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2020 in Powszechny Theatre

Many 2020 recapitulations (not only in culture)  begin with “what a strange year it was”, “it was a difficult year”, “it was a challenging year”. But you can look at it with more optimism. We will start our recapitulation not from the beginning of 2020 but from its centre – from June.

Why? On 1 June we played the first live Television Theatre show during the COVID-19 epidemic – it was a comedy “The Spitting Image of My Son-In-Law”. After a few days of intensive work we took a family photo of all people involved in the work. We all were on our Small Stage, we all wore masks. Someone might ask a question: what is optimistic in that? What does it say about the condition of the theatre? The most important thing: during the epidemic we did not give up, we all did what we could in order not to lose the feeling of our unity with the spectators – the unity that had been built for years.

When we look at the photo we smile and say this will be a sing of the times – one of the epidemic theatre portraits. And it is true from our point of view – it is a symbol of the theatre which cannot – for a certain period of time – be a “full-time” theatre but at the same time does everything possible to become this theatre again. We are sure that soon together with our spectators we will say #WeComeBackToTheatre.

We recapitulate this year briefly. There were new challenges, many times we took artistic risk. This untypical time was very intensive for us. Thank you for being with us – live, on internet, television or radio.


Live theatre

In 2020 we played 120 performances live for our audience. In January it was the first Polish preview of „Love First, Shoot Later” directed by Michał Siegoczyński, then in March preview of “Little Pony” directed by Adam Orzechowski and another preview – in September “Johnny, king of moving”, which was directed on a voluntary basis by Ewa Pilawska (the original workshop for the show was prepared by Andrzej Jakubas).


The 26th Festival under the banner “Theatre”

The 26th edition of International Festival of Plays Pleasant and Unpleasant took place in February and March and “Theatre” was the theme of the Festival. One of the questions set by Ewa Pilawska, the Festival’s artistic director in her opening statement, has sounded very strong. “What does <<courage>> in a modern Theatre mean? Is it marked out by every-day reality or by spectacular events?” Instead of  theatre audience we now have virtual audience, waiting to return to live theatre. And that is why the question of everyday possibility of visiting the theatre returns in a new light. 

During the Festival we presented several shows (directed by Wojciech Malajkat, Ewelina Marciniak, Krystian Lupa, Michał Siegoczyński, Daria Kopiec, Waldemar Zawodziński, Krzysztof Skonieczny), we invited the Festival guests to a concert, exhibition, meetings with the shows’ creators and a preview. There was also a thrilling panel discussion on Theatre, moderated by Katarzyna Janowska, with the participation of Krystian Lupa, Maciej Englert, Prof. Anna Kuligowska-Korzeniewska and Agnieszka Glińska. As the participants and the viewers underlined, it was a historic meeting of Theatre people coming from quite different areas who were talking on “Theatre” with different experiences and from different points of view.

During the Festival’s inauguration director Ewa Pilawska was awarded with Silver Medal for Merit to Culture – Gloria Artis. – Her theatre is a place for dialogue, for comparing forms, for filling them with different substance. If we talk to director Ewa Pilawska we see how modest and humble person she is and at the same time how stubborn in looking after her theatre – the Łódź Province governor Tobiasz Bocheński said. During the ceremony that took place on the Powszechny Theatre Small Stage Mr Bocheński added that in his opinion she really deserved the award.


On-line projects – „The Maid Advises”, “Comedywriting”, first previews on the radio

In March on our YouTube channel we presented the first episode of our internet theatrical series „The Maid Advises”. It is the first project of that kind in Poland. We met on the Internet every Thursday with a brand new episode. Since then we have produced more than 30 episodes – in 2021 we invite you to the second season. Coming to conclusion that artistic risk is always worth-while we started to create a brand new artistic value and at the same time the series has become an epidemic diary.

There was a special internet edition of “Comedywriting”. The participants met during workshops sessions led by Michał Walczak and they were working on drama projects. The result – a few short forms making up “Laboratory of post-epidemic comedy” repertoire.

Also on-line we presented other our projects - „Holy Moly!” („A niech to gęś kopnie!”) by Marta Guśniowska  in the radio version as well as radio-version first preview of “Life Full of Colours” (“Życie pełne barw”) based on a book by Anette Libeskind Berkovits. We took part in National Reading of “Balladyna” by Juliusz Słowacki; our viewers could also take part in a guided tour through “Dark Fantasy” exhibition.


On-line spectacles

In December we presented first preview of “Family” by Antoni Słonimski, directed by Wojciech Malajkat. The on-line version show ended the 26th edition of International Festival of Plays Pleasant and Unpleasant – because of the epidemic we were not able to present last three spectacles. In 2020 we also had internet version of “Child in a situation” project – spectacles for the youth connected with workshops.


Live theatre – on radio and television

In June we presented live Television Theatre spectacle – for the first time in Poland during the COVID-19 epidemic. It was „The Spitting Image of My Son-In-Law” by Krzysztof Kędziora, directed by Paweł Szkotak. The spectacle had 500,000 audience in the whole country. 

In July, together with Radio Łódź, we produced radio version first preview of „Johnny, king of moving” („Danny, King of the Basement”) by David S. Craig. Thew spectacle was produced live on our Small Stage in the Reading theatre for people with poor eyesight and blind project.    

In July, August, September and October TV TOYA showed all episodes of our series „The Maid Advises”. The station was a media patron of the project.


25 medals for the 75th anniversary 

In 2020 we celebrated the 75th anniversary of Powszechny Theatre in Łódź. The Theatre was awarded with Silver Medal for Merit to Culture – Gloria Artis, and the Theatre actors were awarded with Gold and Bronzed Medals. A few actors and workers of Powszechny Theatre were decorated with  Honorary Badges of Merit for Polish Culture.


“Ferragosto” – the best spectacle of 2019

“Ferragosto” – the play by Radosław Paczocha, directed by Adam Orzechowski, received the 2019 Plaster Kultury Award as the best “Theatre Spectacle in 2019 in Łódź”.  The spectacle was voted for by spectators. “Ferragosto” was prepared for the 25th edition of International Festival of Plays Pleasant and Unpleasant specially for the 100th anniversary of Gustaw Herling-Grudziński’s birthday.


2020 in numbers

Altogether in 2020 we produced more than 260 shows, workshops and educational projects. Around 2,5 million people took part in all our undertakings.


Thank you and see you in 2021 in our Theatre!