Student Academic Circle at the State Acting School in Kraków

[Studenckie Koło Naukowe przy Państwowej Wyższej Szkole Aktorskiej w Krakowie] a platform for student independent learning and research which attracted students interested in broadening and deepening their practical and theoretical knowledge outside the framework of compulsory subjects. Grotowski became its head during his second year at university and was exceptionally active within the Circle. As the testimonies gathered years later by Zbigniew Osiński indicate, the principle area of interest of the work of the Kraków Circle under Grotowski’s leadership was Stanislavsky’s experiments, primarily the method of physical actions – which was something significantly distanced from the official version of the ‘system’ – and was developed in work directed by Grotowski in 1953/54. Juliusz Słowacki’s Horsztyński and Anton Semenovych Makarenko’s Pedagogical Poem were the texts used in this work. The Circle was also, to use Osiński’s apt phrase, Grotowski’s ‘first theatre laboratory’, with the future director submitting his colleagues to certain tests, with these experimental activities bearing some resemblance to the practices of the paratheatrical period. Of particular significance in the calendar of activities of Academic Circles were camps for their members held in Rabka-Zaryte (winter 1952/53), Jadwisin near Warsaw (summer 1953) and another in the vicinity of Nowogard (summer 1954). It was during these camps that the most daring experiments were attempted, accompanied by passionate discussions between representatives of various fields, disciplines and approaches. The fiery disputes between the ‘Stanislavskyite’ Grotowski and the ‘Brecht expert’ Konrad Swinarski have almost become the stuff of legend.


Zbigniew Osiński: Pierwsze laboratorium teatralne Grotowskiego. Studenckie Koło Naukowe 1951–1959, [w:] tegoż: Jerzy Grotowski. Źródła, inspiracje, konteksty, wydanie 2., t. 1, Gdańsk 2009, s. 47–78.