First spectacles’ previews on the internet in Poland – virtual theatre in the pandemia time

Powszechny Theatre in Łódź is the first Polish theatre to present two new spectacles on its two stages, but on the internet.

  • In the times of pandemia we are not passively waiting but we seek new solutions for our Theatre – for the present and for the future – says director Ewa Pilawska.
  • In the times of pandemia Powszechny Theatre is producing two other projects – internet series „The Maid Advises” and internet „Comedywriting” workshops, led by Michał Walczak. 

Positive thinking about future     

Many cultural institutions have opened their archives to the public. But pandemia has stopped the proces of producing new  spectacles. No one knows when the theatres open and when they are visited by the spectators. Ewa Pilawska, the Powszechny Theatre director underlines that the times of pandemia should make us seek new solutions and start positive thinking. – We do not want to waste that time, we work the way we like to do – not giving up and working on new future values – says Ms Pilawska. That is why Powszechny Theatre will produce two spectacles that you can see not on the stage but on your TV or computer screen. It is enough to buy ticket and have internet access.    

Virtual theatre for the pandemia time

- The spectacles will be professionally recorded so that the online preview will not do any harm to the artistic value. Tickets will be available on the internet. Virtual house will have 450 seats on the Big Stage and 200 seats on the Small Stage. The spectacles will be shown according to the schedule – specific day, specific time – just as it is in a normal theatre. We will produce a virtual, alternate theatre version for the pandemia time – says director Ewa Pilawska.

Modern comedy and a spectacle for the youth

On our Big Stage we will produce a modern comedy with many universal subjects. On our Small Stage we will produce a spectacle for our young viewers – it will be a preview in the „Child in a situation” project. It will be connected with interactive internet w0rkshops. – I decided to produce that spectacle because we have been receiving many calls from the teachers and the schools that would like to join the internet shows and workshops. I am very happy that I managed to find a certain sum of money for the project from the sponsor – says the Powszechny Theatre director.  

Challenges for the theatre in the pandemia times

- I would like those two previews to put new life to our Theatre in the pandemia times and at the same time to prepare us for the possibility of working in case the pandemia returns sometime in future. Our spectators expect new quality and meeting a challenge from us – and hence my idea to produce new shows in a brand new formula. Of course it is taking a risk and entering a new, unknown field but we believe it will end up with such success as it was with „Shear Madness”. The show had its Polish first preview in Powszechny Theatre in Łódź and now it has been a hit in many Polish theatres. It may be hard to believe but in those times it was really a brave decision and a great risk – says Ewa Pilawska.

- We must also have in mind the actors who have lost their income. The contract actors are particularly in a difficult situation – they have lost all their wages in our Theatre. We have 17 full-time actors and 6 contract actors. That is why we introduce another brand new solution – the actors will receive percentage commission from the online shows, a certain royalties from the tickets. It will be a real support for them in times when regular spectacles are not shown and the actors cannot play on the stage – says the Powszechny Theatre director.