Hand Shadow Theater “Budrugana” was founded in Tbilisi, in 1982. Author of the Idea is a Georgian director – Gela Kandelaki. First Idea was to create a puppet theater and the company of actors wanted to travel around regions of Georgia to perform for kids. First group of actors was represented by young people with different profession.
In 1980s, because of a lack of funding, buying puppets was impossible. With the advise from puppeteer Karlo Sulakauri, actors started practicing by using only hand shadows.
It took almost 9 years of hardworking, before the premiere. Budrugana wanted to perform in a Georgian village, but surprisingly it happened in Paris, in 1991, May 27. Paris was quickly followed by San Francisco, where 800 puppeteer from around the world were performing. This was the first professional recognition for Budrugana.
Today, Budrugana is well known with its originality, shadows created by using only hands, performances equal to a dramatic theater and with an artistic mastery.
In 2002, theater name “budrugana” was changed with “Budrugana – Gagra” (Gagra is a city of Abkhazia). Because in 2002, it was re staffed with refugees from Abkhazia. They were students of Institute of Theater and Film. They also created Public Educational Organization “Kvali XXI”.
Since 2010, Budrugana became a state theater and they perform in Rustaveli National Theater (small stage). Budrugana is also actively involved in art festivals in Georgia and/or abroad.
Since 1982, Budrugana is still without its own building. For many years, actors were practicing in a basement of puppeteer Karlo Sulakauri. After that was an attic of National Theater of Puppets, for today actors of Budrugana are practicing in a room of Rustaveli National Theater.
Current Members of Budrugana-Gagra: Art Director – Gela Kandelaki; Theater Director – Zura Qvachakhia; Composer – Teimuraz Bakuradze.
Third (Current) group of actors: Zura Qvachakhia, Vadim Shubitidze, Levan Chachanidze, Paata Shengelia, Ketevan Chitadze, Elene Zubashvili, Elene Murjikneli, Shorena Psuturi, Mari Kapanadze, Nino Gogidze.
Second group of actors: Shota Turkia, Inga Kukuladze, Irakli Uridia, Ketevan Beselia, Nino Nemsveridze, Jumber Takalanidze, Orest Todua, Ana Partsvania, Irakli Mizrakhi, Anzhela Abshilava, Tinatin Chkheidze.
First Group of Actors: Giorgi Machavariani, Vakhtang Komakhidze, Ia Elua (Eluashvili), Ketevan Shavdia, Marina Gvichia, Ilona Gvichia, Sopo Sikharulidze, Mzia Mchedlishvili, Maka Lortkipanidze, Paata Pachuashvili, Ana Gogorishvili, Nato Zazashvili, Elene Pipia, Nugzar Peronidze (Director of Theater of That Time).