Shota Rustaveli Theatre and Film University

Shota Rustaveli Theatre and Film Georgia State university
საქართველოს შოთა რუსთაველის თეატრის და კინოს უნივერსიტეტი
Motto Approaching The Century
Type Public
Established 1885,1923
Rector George Margvelashvili
Administrative staff
full-time, part-time
Location Tbilisi, Georgia
Campus Urban
Colours      Black
Nickname Teatraluri
Mascot Centaur

Shota Rustaveli Theatre and Georgia State Film University (TAFU) is one of the oldest universities in the Caucasus and Georgia. The Theatre and Film University is dedicated solely to the visual and performing arts. The main founder of the University was a well-known Georgian theatre actor and director, Lado Meskhishvili


The first attempt to create a drama school in Georgia related to School Dramas in the Seminaries of Telavi (1782) and Tbilisi (1855), where by law it was possible to play “a comedy or any other conspicuous play once a week.” In the 1880 the Statute of the Dramatic Society provided for it to “hold theatre classes and temporary courses in order to prepare and train artists."

In 1912 Lado Meskhishivili attempted to establish drama courses, and set up regulations.

In 1918 Giorgi Jabadari founded a studio, and brought to it internationally acclaimed actors such as V. Anjaparidze, U. Chkheidze, A. Vasadze and Sh. Ghambashidze.

In 1922 under the leadership of A. Pagava a Drama Studio was established, which according to the Resolution of the Council of People's Commissars dated October 10, 1922 (Protocol N 31) became the basis of the "Institute of Performing Arts." Studio participants were enrolled to the second year. Also an additional enlistment for courses was announced.

The first rector of the Institute was Akaki Paghava, the artistic Director was Kote Marjanishvili, and the teachers were prominent scientists: I. Javakhishvili, D. Uznadze, G. Chubinashvili, A. Shanidze, G. Akhvlediani, A. Natishvili. The theatre Directors were A. Akhmeteli, M. Koreli, and the writers K. Gamsakhurdia, G. Robakidze, N. Shiukashvili. In 1924 the first 21 graduated from the Institute. Among the graduates were: A. Khorava, V. Godziashvili, S. Takaishvili, T. Tsulukidze, M. Mrevlishvili, P. Kobakhidze, P. Kandelaki, P. Murghulia, G.Kuprashvili, N. Shengelaia, S.Chelidze etc.

In 1927, the Institute ceased to function. New studios were formed at the studio of the Rustaveli Theatre in 1927-1935, which together with Sandro Akhmeteli was led by Akaki Vasadze, and later in 1935-1939 by Akaki Khorava.

The training Program of the Studio and the level of graduate specialists is equivalent to other modern colleges. The Studio has trained actors for the theatres of Batumi, Abkhazia, Ossetia, Checheno-Ingushetia.

The Rustaveli Theatre Studio trained 152 actors between 1927 and 1939.

A Studio was also established also in the Marjanishvili theatre, where D. Janelidze was working.

In 1933 A. Paghava established “Higher Courses of Performing Arts”. Film Actor’s Courses were founded at the ‘State Film Industry’.

On September 1, 1939, by resolution of the Government in the Akaki Khorava and Akaki Pagava initiative, the Theatre Institute was reestablished on the basis of the Rustaveli Theatre and other Studios. The rector was A. Khorava, and the deputy rector A. Paghava.

After A. Khorava the rectors were: D. Aleksidze, M. Kveselava, L. Kiknadze, I. Tavadze, E. Gugushvili, G. Zhordania, G. Lortkipanidze, G. Margvelashvili, N. Chkhaidze, G. Margvelashvili.

In 1992 the Theatre Institute was renamed as the State Theatre and Film Institute.

In 2002 the Institute was transformed into a university.


Graduates of the Shota Rustaveli Theatre and the State Film University graduates have had a defining effect on the cultural development and the character of twentieth century Georgian theatre.

