The Performing Arts Support Programme in Ajara builds on the success of our Theatre Partnership project in Ajara which took place between 2012 and 2014.  As part of a Memorandum of Cooperation the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport of the Autonomous Republic of Ajara in Georgia funded the three-year Theatre Development programme.  In July 2014 British Council signed a renewed memorandum with the Ministry.

The project has developed in two directions: creative collaborations and professional development.

The aims of the project are:

  • To develop partnership between the Ajara Autonomous Republic and British theatres is the development of cooperation between Great Britain and Ajara (Georgia) in the field of theatre arts.
  • To encourage dialogue at various levels and mutually beneficial cooperation between the representatives of the UK and Georgian theatres; to promote professional development of regional theatres; to share international experience
  • Maintenance of traditions as well as strengthening modern tendencies of performing arts; encouragement of new generations and new directions of theatre; Bringing new audience and maintenance of the old one by offering diverse repertoire for all segments.

Events implemented in the project

  • December 2012. Lighting design workshop. Trainer – Michael Mannion. The workshop was aiming at the development of professional skills and knowledge of the Georgian lighting designers.
  • May 2013. Programming and Producing Workshop. Trainers – Garry Hills and David Micklem. Workshop discussed new models of collaboration and creative producing from the diverse innovative British perspective.
  • May 2013. Marketing and audience development workshop. Trainer – Jo Taylor. The aim of the workshop was to introduce audience development principles and practice by the means of the participation and the encouragement.
  • November 2013. Sound Workshop. Trainers - Simon Wainwright, Peter Brook and Steven Waid. This workshop provided a basic introduction to the working processes of the innovative British theatre company named ‘Imitating the dog.
  • December 2013. British company ‘The Paper Cinema’ represented the co-production ‘Odyssey’, another adventurous attempt to revive Homer’s cornerstone of literature with beautiful illustration and masterful puppetry. The company used the language of animation, music, cinema and theatre all, to narrate stories to the audience. Hand-drawn paper puppets were made by using pan and ink and they are brought to life through live cinema. 
  • 2014. We worked with Morris Hargreaves McIntyre (MHM) to carry out audience research and to lead trainings  on designing  audience development strategy and action plans for the performing arts (and not only) organisations in Ajara.
  • May 2014. Audience Development and Marketing Workshop. Trainer – Jackie Hay
  • July 2014. Audience development and master plan formation workshop. Trainer – Jackie Hay.
  • February 2015. As part of our Performing Arts Support Programme Georgian re-staging of The Zero Hour, an amazing and innovative screening theatre was presented to the Georgian audiences. Framed as a film that is being directed by a famous film director and crew, The Zero Hour fuses live action with pre-recorded film, animation, and computer generated imagery to create a world where human relations are located to be at the heart of historical events.
  • May-June 2015. Four marketing and audience development experts from the UK visited Ajara for their induction as part of our joint Performing Arts Support Programme. This visit was followed by a three week secondment of the experts at the four of the state funded theatres in Ajara.
  • August 2015. We supported four representatives of the Culture and Performing Arts sectors in Ajara to attend the British Council’s biennial Edinburgh Showcase held on 24-29 August 2015.
  • November 2015. Tarek Iskander, British theatre director worked with four actors of the Batumi State Drama Theatre to present to the Georgian audiences ‘Winter’s Tale’ by Ignace Cornelissen. The show demonstrates staging the Shakespeare’s play in the theatre and how personal relationships develop during the work. The show became a part of the theatre repertoire. 
  • March 2016. KPI Development workshop. Trainer – Jackie Hay. The participants were introduced with Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and its specification and necessity in relationships between the organisations working in performing arts sphere. 
  • August 2016. British theatre company Gecko staged their Institute at Batumi Art Centre. This visually captivating, emotionally driven show openly invites the audiences to consider what it means to care.
  • October 2016. Programming and producing workshop. Trainer – Gary Hills.
  • October 2016. Production management workshop. Trainer – David Evans. During the three-day training the special attention was given to the Production Process from initial idea to the first performance and further.
  • November 2016. As part of our Performing Arts Support Programme Georgian re-staging of So It Goes, an extraordinary and visually captivating theatre was presented to the Georgian audiences. The show contained no spoken language, with the actors writing words on whiteboards or telling the story visually or physically. The show became a part of the theatre repertoire.
  • September 2017. Training course: ‘Initiating and Developing Community Participation in Theatres’ .
  • December 2017. Cressida Brown, British theatre director is working  at the Batumi State Drama Theatre to present a contemporary version of Cinderella, created by Sally Cookson and Adam Peck, to the Georgian audiences. The show opens on 12 December.

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