ISSN 2451-2966


Ewa Bal

On the ‘People’s Theatre’: a Glance Back


In article the author reflects on the demand made last year by theatre managing director and critic Maciej Nowak, who called for a new ‘popular theatre’ and ‘people’s theatre’ to be established in Poland so that theatre’s vital mission in society can be restored. Taking as her starting point the idea of the ‘people’s theatre’, once devised by Giorgio Strehler and now referenced by Nowak, Ewa Bal makes an attempt to look into how the idea of theatre meant for a broad, democratic audience was being implemented in Italy. She analyzes the examples of Teatro Piccolo di Milano (established in 1947) and various theatre initiatives which emerged on the rising tide of movements contesting the established social and cultural order – a sentiment conveyed by Dario Fo’s engagé theatre.


Dario Fo; Giorgio Strehler; italian theatre; popular theatre: people’s theatre

Full Text:


Ewa Bal

an assistant professor in the Department of Performance Studies of the Jagiellonian University. From 2004 to 2008, she taught Polish language and culture, as well as literary translation, at L’Orientale University in Naples. She graduated the theatre-studies programme at the Jagiellonian University, and from Italian studies (specializing in theatre) at La Sapienza University in Rome, where she recently guest-lectured as part of the Erasmus Plus programme. She is the author of the monographs Cielesność w dramacie. Teatr Piera Paola Pasoliniego i jego możliwe kontynuacje [Corporality in Drama: The Theatre of Pier Paolo Pasolini and Its Possible Continuations] (Kraków: Księgarnia Akademicka, 2006) and Lokalność i mobilność kulturowa teatru. Śladami Arlekina i Pulcinelli [Cultural Locality and Mobility of Theatre: Following Harlequin and Pucinella] (Kraków: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego, 2017). She co-edited with Wanda Świątkowska the essay collection Performans, performatywność, performer. Próby definicji i analizy krytyczne (Kraków: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego, 2013), and with Dariusz Kosiński a ‘non-dictionary’ Performatyka. Terytoria (in print). She has originated and edited for the publisher Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Jagiellońskiego the series ‘Nowe Perspektywy – Performatyka [‘New Perspectives: Performance Studies’]. Her research and teaching interests include the issues of intercultural translation, cultural mobility, locality, dramaturgies of language minorities, Polish and European theatre and drama, critical methodologies of the new historicism, post-colonial studies and performance studies.