GIFT Festival Presenting Premieres and Prizes

The 18th Georgian International Festival of Art (GIFT) in honor of Michail Tumanishvili opened with Natalia Kldiashvili’s exhibition and showed ‘Song of Songs’ by the Bolshoi Puppet Theatre of Saint Petersburg. In addition, this year the festival is going to present many premiers and conduct a number of interesting events.

Keti Dolidze, the festival founder and Artistic Director of the Mikhail Tumanishvili Film Actors’ Theatre, recalled that for the first time the GIFT was conceived as a part of Tbilisoba (Tbilisi City Day) and mentioned that she was happy to match the beginning of GIFT with Tbilisoba on October 17.

It was a great honor for director Ruslan Kudashov and the Bolshoi Puppet Theatre of Saint Petersburg to open GIFT Festival who said they faced many challenges in coming to Georgia. “We made ‘Song of Songs’ not as a typical puppet theatre, in fact we somehow created a whole new language, one which I thought would never be understandable outside Saint Petersburg. For that reason, it was very important for me to present it to a completely new audience,” said the director.

“Moreover, we wanted to present our performance in framework of GIFT festival, but we had some financial problems. Therefore, our team created video clip and asked people to donate money so we were able to attend the festival. It is a merit of all the people that today we are here,” Kudashov explained.

GIFT has not just continued its tradition of brining new theaters from around the world, but for 18 years has acquired many loyal friends. Famous Russian director Dmitry Krimov is to return with another premiere performance- this time ‘Russian Blues. In Search of Mushrooms’ – a completely new type of theatre with modern technologies. Dolidze explained that for this performance they will provide 600 earphones for the audience.

Lithuanian director Rimas Tuminas also returned to Georgia, this time with a performance of ‘Eugene Onegin’. In addition, representatives of the festival announced that the director wants to to conduct several meetings and workshops for Georgian people.

This year the festival is going to be more interactive as, besides Tuminas’ workshop, German director Sasha Waltz with her company will also communicate with Georgian citizens. In addition there will be several talks about modern Italian Theatre presented by the Embassy of Italy in Tbilisi.

According to the festival affiche, throughout one month, theatres from Latvia, Lithuania, Russia and South Africa will be hosted at the Georgian International Festival of Art. Along with foreign guests, the Miсhail Tumanishvili Film Actors’ Theatre, in the framework of GIFT, will offer the premier of ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ by Tennessee Williams.

Last year, GIFT established the Mikhail Tumanishvili prize ‘For Excellence in Arts’. All great artists who contribute to the development of the contemporary arts in Georgia and elsewhere were also awarded this year. Among the winners were famous Georgian theatric director Davit Doiashvili, Georgian composer Gia Kancheli, and German choreographer and dancer Sasha Waltz.

The Georgian International Festival of Art will last from October 17 to November 17. The festival’s representatives claim that despite all economic problems, the ticket prices have not changed and remain affordable for everyone.

More information about GIFT’s affiche, ticket prices and so on can be found on the festival’s new official website:

Eka Karsaulidze

22 October 2015 22:42