The Film Actors Theatre was ceremoniously opened in 1978 year on 14 th of January, on the day traditionally celebrated as the Day of Georgia Theatre. This event was a truly significant moment in history of Georgia theatre and a memorable millstone as the great Georgian theatre director of our times Michael Tumanishvili welcomed the audience into his own theatre, where the permanent troupe was comprised of his students and the experimental group of directors and actors, These were aspiring, highly talented young people fanatically in love with theatre, sometimes even referred as ‘ soloists of orchestra’ or as Tumanishvili’s ‘chamber ensemble” teamed up tied together at the time when the outstanding director left the Rustaveli Theatre.
Officially called as the Theatre Workshop of the Georgian Film Studio the ensemble bad its manifesto and rituals. Central here was the studio work, psycho – physical training and improvisation. ‘Improvise, exercise on episode, and then develop it… motion, motion and motion is our main task" – used to say maestro. And so the actors came to a beautiful stage as if they were mounting the scaffold “to be burnt in ashes” totally enchanting audience by the theatrical sensation they watched in a cozy little space.
Michael Tumanishvili aestheties, his innovative approach formed in the 1950s when he worked in Rustaveli Theatre. “We were the bridge which ensured that the romantic, declamatory and rhetorical theatre of pathos… We came to bring along change," Tumanishvili, the reformer wrote in one of his books.
The production of the Film Actors Theatre have proved highly successful at various reputable festivals in Europe, Americas and Australia.
"Don Juan" was named among the top ten at Edinburgh Festival. “You have to go to Tbilisi to discover Moliere? Why not? That’s the theatre. Tumanishvili’s Don Juan is the best I’ve seen: it’s fast , insolent, modern, brilliantly played by through every fibre in their bodies.” Was what Peter Brook said about the production.
At the First International Shakespeare Festival in London in 1994, Tumanishvili’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream was acknowledged to be the best among the world famous directors works.
Another production which gained international fame is Bakula’s Poigs, Michael Tumanishvili’s adaptation of the classical Georgian play. The prefomance is exceptional as it has been in the theatre repertoire for 35 consecutive years and the oldest running one on any Georgia stage.
During the 1990, the hard times in the modern history of Georgia, when gunfire sounded in the streets, when bloodshed tainted the struggle for freedom, Michael Tumanishvili produced A Mdsummer Night’s Dream. The choice he explained by a simple phrase, ‘I just wanted to say that Love is supreme.
Michael Tumanishvili died in May 1996 while rehearsing Chekhov’s Cherry Orchard. But his powerful creative spirit still reigns in his theatre.
The former students of the great director are still loyal to the theatre, now joined by a younger generation. Much is done to preserve the best practices of the well-established theatre - new performances are produced regularly, interesting discussions are held and numerous projects are fulfilled within the walls still keeping rich traditions.
Moreove, the theatre invariably welcomes young talented actors and directors, who can benefit from the resources and support given to them so they can put their ideas to life.
"The language of the theatre has become more complex. New means, solutions, techniques and forms are needed. Anyone, especially the young, should be given the opportunity to courageously take the hard road of experimenting. We need to forever remember Stanislavski’s words that eternal Art is an endless road which requires renovating every 15 or so years: / Michael Tumanishvili