Timeline of Jerzy Grotowski’s life and creative work

1957

3 January 1957

Place: Warsaw

Grotowski participates in the first plenary session of the Tymczasowy Komitet Centralny Związku Młodzieży Socjalistycznyje (Temporary Central Committee of the Union of Socialist Youth) and is selected as a member of the sixteen-person secretariat of the Temporary Central Committee.

12 January 1957

Place: Kraków

Premiere of Jean Anouilh’s Antigone directed by Jerzy Kaliszewski at Teatr Poezji (set design by Tadeusz Kantor), with Grotowski as assistant director.

26–27 January 1957

Place: Warsaw

During the proceedings of the Second Plenary Session of the Temporary Central Committee of the Union of Socialist Youth, Grotowski issues a controversial speech accusing the Union of abandoning the ideals of the democratising and anti-Stalinist movement. As a result of ideological differences he resigns his post as a member of the Secretariat of the Temporary Central Committee.

5 February 1957

Place: Warsaw

The censorship office forbids publication of an abridged and toned down version of Grotowski’s speech at the Second Plenary Session.

19–20 March 1957

Place: Warsaw

Proceedings of the Third Plenary Session of the Temporary Central Committee of the Union of Socialist Youth, at which Grotowski is present.

24 March 1957

Place: Kraków

Foundation of the Polityczny Ośrodek Lewicy Akademickiej Związku Młodzieży Socjalistycznej (POLA – Union of Socialist Youth Political Centre of the Student Left) – an intellectual centre for the young radical left-wing intelligentsia. Grotowski is one of its founders and leaders.

5 April 1957

Place: Kraków

Grotowski participates in a discussion at a plenary session on youth affairs at the Komitet Wojewódzki PZPR (Voivodeship Committee of the Polish United Workers’ Party PZPR) in Kraków. An extract from his speech is published by Gazeta Krakowska (no. 86, 10 April, p. 3).

11 April 1957

Place: Kraków

Jerzy Grotowski and Adam Ogorzałek’s manifesto statement ‘Lewica akademicka’ outlining the activities of the Political Centre of the Student Left is published in Gazeta Krakowska (no. 87, 11 April, p. 3)

24 April 1957

Place: Kraków

Rehearsals begin for a version of Eugene Ionesco’s Chairs directed by Grotowski and Aleksandra Mianowska.

25–27 April 1957

Place: Warsaw

Grotowski gives a speech during the Constitutional Congress of the Union of Socialist Youth in Warsaw which is reproduced on 7 May 1957 in Walka Młodych (no. 6, 7 May, p. 4) under the title ‘Cywilizacja i wolność – nie ma innego socjalizmu’ [Civilisation and freedom – there is no other type of socialism].

16 May 1957

Place: Kraków

The Secretariat of the Voivodeship Committee of the Union of Socialist Youth in Kraków disbands the Political Centre of the Student Left. Stefan Bratkowski and Stanisław Chełstowski bid farewell to the Centre with a text critical of the authorities. The publication of their article, planned for issue 24 of Po Prostu, is forbidden by the censorship office (the decision was taken on 17 June). It is most probably during this period that Grotowski withdraws from the ruling echelons of the Union of Socialist Youth realising the impossibility of acting in accordance with his own principles.

29 June 1957

Place: Kraków

Premiere of Eugene Ionesco’s Chairs at Teatr Poezji co-directed by Jerzy Grotowski and Aleksandra Mianowska, with Halina Gallowa as the Old Woman and Jerzy Nowak as the Old Man.

16 July – 1 August 1957

Place: Avignon

Grotowski participates in the International Youth Meeting which accompanies the Theatre Festival in Avignon. Together with an international group of participants he observes the festival and takes part in events and discussions, while also preparing a sketch parodying The Chairs with three other Polish participants. He later presented his experiences and views of Avignon in an article titled ‘Lekcja w Awignonie’ (A lesson in Avignon), published in Gazeta Krakowska (1957, no. 212, 5 September, p. 3).

August 1957

Place: Paris

Grotowski’s first visit to the capital of France which at that time was still considered the cultural capital of the world.

3 December 1957

Place: Kraków

Grotowski proposes staging a version of his own adaptation of Franz Kafka’s The Trial to the State Drama School (PWST) authorities. They reject his proposal.

15 December 1957

Place: Kraków

Premiere of Henry de Montherlant’s Port-Royal at Teatr Kameralny in Kraków, directed by Jerzy Kreczmar, with Grotowski acting as assistant.

On the same day, Grotowski held the first in a cycle of weekly lectures titled ‘O podstawach filozofii hinduskiej’ (On the basic principles of Hindu philosophy) held at Teatr 38. This first lecture is titled ‘Podstawowe systemy filozofii hunduskiej’ (The basic systems of Hindu philosophy).

22 December 1957

Place: Kraków

Lecture titled ‘Filozofia Buddy’ (The philosophy of Buddha), the second in Grotowski’s cycle ‘O podstawach filozofii hinduskiej’ held at Teatr 38.

29 December 1957

Place: Kraków

Lecture titled ‘Filozoficzne systemy buddyzmu’ (The philosophical systems of Buddhism), the third in Grotowski’s cycle ‘O podstawach filozofii hinduskiej’ held at Teatr 38.