Vaso Abashidze State Music and Drama Theatre

Vaso Abashidze State Music and Drama Theatre is one of the oldest theatres in Georgia, performing since1935. In 2021, the theatre moved to a new home. The artists have settled in the historic building, which has undergone an impressive renovation. It’s not easy to visit the newly reopened theatre – tickets for the musicals sell out as soon as they go on sale, even six months before the performance. What is it that attracts audiences and how has the renovation contributed to this?

“The theatre’s move to new premises has opened up opportunities to realise even the most ambitious directors’ ideas. New technologies make it possible to create spectacular productions, which is very attractive to the audience,” says Julius Gružinskas, Head of StS Design Department.

The old historic building underwent a major reconstruction, with the entire interior of the building being demolished and the theatre having to be redesigned. This task was undertaken by Scenos Techninis Servisas(StS). StS specialists designed and implemented the theatre’s upper and lower stage mechanization and control systems, the auditorium’s sound system, natural acoustics, the geometry of the amphitheatre, the seats, the lighting, the video projection and other systems, and the control of these systems, as well as carrying out specialised construction works.

The first stage was to redesign the amphitheatre: the height and depth of the steps had to be changed to provide better visibility for the audience. The 426-seat auditorium was fitted with modern, comfortable chairs.

The greatest feature of this hall is the mechanics of the stage. It is equipped with a movable orchestra pit and as many as 20 movable podiums. The stage area is equipped with 16 small (1.5×1.5 m) high-speed platforms that can lift props or actors at high speed. Due to its ability to lift people, this system meets the highest safety requirements. There are three double-deck platforms at the back of the stage. Another double-decker platform is a working platform for lowering the stage scenery to the lower floor for storage. All platforms are lifted by reliable Serapid lifts. The stage wheel has also been designed that can move in all directions. Due to the relatively small size of the stage, it was decided to opt for a mobile prefabricated stage wheel that is not permanently integrated into the stage.

“The mechanics of the lower stage open up possibilities for spectacular performances: if the musical performance is with an orchestra, the orchestra platform is lowered and becomes the orchestra pit. If a dance performance requires a larger stage area, the platform is raised to stage level. The movable platforms allow for exceptional scenography and even for the actors to be moved. The double-decker platforms can be fixed in several positions, allowing for quick changes of scenery during the performance,” says J.Gružinskas.

The upper stage mechanics consist of 18 different lifting lines: 13 scenery lifting bars, 4 lighting bars and a front lighting bridge. Winwood cable hoists and Prolyft chain hoists are used for lifting.

The lower and upper stage technology systems are centrally controlled from a single console to ensure the smooth running of the show.

The lighting system consists of front and rear lighting bridges, four lighting bars and side lighting. In addition to the traditional spotlight fixtures on the front bridge, moving lighting fixtures have been designed. The most appropriate Spotlight and Robe lighting fixtures were selected, and the Chamsys MagicQ MQ500 Stadium console was chosen for control. A video projection system can also be installed to complement the scenography.

In musical theatre, each performance is like a small concert, which means that the sound system of a theatre has different requirements than in a traditional theatre. The sound system is equipped with a L-Acoustics sound system of the highest quality standards. There is also an internal communication system: the sound from the stage is transmitted to the console for the directors assistant, to the make-up room, and the assistant director can speak to the make-up room and call the actors.

Also an acoustic improvement project was drawn up. As the standard acoustic panels were not suitable, custom-made acoustic panels were designed and constructed, each with a different size and height. They are covered with a specially selected fabric to match the historic interior of the hall. StS specialists also fitted a full set of draperies: front stage curtain, backdrops, side and back curtains.

“This project is very exciting for us, and we are always happy when we are able to complete the technology in full. The integrity of the systems is our main focus. By installing all the technology systems, we can ensure that they work seamlessly together, and it also allows us to use the funds efficiently,” says Gružinskas.

StS specialists also designed the technical floor for service staff. Service bridges were built above the stage. A movable lighting chair was also installed near the front lighting bridge to facilitate access to the hanging lighting equipment. Above, it can run along the floodlights of the front lighting bridge and, with the tracking floodlight in place, it can be used for work during the performance.

“The biggest challenge of this project is to coordinate the work of an international team. Vilnius and Tbilisi are separated by 2500 km, and the project has been carried out using modern technologies that allow working remotely, but a lot of travelling was involved. Photogrammetry of the hall helped to speed up the design process – the interior of the hall, even the smallest details, can be seen in the model, and precise measurements can be taken. When we were able to install the equipment, our team would come and work on site. The most important thing in these works is precision, we couldn’t allow even the smallest error, which is why we were very actively involved even in the construction process,” says J.Gružinskas. In addition, the installation of the equipment took place during the Covid-19 pandemic. The StS representative says that the supply started to stall and there were a number of constraints on the execution of work. Recognising the importance and uniqueness of the project, StS’s long-standing partners, the equipment manufacturers, helped to avoid major disruptions.

The theatre has been open for a year now and its managers are satisfied with the work of the StS team. They are pleased that everything is working well technologically and that the equipment from reliable manufacturers is not breaking down.

Technologies: upper and lower stage machinery, sound, lighting, video systems, seating, acoustics.

Location: Tbilisi, Georgia


Year: 2022

Aukstaiciu st. 6, 11341, Vilnius
+370 615 51 755

Pramonės st. 101, 11115, Vilnius
+370 615 12 787

UAB „Scenos techninis servisas“
Aukstaiciu st. 6, 11341, Vilnius
Registration No. 120139389
VAT LT201393811