Timeline of Jerzy Grotowski’s life and creative work

1962

8 January 1962

Place: Opole

The Theatre of 13 Rows hosts a seminar dedicated to the subject of ‘modernity in art and actors’ textual analysis’.

16 January 1962

Place: Łódź

Guest performances of The Idiot and Dziady at ‘Pałacyk’ ZMS at 262 Piotrkowska Street.

29 January 1962

Place: Katowice

Guest performances of Pamiętnik śląski (A Silesian memoir) at Teatr Rozmaitości on Wieczorek Street.

30 January 1962

Place: Katowice

Guest performances of The Idiot at Klub Związków i Stowarzyszeń Twórczych (The Creative Associations’ and Unions’ Club) at 37 Warszawska Street.

February 1962

Place: Opole

Grotowski’s manifesto pamphlet titled ‘Możliwość teatru’ (The potential of the theatre; published in the series Materiały Warsztatowe Teatru 13 Rzędów [Workshop Materials of the Theatre of 13 Rows], Opole, February 1962, 23 pages, non-paginated) appears and outlines the most important elements of his artistic worldview and method of creative work at the time.

12 February 1962

Place: Opole

Eugenio Barba, visiting Poland from Norway on an UNESCO scholarship, requests in writing to be accepted into the company as an assistant to Grotowski with the possibility of working independently as a director in future. Barba visited Opole previously, having collaborated with the Theatre of 13 Rows since June 1961. Within a few years he becomes one of Grotowski’s closest associates and collaborators, serving him as a dedicated and loyal advocate of his work, something that he continues to do even after his own status as one of the leading theatre artists of the second half of the twentieth century is recognised.

13 February 1962

Place: Opole

The unofficial, closed premiere of Kordian, based on Juliusz Słowacki’s text, takes place.

14 February 1962

Place: Opole

The official premiere of Kordian, based on Juliusz Słowacki’s text, takes place, with a script and direction by Jerzy Grotowski. Aleksander Kopczewski leaves the company the same day.

27 February 1962

Place: Opole

Premiere of the fourth Estrada Publicystyczna (Journalistic Platform) piece, Oratorium robotnicze (Workers’ oratory), created by the Theatre of 13 Rows on the initiative of the Presidium of the Opole Municipal National Council to mark the twentieth anniversary of the foundation of the Polish Workers’ Party [PPR – Polska Partia Robotnicza). Script and direction by Waldemar Krygier; music by Stanisław Michalak. Preparing Oratorium to mark this special occasion was one of the more significant compromises that Grotowski was forced to strike with the authorities.

1 March 1962

Place: Opole

The Theatre changes its name to Teatr-Laboratorium ‘13 Rzędów’ (the Laboratory-Theatre of ‘13 Rows’) before later becoming Teatr Laboratorium 13 Rzędów (the Laboratory Theatre of 13 Rows).

20 March 1962

Place: Opole

Seminar held by the 13 Rows Theatre Laboratory on the subject of contemporary acting, led by Grotowski.

22 March– 8 April 1962

Place: Kraków

Guest performances of Dziady, Kordian and The Idiot at Galeria ‘Krzysztofory’ and Teatr 38 (performances of The Idiot on 23, 25, 27, 28 March and 1 April). In total, the Laboratory Theatre of 13 Rows gave 27 performances in Kraków.

25 March 1962

Place: Kraków

At Klub ‘Pod Jaszczurami’ a discussion event is held involving Grotowski and Flaszen on the subject of staging older and ancient works.

1 April 1962

Place: Kraków

At Klub ‘Pod Jaszczurami’ a discussion event is held involving Grotowski and Flaszen titled ‘Aktorstwo sztuczności’ (The acting of artificiality).

April 1962

Rehearsals began for Akropolis based on Wyspiański’s text.

10 April 1962

Place: Kraków

At Klub Stowarzyszenia Ateistów i Wolnomyślicieli (the Association of Atheists and Free-thinkers Club) at 13 Rynek Główny, Grotowski gives a lecture titled ‘Sztuka a religia’ (Art and religion).

