Dismantling Our Own Language: Justyna Lipko-Konieczna and Justyna Sobczyk in Conversation with Zofia Smolarska | Smolarska | Polish Theatre Journal

ISSN 2451-2966


JAN DORMAN'S THEATRICAL PLAYGROUND, directed by Justyna Sobczyk, dramaturgy: Justyna Lipko-Konieczna, premiere: 13.10.2012, produced by Zbigniew Raszewski Theatre Institute in Warsaw. Photographer: Marta Ankiersztejn.
Zofia Smolarska, Justyna Sobczyk, Justyna Lipko-Konieczna

Dismantling Our Own Language: Justyna Lipko-Konieczna and Justyna Sobczyk in Conversation with Zofia Smolarska


The conversation with Justyna Lipko-Konieczna and Justyna Sobczyk summarises the ten-year history of establishing theatre pedagogy in Polish institutional theatres in which they've played key roles. It also attempts a critical reflection on assumptions and values which are fundamental to theatre pedagogy, such as community, creative process and its anti-hierarchic character. The interviewees are pioneers in contemporary Polish theatre pedagogy. They refer to democratic values which are constitutive for their activity, and discuss these in the context of contemporary political changes in Poland. Based on their artistic projects and workshops they've conducted, they talk about difficulties and challenges faced by theatre pedagogues, as well as discussing the range of responsibility they have towards their own institutional environments in schools and theatres.


community; creative process; democracy; Dorman; polish school; theatre pedagogy

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Zofia Smolarska

(1987) graduated from the Aleksander Zelwerowicz National Academy of Dramatic Art in Warsaw, where she now works as a lecturer at the Department of Theatre Studies. Deputy chair of the Polish Association for Theatre Studies and member of the journal Teatr’s editorial team. Along with the present journal, her articles have appeared in Didaskalia, Dialog, Performer, on, in Svet a Divadlo, Yorick, Rzut, Art & Business and in academic monographs. The participatory aspect of the creative process is among her main interests (practical as well as research). An urban performer and author of urban social projects, she has collaborated with the Rimini Protokoll collective and with Edit Kaldor on participatory theatre projects. She has worked as an assistant for director Erling Jóhannesson. She is working on a doctoral dissertation about the current situation of craft in theatre.

Justyna Sobczyk

theatre pedagogue and director. Graduate of post-graduate programme of  theatre pedagogy at Universität der Künste in Berlin, the special-education programme at the Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń and Theatre Studies at the National Academy of Dramatic Art in Warsaw. Scholarship holder of Gemeinschaft für Wissenschaft und Kultur in Mittel und Osteuropa, Germany, and Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst, Germany. She is the head of the department of theatre pedagogy at the Theatre Institute in Warsaw. Founder of Teatr 21 and co-founder of the Association of Theatre Pedagogues. In collaboration with Zofia Dworakowska, she manages the Post-Graduate Course in Theatre Education, a collaborative project of the Theatre Institute in Warsaw and the Institute of Polish Culture at the University of Warsaw. She teaches in the Academy of Dramatic Art in Warsaw. Curator of the project ‘Więcej niż teatr’ [‘More than Theatre’] at the Grotowski Institute. In 2016, she received the Kamyk – the Konstanty Puzyna Prize, awarded by Dialog and the Book Institute.

Justyna Lipko-Konieczna

theatre scholar and dramatist, graduated from the Faculty of Theatre Studies of the National Academy of Dramatic Art in Warsaw and the doctoral programme of the Institute of Polish Culture at the University of Warsaw. Member of the research projects ‘HyPaTia’ and ‘Dorman. Archiwum otwarte’ [‘Dorman: An Open Archive’], conducted at the Theatre Institute in Warsaw. In her work, she combines a theoretical perspective with theatrical practice. From 2011 to 2015, she worked as a dramatist in the Studio Theatre in Warsaw; since 2012, as a dramatist in Theatre 21, where people with Down syndrome and autism act. She also cooperated with the Dramatyczny Theatre in Warsaw, where she co-created productions including Per Gynt. Szkice z Dramatu Henryka Ibsena [Sketches from Henryk Ibsen’s Drama], Klub Polski, Córeczki [Daughters], and with the Polski Theatre in Bydgoszcz and with TR Warszawa. Author of dramaturgy and co-author of the script of the play Ciało pedagogiczne [Teaching Staff] directed by Justyna Sobczyk. She co-authored the play Kalina about actress Kalina Jędrusik (Polonia Theatre), and Jak nie teraz to kiedy, jak nie my to kto [If Not Now, When; If Not Us, Who], published in the anthology Transfer! Teksty dla teatru [Transfer!: Texts for Theatre]. Member of the Theatre Educators Association.