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About ”Theatre and Populism” in Tbilisi

Organized in Tbilisi, Georgia on the 4th of October, the IATC conference about “Theatre and Populism” gathered experienced critics from various countries. Among the speakers were Zaal Andronikashvili (Georgia) who discussed populism and theatre “from Marx to Rancière”, and Christine Sirejols (France) who argued that “anti-elitism” is used as a tool by both the left and the right wing in decisions regarding contemporary performance. ”Mayors ask their municipal theatres to produce musicals, comedies and family shows. Shall we call this demagogy or populism?”
Jeffrey Eric Jenkins, vice president of the IATC, mentioned that ”In the USA today, politics is performance and performance is politics. The underpinning of Populism: a construct that elevates the ‘common man’ in contradistinction to the privileged, the elite, is inverted as an administration comprised of the elite seeks to undermine gains toward equity made in recent years.”
Other speakers, such as Levan Berdzenishvili and David Bukhrikidze (Georgia), discussed populism from a historical perspective, while Leandros Polenakis (Greece) explored the ways in which opera is becoming a form of pop culture, with many singers turning into international celebrities.
The event, supported by the French Institute in Georgia, took place in the conference room of the Georgian Ministry of Culture.