Vazha-Pshavela Theater

The rich history of Georgian theatre cannot be recounted without highlighting the significant role played by the Telavi State Drama Theatre, now known as the Vazha-Pshavela State Drama Theatre. Situated in the heart of Telavi, Kakheti, the Theatre is an architectural marvel with its distinctive stained-glass windows. A highlight of the Theatre's interiors is a bust of Vazha-Pshavela and a two-story pageantry church-tower from the era of King Erekle II, symbolizing the onset of visual culture in the Kingdom of Kartli-Kakheti in the second half of the 18th century.

Historically, the roots of the Vazha-Pshavela Theatre can be traced back to 1782, when King Erekle II backed the aspirations of young Georgians to establish a theatre in Telavi. This led to the birth of the Telavi School Theatre, which saw the performance of the first professional plays in the royal city.

However, in 1795, during the invasion led by Agha Mohammed Khan, the School Theatre actors, led by the prominent actor Machabela, entered the battlefield to disconcert the Persian invaders with their powerful signing. Their heroism in the Battle of Krtsanisi, although resulting in their tragic demise, became a symbol of resilience, immortalized in Lado Asatiani’s poem.

This tragic event led to a pause in the Telavi theatre life for fifty-five years. Yet, resilient as ever, the theatre came back to life around 1866, staging performances that would soon reclaim its pivotal role in the Georgian cultural landscape. The establishment of a permanent theatre company in 1880 further invigorated the theatre scene in Telavi.

In the ensuing years, local professionals joined by theatre figures from the capital started to transform Telavi's cultural landscape. Figures like Kote Marjanishvili, Barbare Jorjadze, Nato Gabunia, and others enriched the stage of the Telavi Theatre, making it a hub for theatre aficionados.

By the 20th century, the Vazha-Pshavela State Drama Theatre was thriving, staging plays in Georgian, Russian, and Armenian languages. The establishment of the Telavi State Drama Theatre in 1922 and its recognition as a National Theatre in 1975 underscored its cultural importance.

Today, the Vazha-Pshavela State Drama Theatre stands as a testament to Georgian theatre's enduring allure, from the Erekle King Theatre Era to the present. Its legacy of promoting local talent, championing artistic innovation, and nurturing cultural identity makes it a prominent cultural landmark in Georgia, captivating audiences with its wide array of engaging performances.

Nearest to Vazha-Pshavela Theater

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