The first Shakespeare International Theater festival was held in Yerevan in 2005. The festival’s founder is the president of Armenian Theater Workers’ Union Hakob Ghazanchyan. He organized “Armmono” international theater festival on September 24 2003 in Yerevan, which was the first international theater festival in Armenia at the time. The opening ceremony was in Yerevan State Youth Theater by Hakob Ghazanchyan’s “Kontrobas” mono performance.

In 2005 “Armmono” was renamed to “Shakespeare” festival, during which only Shakespeare based performances were shown. Taking into account the request of theater fans they revived the mono festival and as a result Armenian Theater Workers’ Union had two international festivals at the same time that differs from each other conceptually.

The festival was positively acclaimed during the years and became a member of European Shakespeare Festivals Network.

Yerevan Shakespeare International Theater festival continuous to focus on the participation of the contemporary most famous theater representatives. The festival hosted Alexander Kalyagin, Robert Sturua and Irina Brook. Almost every year Andrzej Żurowski, the director of Gdansk Shakespeare festival, visited the festival.

It is impossible to forget Peter Brook’s “WARUM, WARUM” performance (Zurich dramatic theater), world known director Declan Donnellan’s “The 12th night” performance that was staged with outstanding Russian actors in Moscow and many more.

During the celebration of William Shakespeare’s 450th anniversary in 2014 Armenia hosted European Shakespeare Festival Network’s directors from UK, Poland, Germany, Hungary, Romania, Spain, Czech Republic, Denmark, among them was ESFN’s president and the director of Gdansk Shakespeare International Festival Jerzy Lemon, ESFN general secretary Joanna Snezhko, director of London “Globe” theater and “Globe to Globe” Shakespeare festival Tom Bird, director of Neuss International Shakespeare festival Rainer Wiertz (Germany), director of Gyula International Shakespeare Festival JozsefGedeon (Hungary), art director of Craiova International Shakespeare Festival Emil Boroghina (Romania), director of Craiova International Shakespeare Festival and director of “Marin Sorescu” theater Mircea Cornişteanu, Craiova International Shakespeare Festival coordinator JoalantaManescu, director of Barcelona Shakespeare festival Velvehi Hernandez Montserrat (Spain), director of Ostrava Summer Shakespeare Festival Andrej Harmecko (Czech Republic), director of Bath International Shakespeare Festival Philip Parr (UK), Artisitic director and director general of Elsinore “Shakespeare in Hamlet’s castle” festival Lars Engels(Denmark).

“Shakespeare in Armenian Theater” exhibition was presented in Art and Literature Museum after Charents during the days of Shakespeare festival in Armenia, followed by “Shakespeare in the modern crossroads” symposium.

It is worth mentioning that due to Shakespeare festival Armenian theater’s Shakespeare traditions were revived leading to new Armenian performances that is possible watch during the festival.

Thus, making and filling the pages of rich Armenian Shakespeare theater traditions, the festival became one of the beloved events in the country to which people are looking forward.

In the prospective of the festival is the broadening the geography, new international projects and co-production in 2016-2017.

We are pleased to say that year by year we are expending the radius of our festival covering, in the regions of Armenia and it will have the continuation. After a short brake the festival is renewing its work in 2016 under the lead of the arts director Hakob Ghazanchyan and director Karo Balyan and predetermines new theatrical co projects.