ISSN 2451-2966


Kamila Paprocka-Jasińska

Can Centrala Save Us?


Founded in 2013 by director Michał Zadara, Centrala Theatre is a rarity in the Polish theatre system: an example of a company aspiring to the status of a non-public arts organization; a private theatre crediting itself with a public mission as it pursues non-profit, non-commercial artistic endeavours. The present article is a peculiar case study assuming the perspective of institutional critique – as expressed in the thoughts and observations of Bojana Kunst, Kuba Szreder, Luc Boltanski and Eve Chiapello, Gregory Sholette and others - to examine how Centrala operates. I focus on the following issues: Centrala’s co-operation with public institutions, production relations within the company, the peculiar way in which artists who are part of Centrala understand public mission – and the neoliberal, ideological base on which the theatre operates, and which stems from the fascination with contemporary marketing and management techniques. The text also attempts to answer the question whether a free-market approach and carrying out a public mission can be reconciled.


economics; effectiveness; free market; institutional critique; marketing; non-public arts organization; pata-institution; public mission; production relations; projectariat; precariousness; theatre system;

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Kamila Paprocka-Jasińska

 doctoral student at the Institute of Art of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, graduate of the the Faculty of Theatre Studies of the National Academy of Dramatic Art in Warsaw and the Institute of Applied Social Sciences of the University of Warsaw, Sheworks in the Theatre Institute in Warsaw. She has published in Teatr, Scena, Didaskalia, Nietakt!, Studia Litteraria et Historica,, as well as in several collections including Przestrzeń w kulturze współczesnej. Literatura. Teatr. Film (2016) and Teatr historii lokalnych w Europie Środkowej (Katowice, 2015). She was an editor and originator of the anthology of contemporary Polish drama Ikony, pseudoherosi i zwykli śmiertelnicy (2015). In her research, she studies the presence of ‘weak thought’ and the issue of weakened subjectivity in post-modern culture, as well as narrative and space in contemporary Polish drama.