In 2005 the Shota Rustaveli Theatre and Georgian State Film University was joined by the Ekvtime Takaishvili State University of Culture and Arts.

The University trains actors of drama and film, musical theater, puppetry, marionettes and pantomime, directors of drama, film and television, cinematographers, theatre and film critics, art historians, specialists of television and other media, choreographers, managers of tourism and experts in the cultural-educational sector.

Students have gained international success and the highest awards in various film and theatre festivals and competitions.

The University has the D. Aleksidze theatre, a scientific library, laboratories, and an educational scientific institute, which prepares encyclopedias of Georgian theatre and cinema.

The University has faculties of Drama, Film and Television, Humanities, Social Sciences and Management and Georgian Folk Music and Dance, where over a thousand students study for Bachelor, Master and Doctoral degrees.

The University played a huge role in training specialists of theater and cinema for the entire Caucasus Region. The University brought together specialists for Russian, Armenian, Azerbaijani, Abkhazian, Ossetian, Ingush, Chechen and other theatres. A number of now famous theatres were founded on basis of the training and diploma performances of the University (such as the Cinema Actors Theatre, Meskhetian Theatre, Theatre Metekhi, Akhmeteli Theatre, Theatre of Saingilo, Pantomime Theatre, ...).

The University maintains creative and scientific relations with other universities in different countries.

The University traditionally trains specialists who make a significant contribution to the development of Georgian Regional Theatres.

The University publishes a newspaper "Duruji." In 2005-2009 its publishing house issued a newspaper “Culture”, which was a joint publication of three art universities. The “Centaur” publishing house produces text books, manuals, scientific works and monographs written by professors of the University and also a journal, "Art Science Studies."

The University is located in two buildings: the first building at Rustaveli Ave. N 19-23, the second building at David Agmashenebeli Ave. N40.

Academic programs

The Education programs in Shota Rustaveli Theatre and Georgia State Film University are implemented through two certified programs and three Bachelor programs.

Drama Faculty

The history of the Faculty is closely linked with the history of the University, which was established in 1923 as Institute of Performing Arts on the basis of the studio founded in 1922 by Akaki Paghava. The studio members were enrolled in the Institute's second year.

Among the first graduates of the institute in 1924 were A. Khorava, V. Godziashvili, T. Tsulukidze, S. Takaishvili and M. Mrevlishvili. The professors were Akaki Paghava, Kote Marjanishvili, Mikheil Koreli, Sandro Akhmeteli and Niko Shiukashvili.

Kote Marjanishvili was the artistic director of the institute. Instead of faculties there were studios of drama and opera, and also schools of opera choir, plasticity and rhythmic gymnastics. Lectures were delivered by I. Javakhishvili, D. Uznadze, G. Chubinashvili, A. Shanidze and others.

In 1926 the institute ceased to function. In 1927-39 only the Rustaveli Theatre Studio was functioning .

In September 1939 the studios of Rustaveli and Marjanishvili Theatres merged with the studio of Film Fabric and the theatre Institute has been restored. The members of these studios were accepted in the second, third and fourth courses of the studio.

In 1940 the faculty of Drama Direction was established in the Theatre Institute.

Over the years, the department of actor's mastery and drama direction was led by Akaki Khorava.

In 1956 the Institute was expanded again, Music Department was added to the Drama Faculty. In 1970 the Puppet Theatre Actors specialization joined the Drama Faculty. Its founders were Shota Tsutsqiridze and Givi Sarchimelidze.

Since 1969 the pantomime Theatre Actor’s specialty became he part of the Drama Faculty, in 1978 the Pantomime Theater Actor specialization was founded under the guidance of Amiran Shalikashvili

Over the years, the department of actor's skills and stage direction was headed by D. Alexsidze, K. Pataridze.

Since 1973, the department was divided, the head of Actor's department became Dmitry Alexsidze, and the head of Stage Direction department - Micheil Tumanishvili. Since 1997 the department was headed G. Jordania.

