The facts of the festival are briefly as follows:
The festival was established in 2009 by Tbilisi City Hall on the initiative of the Tbilisi Mayor.
In 2009, the festival had two main directions: the program of international and Georgian performances.
In 2010, a festival club was added to the festival.
In 2011, the program "NEW" was added to the festival.
In 2013, the slogan "with a delicate sense of reality" appeared for the festival.
Since 2009, the festival has been cooperating with the embassies accredited in Georgia and international organizations functioning in Georgia and abroad.
In 2011, the festival became a voting member of the Association of International Festivals; a member of a family that has a successful history of more than 60 years; Members of this prestigious family are the Edinburgh and Avignon festivals, the Venice Biennale, the Israel Festival, the Berliner Festspiele, and so on.
In 2015, the festival left the association on its own initiative.
In 2017, the festival was awarded the EFFE label.
In 2017, the festival won the award from the European Festivals Association.
In 2017, the festival implements its first collaborative project with Georgian and German musicians.
In 2020, the pandemic started and the festival presented different performances from different years online.
In 2021, despite the pandemic, the international program was held in a reduced version.
In 2022, the festival became a member of the European Theaters Convention.
The festival program is diverse in genre. The social responsibility of the festival is high.
The festival was the first in Georgia to host a performance with the participation of disabled actors - in 2012, and implemented successful projects in this direction with the initiative and assistance of the British Council.
For 13 years, we have presented:
• International program - 200 performances;
• Program of Georgian performances - 385 performances;
• Number of guests at the program of Georgian performances - 520;
• An international press from German, French, Polish, Japanese, Lithuanian, Estonian, Taiwanese, Iran, China, Russia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Turkey.
• The number of the guests/audience - 72 500.
The Tbilisi Festival hosted companies from the following countries:
Italy, Germany, Israel, England, Poland, Croatia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Estonia, Sweden, Iran, Korea, Lithuania, China, Austria, France, Taiwan, Finland, Estonia, Armenia, Japan, India, Ukraine, USA, Canada, Malaysia, Switzerland, Argentina, Russia.
Every September, the festival hosts the most important leaders of world theater and culture and their companies:
Georgio Strehler, Eimuntas Nekrošius, Robert Lepage, Philippe Genty, Behrouz Gharibpour, Maja Kleczewska, Oskaras Koršunovas, Silviu Pourcrăete, Alvis Hermanis, Krzysztof Warlikowski, Thomas Ostermeier, Tadashi Suzuki, Pipo delbono, Slava Polunin, John Malkovich, Akram Khan, The Tiger Lillies, , Amit Lahav, Aditi Mangaldas, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Jan Fabre, James Thiérrée - It was a honor to host them, their participation in our festival was our contribution to the future generations’ cultural life as well.
However, behind these short strict facts there are many stories that have become part of history and are also quite interesting as well:
In 2010 and 2011-we had to call the patrol to Marjanishvili, Griboedov and Rustaveli theaters several times. Some young people, especially the students who did not have tickets, tried to enter the building to attend the performances. There was no place to stand. They pushed the doors so hard that we were afraid the windows would break. The patrol helped us to fix this problem, although they were very surprised why we did allow them to be to attend the shows.
By the way, after that chaotic evening, students always wait at the entrance while those with tickets enter the building, and then we let them in too. We have never had any problem with them and we always let them in — they seat on the floor or stand next to the seats; their presence creates a unique atmosphere.
2009 - the catalogue of the festival was released after the festival was ended. Of course, it was no longer needed so late. This was our first year, and despite our best efforts, we had many problems during organization. It was a year of major experience. We have the most precious and sweetest memories from that year, and it was the only time, when we missed our guest who arrived and settled in the hotel prior having none of use by his side.
In 2012, the festival coincided with the crucial elections. Endless rallies were held outside, the streets were overloaded and there were traffic jams – a difficult situation and a very tense atmosphere; The festival was held in such conditions, but the audience did not decrease-they came late, from the meetings, from their homes and workplaces; some in a bad mood, some in good one, but still they came!
Once, the sets for the performance did not arrive. They were not late-they didn't arrive at all! Once we received them, it was too late; Once, they got lost in Tbilisi;
When we launched the festival in 2009, we had no idea that its development would be largely determined not only by the trends and directions of theater art in the world, but also by the audience. The audience that is always ahead of us; which is not only used to novelty, it also requires it. The audience we are so grateful to!
We could not imagine how important the festival could become for us and the audience;
Eimuntas Nekrošius wished our festival to grow as old as possible; "I wish it to grow old," he said. Let his wish come true. Let it be so! We wonder what Georgia will be like then!