The forum dedicated to the theme "Azerbaijani Theater—150: development prospects" is organized jointly by the Ministry of Culture and the Heydar Aliyev Center, with the participation of the Azerbaijan State University of Culture and Arts (ADMIU).
Prior to the commencement of the Theater Forum at the Heydar Aliyev Center on April 11, members of the theater community visited the Alley of Honor to pay homage to national leader Heydar Aliyev and laid wreaths and flowers in front of his grave.
The work of the Theater Forum began at the Heydar Aliyev Center following the visit.
Adil Karimli, the Acting Minister of Culture and First Deputy Minister, delivered the opening speech.
Adil Karimli highlighted that the Theater Forum was being held at the Heydar Aliyev Center and drew attention to the fact that 2023 had been declared the "Year of Heydar Aliyev" in honor of our national leader's 100th anniversary. He emphasized that various events and projects were being carried out in our country and overseas to commemorate the occasion, and that the holding of the first theater forum in this landmark year held immense significance.
He mentioned the care and attention the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan demonstrated to the country's cultural development, including its theater industry. Under the guidance of Mr. Ilham Aliyev, a worthy successor to the national leader, regular steps have been taken to ensure the continued growth of the cultural sector and the elevation of the status of cultural figures. First Vice-President Mehriban Aliyeva has played a vital role in promoting Azerbaijani culture globally, and she has always extended her support to those working in this field.
Speaking about the forum, the first deputy minister highlighted the significance of constantly evolving, modernizing, and responding to contemporary challenges in the field of theater. He drew attention to the significance of personnel training in this field.
It was noted that the "Culture Volunteers" public association also began its activities at the Theater Forum. Adil Karimli wished the association success in its activities.
In his closing remarks, the first deputy minister expressed gratitude to all those who helped to organize the forum, including the assistant to the President, Mr. Anar Alakbarov, who provided valuable advice and guidance, as well as Farah Aliyeva, head of the Department of Humanitarian Policy, Diaspora, Multiculturalism, and Religious Issues of the Presidential Administration, and all the theater professionals and participants. He conveyed his wish for the success of the forum.
Theater critic and honored art worker professor Maryam Alizadeh delivered a speech on "Heydar Aliyev and Azerbaijani theater." Alizadeh spoke about the love and attention that national leader Heydar Aliyev had for the theater after he became the leader of Azerbaijan in 1969. She recounted Heydar Aliyev's visits to premieres, meetings with actors, and backstage interactions with the creative team. She also highlighted the leader's early involvement in the drama club during his youth as the origin of his love for theater.
Following Maryam Alizadeh's speech, a video titled "Azerbaijani Theater: Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow" was presented. The video included footage of Heydar Aliyev's encounters with theater employees, President Ilham Aliyev's attendance at theater openings, and meetings with members of the theater industry.
On April 11, the first-panel discussion was held with the theme "Traditions and trends in Azerbaijani theater." During the discussion, contemporary theater and its general and specific challenges were explored within the context of the topics "New objectives in the advancement of Azerbaijani theater," "Development trends in national playwriting," and "The role of contemporary theater criticism."
During the panel moderated by Parvin Nuraliyeva, writer and playwright, and editor-in-chief of "Gobustan" magazine, the main focus was on the actor-director and their integral role in theater. Theater critic and Honored Art Worker Ilham Rahimli, Honored Art Worker and writer-playwright Ali Amirli, Honored Art Worker and theater critic Aydin Talibzadeh, Chief Director of the State Theater of Young Spectators and Honored Art Worker Mehriban Alekbarzadeh, writer-playwright and secretary for creativity issues of the Azerbaijan Writers’ Union Ilgar Fahmi, playwright Ismayil Iman, and theater critic and doctor of philosophy in art studies Elchin Jafarov participated in the discussion.
The participants engaged in question-and-answer sessions, sharing impressions and offering suggestions.
Matters of concern to the attendees, such as those raised by People's artists Afag Bashirgizi and Ali Nur, the director of the Iravan State Azerbaijan Drama Theater Iftikhar Piriyev, and theater representatives, were brought to the forefront of the discussion.
In the second half of April 11, the Theater Forum "Azerbaijani Theater-150: Development Prospects" continued with a panel meeting titled "Modern Director and Actor's Art in the National Theater: A Systematic Approach to the Renewal Process."
During the meeting, which was moderated by Elnur Karimov, an Honored artist, and actor at the Azerbaijan State Theater of Young Spectators, the attendees discussed the "Universal type of actor in modern theater" and "New trends in modern directing."
During the panel, Grigory Zaslavsky, the Rector of the Russian Institute of Theater Arts (GITIS), Mustafa Kurt, the General Director of the State Theater Department of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Turkiye, Elshan Mammadov, Head of Department at GITIS, Bakhtiyar Khanizadeh, the Artistic Director of the Azerbaijan State Pantomime Theater, People's Artists Nuraddin Mehdikhanli and Jeyhun Dadashov, as well as Mikayil Mikayilov, the Chief Director of the State Yugh Theater, delivered speeches.
The first day of the forum concluded after the panel meeting, where theater issues were analyzed at length, participants' questions were addressed, and suggestions were heard. Thus, the first day of the forum came to a close.
The forum will proceed on April 12 with two-panel sessions titled "Conception and strategic goals" and "Development of human capital in the field of theater."