Robert Sturua (born July 31, 1938) is a Georgian theater director, who gained international acclaim for his original interpretation of the works of Brecht, Shakespeare, Chekhov. He is based at the Shota Rustaveli Dramatic Theater in Tbilisi, and has staged productions throghout the world.
Robert Sturua was born into an artistic family. His father, Robert Ivanovich 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 daughetr of Mikhail Kveselava, an accomplished philologist, writer and philosopher, who served as a translator at the Nurenberg 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 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.
In 1990's, Sturua's productions turned to the inner world. Works included "Life is a Dream" by Calderon (1992), "Kind Woman of Sezuan" 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 beetween 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.