real name Irena Kądziołka (1934–2022), actor. Born in France to a family of Polish workers, she returned to the country in 1939. In 1952, after completing her education at the Państwowe Liceum Administracyjno-Handlowe (State Management and Trade Secondary School) in Brzesko, she began her studies at the Trade Department of Kraków’s School of Economics [Wydział Handlowy Wyższej Szkoły Ekonomicznej]. She abandoned her studies in spring 1953 before passing the entry exams to the State Acting School [Państwowa Wyższa Szkoła Aktorska] in Kraków that summer. Among her tutors there was Halina Gallowa. She adopted the stage name Mirecka during the final year of her studies (performing under that name for the first time on 9 December 1956 in the role of Celia in her diploma piece, William Shakespeare’s As You Like It).
Having acquired her acting diploma in July 1957, she was employed for the 1957/58 season at the company of the Wojewódzkie Przedsiębiorstwo Imprez Teatralnych i Widowiskowych (Voivodeship Theatre and Events Company) in Kraków. In June 1959 she was taken on by the Theatre of 13 Rows in Opole, remaining in its company until its dissolution in 1984 and performing in all of its productions. She played Death in Orpheus, Eve in Cain, Wielka Niewiadoma (The Great Unknown) in Kabaret Błażeja Sartre’a (Błażej Sartre’s Cabaret), the Dame in Mystery Bouffe, the title role in Shakuntalā, Zosia in Dziady (Forefather’s Eve), Anastassya Filippovna in The Idiot (a role shared with Ewa Lubowiecka), Laura and the Witch in Kordian, Rebecca-Cassandra in Akropolis, the female Mephistopheles in Dr Faustus, Ophelia in Studium o Hamlecie, Fenixana in The Constant Prince, and Mary Magdalene twice: (jointly with Maja Komorowska) in Evangelie (The Gospels) and in Apocalypsis cum Figuris (shared with Elizabeth Albahaca). She also participated in all of the Estrada Publicystyczna (Journalistic Platform) programmes. She also served as assistant director on Mystery Bouffe, Shakuntalā (together with Antoni Jahołkowski), Dziady, The Idiot and Kordian.
During workshops she was responsible for the art of movement. When the Theatre of 13 Rows began to acquire global renown, Mirecka – alongside Ryszard Cieślak – was one of the actors who would present elements of training techniques as part of performances (for example in Nancy in April 1964 and May 1965). She was not part of the group that worked on paratheatrical projects in the early 1970s, but she did lead her own workshops and artistic work, while appearing in the performances that remained in the group’s repertory. From November 1972 to February 1973, together with Zbigniew Cynkutis and a group of actors from the Juliusz Osterwa theatre in Lublin, she worked on the theatrical event Jałowa (The barren woman) based on Federico Garcia Lorca’s Yerma (premiere 16 February 1973). In January and February 1974, at the same theatre and again in collaboration with Cynkutis, she worked on the event Arka. During the first half of the 1970s, she ran numerous workshops and training programmes, most often in collaboration with Cynkutis, Stanisław Scierski (Paris, November 1973; Australia, May–June 1974) and Antoni Jahołkowski (Pontedera, November-December 1975; Opole January–February 1976). From 1976, together with Zygmunt Molik and Antoni Jahołkowski, she participated in further workshops in the Acting Therapy cycle (including those at Le Tenaille, May–July 1976; New York, March 1977; Hamilton, April 1977; Lausanne, may 1977; Berkley, October–November 1977; Bordeaux, February–March 1978). In 1979 she was a member of the group working on the paratheatrical project Tree of People, while in 1981 she participated in the collective work Polish Thanatos.
Following the imposition of Martial Law at the end of that year, she led numerous training programmes in Poland and abroad (Italy, Germany, France and the United Kingdom), while from 1983 she worked exclusively on her own projects and workshops, developing gradually her own, original version of paratheatrical practices. She was a signatory of the document confirming the dissolution of the Laboratory Theatre, which was announced on 28 January 1984. In the following years she worked with Ewa Benesz and Mariusz Socha on workshops, theatrical and paratheatrical projects, some of which were carried out as part of the cycles titled Be here, now… TOWARDS (1982–1988) and THE WAY TO THE CENTRE (1988–1993). These took place primarily in Italy, but also in France, Greece, Israel, Spain, Columbia, Germany and Poland. In 1993, together with Ewa Benesz, she founded the International Centre of Work Prema Sãyi in Sardinia, where she continued paratheatrical work for several years, primarily as part of the NOW IT’S THE FLIGHT (1993–1997) cycle. Since 2000 she has been working continuously with the Grotowski Institute in Wrocław, where she runs a laboratory called The Way. Established in 2010, the School of Rena Mirecka works under the auspices of the Grotowski Institute. It holds regular laboratory sessions, KARAWANASUN (2010−2017), and THE SUN, assisted by Marco Balbi di Palma (since July 2017).
Dariusz Kosiński: Phoenix, [in:] Rena Mirecka. Teatr człowieczy. Maciej Stawiński: 30 fotografii z lat 1980–2010, trans. Justyna Rodzińska-Nair, Instytut im. Jerzego Grotowskiego, Wrocław 2011, pp. 9–11.
Rena Mirecka: Wierzę w teatr, z Reną Mirecką rozmawiała Halina Garlińska, „Gazeta Robotnicza. Magazyn Tygodniowy” (Wrocław) 1965 nr 252.
Rena Mirecka: Moja praca, moje życie, rozmawiała Teresa Błajet-Wilniewczyc, „Notatnik Teatralny” 1995 nr 10 (wiosna – lato), s. 147–156.
Podróż. Rena Mirecka – aktorka Teatru Laboratorium, pod redakcją Zbigniewa Jędrychowskiego, Zbigniewa Osińskiego, Grzegorza Ziółkowskiego, Wrocław 2005.
Marek Śnieciński: Maciej Stawiński on Rena Mirecka’s „Human Theatre”, [in:] Rena Mirecka. Teatr człowieczy. Maciej Stawiński: 30 fotografii z lat 1980–2010, trans. Robert Ellis., Instytut im. Jerzego Grotowskiego, Wrocław 2011, pp. 5–7.