At different times the Department of Acting was headed by: L. Mirtskhulava, Sh. Gatserelia; the Department of Stage Speech was led by Maliko Mrevlishvili and Babulia Nikolaishvili; Heads of the department of Stage Movement were Constantine (Kotso) Badridze and Yuri Zaretski.

At the Drama Faculty warked: A. Vasadze, G. Tovstonogov, D. Aleksidze, A. Mikeladze, K. Pataridze, V. Kushitashvili, M. Tumanishvili, A. Dvalishvili etc.

The older generation of directors formed the basic methodological principles of education, which in its essence is based on K. Stanislavski system as a foundation for training actors.

M. Tumanishvili, who was a student of G. Tovstonogov, developed training methodology, conducted daring experiments that subsequently would make it easier for graduates which would help to adjust and adapt in the new theater groups. Thus was created the renowned Film Actors Theatre.

In subsequent years on the faculty worked: Shalva Gatserelia, Gaioz Jirdania, Medea Kuchukhidze, Akvsenti Gamsakhurdia, Anzor Kutateladze, Levan Mirtskhulava, Nana Demetrashvili, Konstantine Surmava, Temur Abashidze; head of stage speech department Leila Kapanadze, head of stage movement department Natela Ionatamishvili, masters of artistic reading Zinaida Kverenchkhiladze and Guram Sagaradze etc.

Film and TV Faculty

Film and TV Faculty of Shota Rustaveli Theatre and Film State University was established in 1972. Despite resistance from the USSR State Committee for Cinematography, the attempts of prominent Georgian filmmakers - Rezo Chkheidze, Tengiz Abuladze, Lana Gogoberidze, Eldar Shengelaia, Otar Ioseliani were successful and the Faculty of Filmmaking was established at the Theater Institute.

The first two groups of film directors were headed by Tengiz Abuladze, Irakli Kvirikadze, Lana Gogoberidze and Omar Gvasalia.

The first graduation of students included Temur Babluani, Nana Jorjadze, Nana Janelidze, Guram Petriashvili, Goderdzi Chokheli. In 1982 Chokheli’s film "Easter" won Grand Prix at the International Short Film Festival Oberhausen.[1]

Notable professors include Eldar Shengelaya, Giorgi Shengelaia, Otar Ioseliani, Rezo Esadze, Soso Chkhaidze, Gela Kandelaki.

Famous directors who were former students at the university: Dito Tsintsadze, Tato Kotetishvili, Aleko Tsabadze, Levan Tutberidze, David Janelidze, David Sikharulidze, David Takaishvili, Lado Sulakvelidze.

Humanities, Social Sciences, Business and Management Faculty

The Humanities, Social Sciences, Business and Management Faculty is the biggest faculty of the University in terms of number of educational programs as well as the number of students.

Priority here is to study History and Theory of Art, including theatre, film, visual arts and architecture.

At the same time, the faculty pays particular attention to development of the specialties that do not belong to the humanitarian sphere, but are directly linked to Arts and Culture. These include journalism – with the focus on culture as well as cultural tourism and arts management. In addition to its own specializations, the Faculty provides a comprehensive education for the entire university teaching disciplines required for an extensive education in the fields of Arts.

Georgian Folk Music and Choreography Faculty

The Georgian folk music and dance Faculty is the newest addition to the Arts department.

In 2007, the university's drama department poklorisa and traditional Georgian art, Georgian folk and liturgical dance team dirizhorebisa Directors and Choreographers Georgian specialties have been added. Bandmaster of Georgian upbringing laid the foundation for Anzor Erkomashvili, Gomar hopes Badri Toidze the choreographer took responsibility to care Ucha Dvalishvili, lauz Chanishvili, B. Svanidze.

Georgian folk music and dance of March 6, 2013, and was separated from her drama pkakultets Georgian folk music and dance were created on the basis of the Faculty of Arts.

See also

Notable alumni


  1. "Goderdzi Chokheli". Georgian National Book Center. Retrieved 19 September 2016.
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