Since 1963 till today, opens the curtains for 50 years
AST (AST; Ankara Art Theatre) – was founded at 6 December 1963 by Asaf Çiğiltepe and his friends as a revolutionary-progressive theater, is Turkey’s eldest and entrenched private theatre.
AST had protected its percipience of art as an avant-garde theatre which based on team-play. Güner Sümer had taken Asaf Çiğiltepe’s role of General Director of Art after his passing away at a car accident at 1967 while a tour was happening. After Güner Sümer, Rutkay Aziz had taken the place of General Director of Art. For many years Aziz had conducted that position, had his sign at stage as an actor and the director.
Since the 60’s Turkey till todays’; AST is a school that educated hundreds of actors, writers, directors, stage designers, stage musicians and technicians; placed in history as a ‘touchstone’. AST had been a pioneer of youth and experimental theatre against commercial and subsidized ones in its turn of period. As a theatre based on repertory and team play, AST mostly had included contemporary world classics (Samuel Beckett, Brendan Behan, Armand Salacrou, Max Frisch, August Strindberg) had especially gain an identity of being a ‘Brecht-Gorky Theatre’ ; In the meanwhile, it had given an importance to national contemporary Turkish theatre , (Nazım Hikmet, Orhan Kemal, Cahit Atay, Turgut Özakman) also had provided a contribution for educating a generation of new Turkish playwrights.(Sermet Çağan, İsmet Küntay, Güner Sümer, Bilgesu Erenus, Vasıf Öngören, Oktay Arayıcı) Directors like Asaf Çiyiltepe, Güner Sümer, Genco Erkal, Ergin Orbey, Çetin Öner, Rutkay Aziz and Yılmaz Onay, stage designers like Osman Şengezer and Yücel Tanyeri, composers like Timur Selçuk worked at AST.
Workers of AST struggled against suppressions and shutdowns for many times since its founding. In the season of 1971-1972 Bertold Brecht’s ‘Fear and Mystery of the Third Reich’ had played as ‘Fear and Mystery of the Hitler Regime’ which had directed by Yılmaz Onay. After that, martial law put AST under surveillance. However in the season of 1974-1975 Maxim Gorky’s novel ‘The Mother’ which dramatized by Bertold Brecht had put on the stage by director Rutkay Aziz and the workers of the AST. The Mother also gave a birth to a public march. A public march for audience of AST and Turkey. Audience had left the theatre while singing the march of May which had taken a place on the play, it had teached, the theatre can cause audience to earn social consciousness from the stage.
AST is a art foundation which produced the plays of the writers like Uğur Mumcu, Faruk Erem, Eşber Yağmurdereli, Yaşar Kemal, Turgut Özakman, Sabahattin Ali, Yılmaz Güney, Behrengi, From the season of 1973-1974 till today AST is couching youth actors for its own staff and Turkish Theatre by opening Traditional Amateur Theatre Courses which is appropriate to its own vision of world and intelligence of act. AST produced 160 plays in total since the year 1963 and for 50 years it has been protecting its place at Turkey and also the rest of the world as a revolutionary and an avant-garde. To serve for ‘the mother’ of all arts; ‘the art of living’ became the basic artistic idea of AST since its founding.. AST, is opening its curtains with its socialist line of view, and human-centered foundation principles against the difficulties of acting a political theatre, the apolitical climate which had created by the new world order, the culture market which reduces the art to an empty entertainment.