Batumi Theatre of Drama which opened its doors in 1952 (Architect I. Teplitski) was named after Ilia Chavchavadze seven years later. The first theatre performance ever staged in Batumi dates back to 1879 when Zurab Antonov’s play “Has the Uncle Married?’ was performed by amateur stage actors. The venture was initiated by Batumi Policemeister’s wife, Ketevan Zhuruli.
Like in other theatres of Georgia, plays were held for charity here. Those engaged in the drama art moved from building to building but hardly ever lacked the attention of the audience. In 50-is of the 19th century the troupe was headed by Davit Kldiashvili. The founding actors’ association, established in 1912 was led by Shalva Dadiani who became the director of the troupe of professional actors – created by the council of Batumi Drama Society which was formed in 1913 and chaired by Ivane Meskhi. Since 1921 Batumi theatre has acquired academic status and in 1931-32Kote Marjanishvili became its head.