Krygier Waldemar

Waldemar Krygier, aself-portrait(b. 6 November 1928 in Kraków – d. 18 January 2006 in Bełchatów), director, stage designer, artistic director, painter, designer. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków and at GITIS in Moscow.

He was one of the co-founders of Teatr 38, a student theatre established in Kraków in 1957. Teatr 38 was one of the first alternative theatres in the country and one of the most important of the time. Krygier was its artistic director until 1959 and also directed all of its performances. He staged new contemporary drama from around the world (including Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, 7 March 1957; Endgame, 14 November 1957, and Krapp’s Last Tape, 29 January 1959) as well as innovative and often controversial interpretations of Polish romantic drama (Zygmunt Krasiński’s Nie-Boska komedia [Un-Divine Comedy], 28 May 1959; Juliusz Słowacki’s Samuel Zborowski, 10 March 1960). His interpretations as director from the time were typified by: a liberal approach to the dramatic text, with everything that did not agree with the director’s vision being removed from it; by a specific acting style which was characterised by a radical restriction of gesture, replaced by a monotone presentation of the, text free of any dramatisation; and by sets that were as simplified and functional as possible. In May 1959 Krygier left Teatr 38 owing to conflict with the company.

He then became associated with the Theatre of 13 Rows. For several years he was a permanent collaborator, working on the design-side of performances (he designed the costumes for Dziady (Forefathers’ Eve), Dr Faustus and The Constant Prince, while also working on elements of design for Apocalypsis cum Figuris), as well as being responsible for designing the Theatre’s posters and printed materials (he designed all of the Laboratory’s posters from Dziady through to Apocalypsis cum Figuris). His designs had a significant influence on the development of the Theatre’s particular ‘visual identity’. At the Theatre of 13 Rows he also directed The Idiot after Fyodor Dostoyevsky (22 October 1961) and Oratorium robotnicze (Workers’ oratory).

At the same time he was also active as a visual artist (there was an exhibition titled Portrety at BWA in Opole in 1963) and stage designer. In 1964 he became artistic director of the artistic Studencki Teatr Polityczny in Krakow (Echogłosy. Rzecz o procesie frankfurckim [Echovoices: On the Frankfurt trials], 2 March 1965). Once the Laboratory Theatre stopped creating new performances, he worked as a director and set designer at theatres in Wrocław, Kraków and Olsztyn. Between 1971 and 1975 he was the artistic director of the Teatr Ludowy in Nowa Huta where he sought to maintain its tradition as a place for innovative theatrical experiments (including Roman Jaworski’s Wesele hrabiego Orgaza [Count Orgaz’s wedding], 5 May 1973). Once he left this post, he worked as a director at Bałtycki Teatr Dramatyczny in Koszalin and Słupsk, in the theatre in Płock, Teatr Nowy in Zabrze and also in Warsaw’s Teatr Dramatyczny. Between 1979 and 1980 he worked at Teatr STU in Kraków, running its Ośrodek Pracy Twórczej (Centre for Creative Work) in Ochocza. In the 1990s, he held several exhibitions, primarily of his portraits of people involved in the theatre. His spent the last years of his life in his home village of Zelów.


In Polish

Waldemar Krygier: Na moście w Opolu, „Pamiętnik Teatralny” 2001 z. 1–2, s. 157–162.

In English

Ludwik Flaszen: ‘The Idiot. Notes on the Margins of Waldemar Krygier’s Production’, in: Grotowski & Company, translated by Andrzej Wojtasik, edited by Paul Allain with the assistance of Monika Blige, with a tribute by Eugenio Barba, Icarus Publishing Enterprise, Holstebro – Malta – Wrocław 2010, p. 69–70.