Robert Sturua

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Robert Sturua (Georgian: რობერტ სტურუა) (born July 31, 1938 i Tbilisi) is a Georgian theater director, who gained international acclaim for his original interpretation of the works of Brecht, Shakespeare, Chekhov[citation needed]. He was based at the Shota Rustaveli Dramatic Theater in Tbilisi, and has staged productions throughout the world.


Robert Sturua was born into an artistic family. His father, Robert Sturua was a notable painter, whose works are part of the permanent exposition at the Tbilisi Art Museum. Mr Sturua is married to Dudana Kveselava, an art historian and an artist in her own right and daughter of Mikhail Kveselava, an accomplished philologist, writer and philosopher, who served as a translator at the Nuremberg trials.

Mr Sturua studied under Mikhail Tumanishvili at the Tbilisi State Theater Institute. Graduating in 1961, he began his career at the Shota Rustaveli Theater, where he became principal director in 1979 and principal artistic director in 1982.

Robert Sturua's first success came with staging of The Trial of Salem by Arthur Miller in 1965 (original title: The Crucibles). Later, Sturua mounted spectacular, offbeat productions of The Caucasian Chalk Circle by Bertolt Brecht (1975), Richard III (London and Edinburgh, 1979–80) and King Lear (New York, 1990), starring comic actor Ramaz Chkhikvadze. Starting with interpretations of Richard III and King Lear, Sturua became known as paradoxical interpreter of Shakespeare’s theater. Out of 37 Shakespeare plays, Sturua has staged 17; 5 of which at Rustaveli. Hamlet (1986) was staged for the Riverside Studio in London with Alan Rickman as Hamlet, and was hailed as one of ten best Shakespearian productions of the last 50 years by Shakespeare International Association.[citation needed]

In the 1990s, Sturua's productions turned to the inner world. Works included Life is a Dream by Calderón (1992), The Good Person of Szechwan by Brecht (1993), Gospel According to Jacob (1995, based on the Georgian ABC Book by Iakob Gogebashvili), Lamara by Grigol Robakidze (1996). And in the new millennium, Robert Sturua’s dialogue with the audience acquired an even more philosophical tone and focused more on thoughts of eternity, and on the fine line between life and death. The metaphorical language of more recent interpretations is palpably more poetic and include the fantasy Styx, inspired by the music of Giya Kancheli (2002); two new versions of Hamlet staged in Tbilisi (2001, 2006); and Waiting for Godot by Beckett (2002).

Robert Sturua’s creative world is rich and diverse. His productions harmonize the tragic and the comical, political farce and melodrama, classical comedy and philosophy, where extreme rationalism can echo the grotesque colored by sarcasm. The director manages the stage and the audience with elegance and ease, and his imagination clearly dominates the melody and rhythm of his plays.


In August 2011, Georgia's culture minister Nika Rurua dismissed Robert Sturua as head of the Tbilisi national theatre for "xenophobic" comments he made earlier this year, officials reported. "We are not going to finance xenophobia. Georgia is a multicultural country," Rurua said.[1]

Sturua said in an interview with local news agency that "Saakashvili doesn't know what Georgian people need because he is Armenian." "I do not want Georgia to be governed by a representative of a different ethnicity," he added.[2][3]

However, Robert Sturua later declared and explained that he did not mean disrespect to any ethnic group. "I want to speak about racism, of which I was accused. I just said I did not want to have a non-Georgian president. This is not disrespectful towards Armenians. If Armenians say they want a non-Armenian president, or Russians say they dream about a Georgian one, I will apologize." he said.[4]


  1. ^ Georgia sacks theatre legend for 'xenophobia', AFP, August 2011
  2. ^ Georgia sacks theatre legend for 'xenophobia', AFP, August 2011
  3. ^ Роберт Стуруа: Саакашвили — армянин, Росбалт, 08/08/2011
  4. ^ Netgazeti