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Georgian Minister of Culture Says Rustaveli Theatre Director was Dismissed Based on Xenophobic Statements

Published: August 17, 2011 | 12:52 pm
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Nika Rurua, Minister of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia said today that the dismissal of Georgian theatre director Robert Sturua is based on his xenophobic statements. According to the Minister, the government will never support financing people with such attitude.

“It’s been a challenge for me to take this decision. However, I strongly believe that people with xenophobic values should not occupy managing positions,” Rurua declared.

Georgian theatre director Robert Sturua has been dismissed as the art director of Rustaveli Theatre in Tbilisi under Georgian Culture Minister Niki Rurua’s decree.

Sturua himself announced his dismissal on his Facebook account.

“I did not hide my critical attitude toward the incumbent Georgian authorities, which could not tolerate my criticism,” he said.

Robert Sturua (born July 31, 1938) is a Georgian theater director, who gained international acclaim for his original interpretation of the works of Brecht, Shakespeare, Chekhov.

Robert Sturua’s first success came with staging of The Trial of Salem by Arthur Miller in 1965 (original title: The Crucibles). Later, Sturua mounted spectacular, offbeat productions of The Caucasian Chalk Circle by Bertolt Brecht (1975), Richard III (London and Edinburgh, 1979–80) and King Lear (New York, 1990), starring comic actor Ramaz Chkhikvadze. Starting with interpretations of Richard III and King Lear, Sturua became known as paradoxical interpreter of Shakespeare’s theater. Out of 37 Shakespeare plays, Sturua has staged 17; 5 of which at Rustaveli. Hamlet (1986) was staged for the Riverside Studio in London with Alan Rickman as Hamlet, and was hailed as one of ten best Shakespearian productions of the last 50 years by Shakespeare International Association.

In the 1990s, Sturua’s productions turned to the inner world. Works included Life is a Dream by Calderón (1992), The Good Person of Szechwan by Brecht (1993), Gospel According to Jacob (1995, based on the Georgian ABC Book by Iakob Gogebashvili), Lamara by Grigol Robakidze (1996). The metaphorical language of more recent interpretations is palpably more poetic and include the fantasy Styx, inspired by the music of Giya Kancheli (2002); two new versions of Hamlet staged in Tbilisi (2001, 2006); and Waiting for Godot by Beckett (2002).



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