Timeline of Jerzy Grotowski’s life and creative work
8–15 January 1961
Guest performances of Shakuntalā (8 and 10–15 January) at Dom Plastyka on Łobzowska Street and also Mystery Bouffe on 15 January at Klub ‘Pod Jaszczurami’.
21–22 January 1961
Guest performances of Shakuntalā at Studencki Teatr Satyryczny ‘Cytryna’ (Lemon Student Satirical Theatre).
16–20 March 1961
Guest performances of Shakuntalā (16–19 March) at Klub Studencki ‘Pałacyk’ (Stundent Club) and Mystery Bouffe (18 and 20 March) at Wojewódzki Dom Kultury (the Voivodeship House of Culture) and at Klub Dziennikarza (the Journalists’ Club).
31 March or 1 April 1961
Premieres of the Estrada Publicystyczna (Journalistic Platform) performances, Turyści (The tourists) and Gliniane gołębie (Clay pigeons), both of which were described on the posters as collectively-created pieces; Jerzy Grotowski created the montages of texts and film materials.
5 April 1961
Rehearsals for Dziady (Forefathers’ Eve), based on Adam Mickiewicz’s work, begin.
8–9 April 1961
Theatre Gala at Zakładowy Dom Kultury Przemysłu Chemicznego ‘Azoty’ (the Azoty Chemical Industries Plant House of Culture) organised by the Theatre of 13 Rows, the voivodeship committee of the Union of Socialist Youth (ZMS) and the Plant Council. Gala programme: 8 April, from 6 p.m. – lecture by Jerzy Grotowski, performance of Mystery Bouffe, dance party combined with entertainment performances by the actors of the Theatre of 13 Rows; 9 April, from 6 p.m. – lecture by Jerzy Grotowski, performance of Shakuntalā, discussion regarding the ideological-aesthetic line of the Theatre of 13 Rows, dance party.
28 April 1961
Presentations of the artistic programme prepared by the Theatre of 13 Rows on the occasion of 1 May Holiday – at 2:45 p.m. at Opolskie Przedsiębiorstwo Budownictwa Mieszkaniowego (the Opole Housing Construction Company), 14 Reymont Street, and then again at 7:30 p.m. at the Theatre.
1 May 1961
Zbigniew Cynkutis joins the Theatre of 13 Rows.
5 May 1961
First part of the seminar titled ‘Oni są naszą tradycją: Craig, Meyerhold, Artaud, Tairow, Witkacy’ (They are our tradition: Craig, Meyerhold, Artaud, Tairov, Witkacy), organised by the Theatre of 13 Rows and led by Grotowski.
6 May 1961
Performance of Shakuntalā as part of the gala held at Opolskie Przedsiębiorstwo Budownictwa Mieszkaniowego (the Opole Housing Construction Company).
9 May 1961
Wiejski Festyn Teatralny (Rural Theatre Gala), which includes a performance of Shakuntalā, one of the Estrada Publicystyczna presentations and also entertainment performances by members of the group.
12 May 1961
Second part of the seminar titled ‘Oni są naszą tradycją: Craig, Meyerhold, Artaud, Tairow, Witkacy’ (They are our tradition: Craig, Meyerhold, Artaud, Tairov, Witkacy), organised by the Theatre of 13 Rows and led by Grotowski.
21–22 May 1961
The poet Władysław Broniewski, who is in Opole between 20 and 24 May, visits the Theatre of 13 Rows. Having watched Shakuntalā (21 May) and The Tourists, he invited the entire company for dinner and declares his support for its experiments in a letter, with extracts from it reprinted in the programme notes for Dziady (Forefathers’ Eve), based on Mickiewicz, and Pamiętnik Śląski (A Silesian Memoir) and then later published in full in the June 1974 issue of the theatre monthly Dialog. The support of Broniewski, an outstanding poet with strong leftist views, connected to the prewar communist movement and praised by the rulers of the time, was of great significance and became a valuable weapon in the battle against local and national opponents.
21 May 1961
Participation in the Theatre Gala, including entertainment performances, at Opolskie Zakłady Dziewiarskie (the Opole Knitting Plant).
27 May (?) 1961
According to a note by Grotowski found in Antoni Jahołkowski’s papers, at a meeting on 27 May (this is a probable date) it was decided that ‘following the example set by Reduta, absolute silence must be maintained throughout the Theatre building for the hour preceding a performance; this is done with the intention of enabling our Colleagues to enjoy the requisite level of concentration on creative tasks.’
18 June 1961
Premiere of Dziady (Forefathers’ Eve), based on Adam Mickiewicz’s text, with a script and direction by Jerzy Grotowski. Stage design: Jerzy Gurawski. Costumes and props: Waldemar Krygier.
9 July 1961
Venue: Markowice near Raciborz
Premiere of the third Estrada Publicystyczna (Journalistic Platform): Pamiętnik Śląski (A Silesian memoir), a factomontage of Arka Bożek’s memoirs, Silesian poetry and songs, and radio recordings. The piece was written by Jerzy Falkowski and directed by Zygmunt Molik.
22 July 1961
On the day of the state holiday of 22 July, the Minister of Culture and Arts announces a list of people who have been awarded a Ministry prize. Grotowski is among the laureates, receiving a distinction for his ‘cultural and educational activities among young workers’.
1 October 1961
Barbara Barska and Adam Kurczyna leave the Theatre of 13 Rows. Meanwhile, Maja Komorowska, Ryszard Cieślak and Aleksander Kopczewski join the group.
22 October 1961
The official premiere of The Idiot based on Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Waldemar Krygier’s adaptation and staging. (The unofficial premiere took place the previous day).
10–16 November 1961
Guest performances by the Theatre of 13 Rows of Dziady and The Idiot at the ‘Pałacyk’ Club and at the café of Hotel Monopol (The Idiot on 10–14 November).