Timeline of Jerzy Grotowski’s life and creative work

1963

3 January 1963

Place: Opole

Premiere of the Estrada Dokumentalna (Documentary Platform; formerly Estrada Publicystyczna – Journalistic Platform) piece Maska (Mask), directed by Ryszard Cieślak.

16 January 1963

Place: Opole

Meeting of the Theatre Laboratory 13 Rows company regarding the actors’ difficult financial situation and their terrible living and working conditions.

1 February 1963

Place: Gniezno

Following an invitation from the Board of the Koło Stowarzyszenia Polskich Artystów Teatru i Filmu przy Państwowym Teatrze im. Aleksandra Fredry (Circle of the Association of Polish Theatre and Film Artists at Teatr Aleksandra Fredry), Grotowski presents a paper titled ‘Teatr – tradycja i nowoczesność’ (Theatre – tradition and modernity).

20 February – 3 March 1963

Place: Łódź

Guest performances of Akropolis based on Wyspiański’s text at the ‘Pałacyk’ Students Club (Union of Socialist Youth [ZMS] centre) at 262 Piotrkowska Street (18 performances in total).

1 March 1963

Place: Lausanne

A special edition of the journal Pour l’Art dedicated to Poland features an article by Raymonde Temkine, which includes excerpts from the author’s conversations with Grotowski: ‘Jerzy Grotowski et son Théâtre–Laboratoire’, Pour l’Art (Lausanne/ Paris), March/April, 1964, pp. 36–39.

1 March 1963

Place: Łódź

A discussion with Grotowski organised by Klub Miłośników Teatru of Towarzystwo Przyjaciół Łodzi (the Theatre Lovers’ Club of the Society of Friends of Łódź) is held at the café of the International Press and Book Club.

9 March 1963

Place: Geneva

The literary supplement of Journal de Genève includes Eugenio Barba’s text ‘Vers un théâtre magique et sacrilège’, (Supplément littéraire du Journal de Genève, 9–10 March 1963, no. 58, p. 1) and also an interview with Grotowski titled ‘Un théâtre magique et sacrilege. Les arguments de Grotowski’ (p. 3).

15–16 March 1963

Place: Opole

A meeting of the editorial board of the theatre journal Pamiętnik Teatralny with Jerzy Grotowski. Members of the editorial board present are: Zbigniew Raszewski, Jerzy Timoszewicz, Andrzej Wysiński, Bożena Frankowska and Zenobiusz Strzelecki. Grotowski also invites Eugenio Barba and Zbigniew Osiński to participate. On the morning of the first day, fragments of Shakuntalā, Mystery Bouffe, Dziady and Kordian are presented at the Theatre, while in the evening Akropolis is performed in full. On the second day, the group presents various exercises along with a blocking rehearsal of Dr Faustus. According to information provided by Zbigniew Osiński (in Teatr 13 Rzędów...), the editorial board of Pamiętnik Teatralny arrived on the first day just before the start of Akropolis, following which a discussion meeting took place in the flat rented by Eugenio Barba on Opole’s main square, above the Pająk restaurant.

27 March 1963

Place: Opole

To mark World Theatre Day, the Laboratory Theatre of 13 Rows publishes a two-page pamphlet featuring Ludwik Flaszen’s text ‘Laurka z troską’. Forty six years later, to mark Grotowski Year, this same text was read in Polish theatres as the address for World Theatre Day 2009.

23 April 1963

Place: Opole

The premiere (and first-ever Polish performance) Dr Faustus based on Marlowe, adapted and directed by Grotowski with Zbigniew Cynkutis in the title role.

May 1963

Place: Opole

Eugenio Barba begins rehearsals for his own adaptation of Dante’s Divine Comedy with stage design by Roland Grünberg, a French painter who had been in Poland for two years. This is to be Barba’s diploma piece for the directing course at Warsaw’s State Drama School (PWST).

9–13 May 1963

Place: Kraków

Guest performances of Dr Faustus at the Bakałarz Student Club of Wyższa Szkoła Pedagogiczna (the Institute of Education) at 22 Straszewskiego Street.

11 May 1963

Place: Kraków

A discussion is held at the Bakałarz Club, led by Tadeusz Kudliński, following the performance of Dr Faustus.

16–18 May 1963

Place: Kraków

Guest performances of Akropolis in a space at 7 Powiśle Street.

8–18 June 1963

Place: Łódź

Guest performances of Dr Faustus at the Union of Socialist Youth’s ‘Pałacyk’ Club at 262 Piotrkowska Street (11 performances in total). Participants of the Tenth Congress of the International Theatre Institute held in Warsaw are invited to Łódź on the initiative of Eugenio Barba, who hires a bus to bring them to the city (those who come include: Jean Darcante, Hubert Gignoux, Michael Kustow, Alan Seymour and Raymonde Temkine). The performance makes a great impression on the participants of this ‘excursion’, resulting in invitations to perform abroad and participate in the subsequent editions of the Theatre of Nations in Paris (1964 and 1965). However, the Department of Culture of the Central Committee of the Polish United Workers’ Party (PZPR) and the Ministry of Culture and Arts refuse to allow the group to honour the invitations.

Second half of June 1963

Place: Opole

The British director Michael Elster makes a documentary film about the Laboratory Theatre of 13 Rows (this was his diploma piece at Państwowa Wyższa Szkoła Teatralna i Filmowa in Łódź (supervised by Prof. Stanisław Różewicz). Ultimately, two versions of the film are made: a twenty-minute cut with English commentary titled Laboratory Theatre and a twenty-eight-minute version with Polish commentary titled List z Opola (Letter from Opole).

3 July 1963

Place: Opole

In a letter to the Department of Culture of the Voivodeship National Council in Opole, Grotowski informs its members that to mark the Theatre’s fifth anniversary he is preparing an adaptation of Mikhail Sholokhov’s The Fate of Man (with the premiere planned for January 1964).

1 August 1963

Place: Milan

A double issue of the theatre monthly Sipario (August–September 1963, nos 208–209) dedicated to Polish theatre and drama is published and features two articles on the Laboratory Theatre of 13 Rows: Roland Grünberg’s Il Teatro–Laboratorio di Opole ovvero il teatro come autoanalisi collectiva, pp. 54–58 and Tadeusz Kudliński’s Oltre il realismo verso i nuovi miti, pp. 17–19.

September 1963

Place: Opole

A closed performance of The Divine Comedy, based on Dante, directed by Eugenio Barba.

October 1963

Place: Opole

Work starts on Studium o Hamlecie (Hamlet Study).

Around mid-October 1963

Place: Świdnica and Wałbrzych

Guest performances of Dr Faustus in an old church in Świdnica and at Dom Kultury Fabryki Urządzeń Pomiarowych (the House of Culture of the Measurement Equipment Factory) in Wałbrzych.

17–21 October 1963

Place: Zielona Góra

Guest performances of Dr Faustus at Klub Towarzystwa Przyjaźni Polsko-Radzieckiej (the Club of the Society of Polish-Soviet Friendship) – five performances in total.

23–25 and 27–31 October 1963

Place: Poznań

Guest performances of Dr Faustus at Dom Tramwajarza 9the House of Tramway Workers) on Słowacki Street (eight performances). During the visit to Poznań, a meeting of the company with representatives of the artistic and academic milieux of the city takes place at Klub Związków Twórczych (the Club of Creative Unions) on the city’s Old Town square.

31 December 1963

Place: Opole

Zbigniew Cynkutis leaves the group.