Gift Festival

Exploring The Essence And Global Impact Of Tbilisi's Celebrated Theatre Festival
Cover image © GIFT Festival

The Georgian International Festival of Arts in Tbilisi (GIFT), an annual celebration of the theatrical arts, has solidified its position as a cornerstone of cultural expression in Georgia. This festival not only showcases local talent but also attracts international artists, promoting a vibrant exchange of cultural and artistic ideas.

History And Evolution

Founded in 1997, GIFT was initially conceptualized to honor the Georgian theatre master Michael Tumanishvili. Its genesis was supported by the International Board of Directors of various esteemed arts festivals, including those in Edinburgh, Adelaide, Melbourne, and Perth. Over the years, GIFT has grown exponentially, celebrating its 22nd edition in 2019. It has become a platform for sharing Georgian culture globally and is actively involved in shaping cultural policy in Georgia.

Festival Highlights

The festival spans approximately a month, typically from mid-October to mid-November, transforming Tbilisi into a hub of theatrical innovation and creativity. It features a diverse range of artistic endeavors, including contemporary dance, music, street art, theater, and paintings. The programming is known for its richness and variety, often coinciding with significant cultural anniversaries. For instance, the 2014 edition corresponded with the 450th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth, showcasing performances and works that paid homage to the legendary playwright.

Global Recognition And Impact

GIFT's reputation extends beyond Georgia's borders. It is the only Georgian festival to be a member of the International Festival and Events Association (IFEA), highlighting its global significance. This membership underscores GIFT's commitment to excellence in cultural events and its role in fostering international collaborations in the arts.

Accessibility And Audience

The festival is accessible to a wide audience, with ticket prices typically under 10 euros. It attracts a diverse age group, primarily targeting the 25-50 year-old demographic. The festival's venues are strategically located in the city center, close to transport links and the airport, making it convenient for both local and international attendees.

Cultural Significance

GIFT stands as a testament to Tbilisi's rich artistic heritage and its evolving cultural landscape. The festival has become a significant event in Georgia's cultural calendar, contributing to the promotion of Tbilisi on international cultural, touristic, and economic stages. It is not just an event but a celebration of the unique theatric culture of Georgia, offering a platform for local and international artists to converge and share their creative visions.


The Georgian International Festival of Arts in Tbilisi is more than just a festival; it is a cultural phenomenon that bridges the gap between Georgian and international arts. Its commitment to showcasing diverse artistic expressions, coupled with its accessibility and global recognition, makes it a pivotal event in the world of theater and arts.

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