capacity and provide more diverse opportunities. Technological development is the priority issue now. Video installations and programming will be a very important part of the theatre. As for the Tbilisi International Festival of Theatre, it has all necessary preconditions to become one of the leading Eastern European festivals. In 2015 we hosted 83 international guests attending the Georgian showcase; A success will be if the number increases to 283 by 2018.

Important Cultural Events

For Georgia and particularly for Marjanishvili Theatre, an extremely important cultural event was to perform Shakespeares's As You Like It at the London Globe in 2012. The show was a huge hit. Besides, regional festivals are very important for Georgia, e.g. Eliso Virsaladze's Classical Music Festival in Telavi, or a Regional Theatre Festival in Poti. I strongly believe the country needs decentralisation. It is also important to work for coproductions in Film and to promote Georgian films at the European and other international festivals. This is a serious work that lays the foundation for the future.

How can we surprise Europe

We have to take big leaps in a very short period of time. Thus, we have short time to make all the changes in comparison with Eastern Europe which liberated itself from the Soviet regime much earlier. So, we have to absorb the best western practices but use them in a creative and unconventional ways.

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