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The theatre community of Georgia found itself in isolation, practically right after Italy. Already on March 2, the State issued recommendations on the closing of schools, all higher educational institutions, theatres, cinemas and concert halls. Surprisingly, our rather emotional population unquestioningly obeyed both the recommendations and the established curfew. Of course, everyone was on Facebook, the most popular social network in the country. Study process almost immediately resumed online, however, the rest of the activities were stopped for about 20 days in hope that the life will go back to normal. When the theatres realised that “normal” would take longer, they slowly came to their senses and opened their archives to host live streaming of their best performances. Tbilisi Youth Theatre was the first to host an online performance live from isolation.
A laboratory type online platform – “Play Readings Online” was created couple of weeks later by a group pf playwrights, directors, actors, designers, composers etc. The idea came from students and young directors.
An online discussion platform “Theatre in Quarantine” was created by critics through web site www.theatrelife.ge (Electronic Archive of Georgian Theatre), to discuss problems in theatre. The participants of these discussions were representatives from the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of Georgia, managers of international and national festivals, artistic directors of theatres, theatre critics, representatives of theatrical organizations, freelance artists, cultural researchers, and representatives of arts education, artists and directors, who experimented during this period. Eleven discussions were held during the first phase, which ended on June 15 with a discussion on the new regulations for theatres. The second phase will be dedicated to what was created during isolation and quarantine.
Even if the regulations on how a theatre performance can host audience are already proposed, it is yet unclear when the theatres will have permission to host public. Therefore, the heat of the summer rising in Georgia, Tbilisi theatre will, most probably, seek out the long forgotten open-air stages in the Capital to have an outdoor season all at the same time waiting for the better times.