theatre galas

touring artistic-cultural events organised in 1961 by the Theatre of 13 Rows company around the Opole region. The galas took place in Kędzierzyn-Koźle (8–9 April), in the Opole Przedsiębiorstwo Budownicta Mieszkaniowego (Domestic Building Company, 6 May), Błotnica (known as the Rural Theatre Gala, 9 May) and in the Opole Zakłady Dziewiarskie (Textile Factory, 21 May). The first gala had the greatest impetus with Mystery Bouffe and Shakuntalā shown as part of it. Both performances were preceded by a lecture given by Grotowski and followed by a dance, while the first night also featured entertainment performances by actors. This event, which was publicised significantly by Jerzy Falkowski in Współczesność, resulted in Grotowski being awarded a prize by the Polish Ministry of Culture and Arts for ‘cultural-educational activities among working youths’ on 22 July 1961, this date being the most significant national holiday of the communist-era calendar. The inspiration for organising the galas most probably came from the activities of Jean Vilar’s theatre, although Grotowski’s versions never acquired the same impetus and were a short-lived initiative which was, it would seem, part of a game with the authorities within a strategy that aimed to convince them that the Theatre of 13 Rows is not elitist nor alienated from the broad mass of spectators.


Jerzy Falkowski: Sens istnienia herezji, „Współczesność” 1961 nr 10, z 16–31 maja, s. 4.

Tadeusz Hołuj: Ciche brawo, „Życie Literackie” 1961 nr 18, z 30 kwietnia, s. 4.

Jerzy Sykun: Teatr zaangażowany, „Więź” 1961 nr 10, s. 147–150.