Rising Star Rumiya Aghayeva on Career, Acting and Theatre Industry in Azerbaijan

Rumiya Aghayeva has recently been making a big splash on Azerbaijan’s theatre scene, particularly in the plays of ADO theatre, which often pose challenging questions to Azerbaijani society and traditional values.

She has also appeared in a number of commercials and TV series, embodying athletes, amazon warrior princesses and other roles.

The young and rising actress agreed to talk to Meydan TV about her childhood dreams, her profession and future plans.

- You were born in a family of actors and directors. How did this influence your decision to continue in this line of work?

- If it influenced me, I’m not sure I can say I felt it entirely consciously. I remember I have wanted to become a director since I was very young. My family, however, wanted me to become an actress. My parents and grandparents would constantly ask me to perform a dance, a song in front of our guests or when we were at someone else’s house. However, this line of work didn’t really interest me at that point. I was making up performances in my mind – so when it came time to enroll at the university, I chose directing myself. 

Rumiya Aghayeva plays in ADO Theatre production 'Stop'

Rumiya Aghayeva plays in ADO Theatre production 'Stop'

- Did your father support you in this decision or did he object?

-It was so natural that there was no point of expressing neither support nor objection. Things happened naturally and my father always stood besides me in my decisions  We didn’t even discuss whether I should become an actress or not. It was pretty natural for him that I chose this profession.  

- Why did you choose to work as an actress in ADO theatre – because of it aesthetic aspect and social commentary, or was it more a chance partnership?

- I lived in Moscow for a year. When I came back to Baku my father told me about this theater and he told that they are looking for a choreographer.  He said they were a group of nice, young and open-minded people, that I should go and meet them and that maybe we could work together. This is how I met Elmin and the other guys. They were working on their now well-known play, “Stop”. 

I started as a choreographer. After a while, one of the actresses left the theatre, and I offered myself as a replacement until they would find a new actress. And I played the role so well they decided to stick with me instead. So I basically started working there by chance. But it was in fact their aesthetic choices, their social commentary, that brought me to them in the first place.

Ado Theatre Production 'Stop', Rumiya Aghayeva (R)

Ado Theatre Production 'Stop', Rumiya Aghayeva (R)

- You are currently acting in a TV series alongside your work with ADO. “Brides Without a Dowry” has become immensely popular. Which of these areas of activity is more closer to you and your career path? Where do you feel more like a professional actress? In which direction would you like to continue your career path? 

- Both career paths are interesting to me. If I’m an actress, if I want to continue in this direction, I think this is how it has to be. For example, as a dancer, I should feel comfortable dancing both national and modern dances, in addition to acting as well – this is also true of acting. I can’t say that one is more ‘comfortable’ for me personally. There is one thing I would like to do more of - and that’s comedy. And thrillers.

- Do you feel any discomfort in playing your role in “Brides Without a Dowry”? That is, the role of a traditional-minded sister…

- At ADO, we are able to promote our personal views and values as a team at ADO. There is more freedom at ADO theatre. We can do whatever we want to do as a creative team.  It is a different situation when you work in TV. You have to perform whatever is written in the script, and the actor has little say in the matter. The only thing required from me is to perform whatever is written as professionally as possible. True, there are some discomforting moments at times, but as an actress my aim is to perform the role to the best of my ability… 

- Where do you see yourself in the future as an actress? In national theatre? Or film? Or do you hope to make it in the global industry?

- Of course I’d like to see myself performing not only in our national cinema and theaters. I like the idea of working on a more global level. But as of now I don’t have any plans on how I’m going to make that happen.

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