14–16 May 1962

Place: Białystok

Guest performances as part of the celebrations of the Days of the Opole Region festival. At the trades union building, the Theatre of 13 Rows presented Dziady twice, Kordian three times and Pamiętnik śląski (A Silesian memoir) once.

20–22 May 1962

Place: Wrocław

The Theatre of 13 Rows participates in the Third Wrocław Theatre Festival, presenting Dziady (20 May) and Kordian (21 and 22 May) at the ‘Pałacyk’ Student Club as non-competition entries.

30 May 1962

Place: Opole

Grotowski is awarded the Gazeta Robotnicza prize (worth 3,000 zlotys) following recognition of his artistic experiments by the Third Wrocław Theatre Festival jury (headed by Roman Szydłowski).

5 June 1962

Place: Opole

Seminar hosted by the Theatre Laboratory of 13 Rows on the subject of the necessity of repairing theatre.

22 June 1962

Place: Opole

Seminar hosted by the Theatre Laboratory of 13 Rows dedicated to the subject of techniques of live speaking in the work of actors, teachers and pupils.

3 August 1962

Place: Helsinki

Grotowski (as a member of the official Polish delegation) participates in an international seminar of experimental theatres organised as part of the Eighth World Festival of Youth and Students (29 July – 6 August), where he presents a paper on the experiences of the Theatre Laboratory of 13 Rows (with Eugenio Barba translating into French). Among the participants was Raymonde Temkine, who would soon visit Poland and become one of Grotowski’s most fervent advocates in France and Europe. Grotowski’s appearance in Helsinki marks the start of international interest in his work.

15 August – 15 September 1962

Place: Chiny

Grotowski spends a month in the People’s Republic of China as an official delegate of the Ministry of Culture and Arts’ working group on theatre matters. The delegation is primarily interested in classical Chinese theatre, its training methods and means of shaping the art of acting. The vocal resonators that later became so renowned were inspired by this trip to China.

28 September 1962

Place: Opole

A meeting with Grotowski takes place at Teatr Małych Form (Theatre of Small Forms) within the Voivodeship House of Culture on the subject of classical Chinese theatre.

9 October 1962

Place: Opole

Unofficial premiere of Akropolis (first version).

10 October 1962

Place: Opole

Official premiere of Akropolis (first version).

Around 25 October 1962

Place: Opole

Grotowski gives a paper on the subject of ‘Kultura oddechu’ (The culture of breathing) for participants of the first seminar of the Union of Amateur Theatres.

1 November 1962

Place: Opole

Maja Komorowska leaves the group.

2 November 1962

Place: Opole

The first performance of the second version of Akropolis. Maciej Prus replaces Maja Komorowska.

12–14 November 1962

Place: Wrocław

Guest performances of Akropolis at the ‘Pałacyk’ Student Club.

16 November 1962

Place: Poznań

A meeting with Grotowski is held at the ‘Od nowa’ Student Club at 1 Wielka Street.

17–19 November 1962

Place: Poznań

Guest performances of Akropolis at the auditorium of Wyższa Szkoła Wychowania Fizycznego (the Sports Academy) at 55 Grunwaldzka Street.

23 November 1962

A letter from Ferenc Hont, director of the Institute of Theatre Studies in Budapest, asking Jerzy Grotowski to write a text on the subject of his method of theatre work.

late November 1962

Place: Opole

Rehearsals begin for Dr Faustus based on Marlowe.

4 December 1962

Place: Złoty Stok

Guest performances of Akropolis in the auditorium of Górniczy Dom Kultury (the Mining House of Culture).

6–7 December 1962

Place: Gliwice

Guest performances of Akropolis at the ‘Spirala’ Student Club at 30 Strzody Street.

9–11 December 1962

Place: Katowice

Guest performances of Akropolis in the auditorium of Pałac Młodzieży.