The Rustaveli Theatre is a stately, grand building set on one of the main tree-lined avenues that run through the centre of Tbilisi. The corner stones still bear a couple of bullet holes, remnants of the independence struggles of the early 90s. I was at the inaugural Georgian International Festival of Theatre in 1996, and remember jamming into the back of the circle, peering between the numerous decorative pillars, straining to see Vanessa Redgrave performing a one woman show. There is a huge tradition of theatre in Georgia, and the visual, imaginative productions of Shakespeare created during the Soviet Era made a huge impact at the Edinburgh Festivals of the 80s. The International Theatre festival's still going, now renamed the Tbilisi International Festival of Theatre, and you can still see international stars (such as John Malkovich) as well at the top national companies performing on the Rustaveli stage.
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