Zestafoni Drama Theater

Interest to the theatric shows in Zestaponi starts since 1875. The newspaper Droeba (August, 1882) notifies following: “Scene-lovers held Georgian play / “Should I cry for my wife or money” by A. Tutaevi in the Court Hall of Kvirila settlement”.

In the newspaper Kvali in 1898 we read following: “Local scene-lover youngsters established constant theater in Mr. Al. Arabidze’s building, which is fully equipped, including stage, decoration and curtain, as well with chairs and buffet”. This fact makes clear how locals loved theatric art.

In the beginning of the 20th century “Kvirila Theatric Comradeship” was established, which officialy opened “Comradeship Theater” with own forces in May, 1904, with the play “Preparation” by P. Umikashvili. Troupes invited from Tbilisi and Kutaisi also held shows. Alikhanov-Avarsky’s squad destroyed the theater building in 1906. Since that theatric shows were held in different places. Homeland was visited by the genius artists: Ushangi Chkheidze, Sergo Zakariadze, Shalva Ghambashidze, Dodo Antadze. They participated in the plays of Zestaponi theatric troupe with local actors. During this period real festival was both in theatric troupe and whole town.

Zestaponi State Theater was established in 1939. Theatric troupe was working in the Rail-roaders Club. The first show was “Their story” by V. Gabiskiria (Director D. Antadze).  In 1949 the state theater was closed due to lack of funds. The actors continued work in various drama circles.

The current building of the Zestaponi Theater was opened in 1962, where the Public Theater was settled. The first play was “Elevated Village” by V. Kandelaki (Director M. Vashadze). In 1964 the Zestaponi Public Theater was named after Ushangi Chkheidze.

Actor Rene Abesadze (Honored Actor of the Republic, Knight of the Order of Merit, Laureate of Ushangi Chkheidze Prize) was working in the theater 1965, under whose leadership the theater achieved much success.

In 1984 the Zestaponi Theater took part in the international theatric festival held in Mexico, where they performed the play staged according to “Me, Grandmother, Iliko and Ilarioni”, staged by the Honored Figure of art Anzor Kutateladze.

On 1 April 1986 the play “Exam” by R. Mamulashvili of the Zestaponi Theater (executive director Rene Abesadze, artist – Jemal Kakhniashvili) in the Marjanishvili Theater was attended by the writer Grigol Abashidze, who noticed that “Ushangi’s, Shalva’s, Sergo’s traditions are followed in Zestaponi with glory. As I see, Zestaponi land hasn’t abated the old grace”.

In 1987 the troupe of the Zestaponi Theater traveled to Sweden, Vesteros, to the international festival, where they presented the play “Me, grandmother, Iliko and Ilarioni”, executive director Anzor Kutateladze. In one of the Swedish newspapers following was published regarding the play: “It was one the best plays we saw during the festival. Loyalty to traditions, wonderful music, plastic scenes and actors’ mimics erase the language barrier and makes everything clear”.

In 1990 the Zestaponi Theater restored state status. The first play was “Twitting of one swallow, or a story of sick souls” (Director L. Paksashvili).

The Zestaponi Theater like our country passed difficult path during 90s, but creative process didn’t suspend, plays were staged in very difficult conditions. Since the beginning of the 21st century many things changed for the theater life in positive way.

Repertoire increased and diversified by staging both via foreign and Georgian plays. Tours both within the country and abroad are organized. The troupe successfully participates in festivals and contests. In 2010 at the festival “Lori – 2010” held inArmenia, the Zestaponi Theater staged “Nugzari and Mephistopheles” by Lasha Bughadze (director Mamuka Tsertsvadze) and won 7 nominations. It is noteworthy that in 2016 prize awarded to Giorgi Gloveli for the best actor at the “Duruji” festival (“Duck hunting” by Vampilov, Zilov’s role. Director Mamuka Tsertsvadze).

The actors of our theater were awarded with numerous prizes in various festivals and contests during past ten years: Badri Tabatadze (Laureate of I. Khvichia prize), Nino Abesadze, Giorgi Gloveli, Temur Kiknavelidze, Niniko Abesadze, Zurab Abesadze.

Since 2012 the artistic director of the theater is Mrs. Nino Lipartiani – Associated Professor of Rustaveli Theater and Cinema State University. The director is Mrs. Tea Maghlakelidze .