ISSN 2451-2966


Photoreportage of two manifestations against THE CURSE directed by Oliver Frljic and in its defence (27-28.05.2017). Photographer: Jakub Szafrański/Krytyka Polityczna.
Paweł Łysak, Paweł Sztarbowski, Agata Adamiecka-Sitek, Marta Keil

Polish Theatre after Klątwa: Paweł Łysak and Paweł Sztarbowski, directors of the Powszechny Theatre in Warsaw, in Conversation with Agata Adamiecka-Sitek and Marta Keil


The conversation was conducted by Agata Adamiecka-Sitek and Marta Keil with the management of the Zygmunt Hübner Powszechny Theatre in Warsaw several weeks after the premiere of Klątwa [The Curse] directed by Oliver Frljić. Its basic premise was to try to map the situation of the company faced with the extremely tense situation surrounding the production, violent protests from the right-wing media and the ‘siege’ of theatre by right-wing hit squads. It was particularly important for us to take a look at the institutional consequences faced by the management, both in terms of day-to-day running of the company, employee relations, relations with the audience, as well as the overhaul of the institution’s existing program strategy.


Institutional Critic; Critical Theatre; Ideology; Catholic Church

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Paweł Łysak

theatre and radio director. He graduated from the Faculty of Philosophy and Sociology at the University of Warsaw and the Directing Department at the Aleksander Zelwerowicz National Academy of Dramatic Art in Warsaw. In 1998, he co-founded with Paweł Wodziński the ‘theatre association’ and from 2000 to 2003 they co-led the Polski Theatre in Poznań. From 2006 to 2014, he was a director of the Polski Theatre in Bydgoszcz and seven editions of the Festival of New Dramaturgies (2007–2014). Since September 2014, the director of the Powszechny Theatre in Warsaw. In 2010, he was a curator of the Bydgoszcz Project, when Bydgoszcz was the Candidate City of the European Capital of Culture 2016. From 2011 to 2014, coordinator of the Civic Culture Council in Bydgoszcz. From 2012 to 2016, president of Art Institutions Council to the Minister of Culture and National Heritage.

Laureate of prestigious awards and honours including the Golden Cross of Merit for his ‘contribution to Polish culture’ (2015), the Annual Award of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage (category: theatre) (2012), the Passport prize of the magazine Polityka in theatre ‘for consistent creation of an ambitious repertory, for combining the premières with discussions and actions stimulating spectators, theatre and the city’ (2008).

Paweł Sztarbowski

doctor of humanities. He graduated from the philosophy programme at the University of Warsaw, attended Theatre Studies at the National Academy of Dramatic Art in Warsaw. He completed his doctoral dissertation, ‘Teatr i Solidarność.O teatrze wspólnoty’ [‘Theatre and Solidarity: On the Theatre of Community’] supervized by Prof. Krystyna Duniec, in the Institute of Art of the Polish  Academy of Sciences. From 2006 to 2011, he worked in the Theatre Institute in Warsaw as the head of the department of theatre promotion, and from 2011 to 2014 in the Polski Theatre in Bydgoszcz as the deputy director and programme director of the Festival of New Dramaturgies. Since September 2014, he has been working in the Powszechny Theatre in Warsaw as the deputy director responsible for programming.

He was a creator of Nowa Siła Krytyczna [the New Critical Force], a group of young critics writing for the Polski Wortal Teatralny at He has collaborated as critic and writer with Tygodnik Powszechny, Notatnik Teatralny, Teatr, Didaskalia, Opcje, Metro, Newsweek Polska, as well as international theatre journals including Theater der Zeit, Svet e Divadlo and Theatre Seasons. He has been a regular columnist for the website and author of many academic papers on theatre, presented at Polish and international conferences and published in essay collections. He edited the collections Liberated Energy (Warsaw, 2011) and Teatr wspólny (Bydgoszcz, 2013).

Agata Adamiecka-Sitek

(1974), graduate in cultural studies from the University of Silesia. Author of the book Teatr i tekst. Inscenizacja w teatrze postmodernistycznym (“Theatre and Text. Staging in Postmodern Theatre”, 2006) as well as several dozen essays and articles published in the magazines Dialog, Didaskalia, Teatr, Notatnik Teatralny and collected volumes. Founder and editor of two publication series – Inna Scena and Nowe Historie – and editor of numerous books on theatre. Recently led the project and was on the editorial board of the first edition of Jerzy Grotowski’s Teksty zebrane (“Collected Texts”). Works at the Zbigniew Raszewski Theatre Institute, where she manages academic projects, including a programme of research on Polish theatre from a gender and queer perspective. Research on construction of gender and sexuality in Grotowski’s theatre was also the subject of the semester-long course which she designed in 2011 for the Jerzy Grotowski Institute. Worked with Marta Górnicka on the Chorus of Women project. Teaches at the National Academy of Dramatic Art, as well as gender studies at the Institute of Literary Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

Marta Keil

(1983), performing-arts curator, based in Warsaw. Since 2012, she has curated together with Grzegorz Reske the fetival Theatre Confrontations – an international performing-arts festival in Lublin ( She created and curates the East European Performing Arts Platform ( Worked as curator and dramaturge with artists including Agnieszka Jakimiak, Rabih Mroué, Agata Siniarska and Ana Vujanović. In 2014 and 2015, she worked as curator at the Polski Theatre in Bydgoszcz ( and co-curated the Festival of New Dramaturgies ( One of the initiators and curators of the Identity.Move! project ( Editor of the book Dance, Process, Artistic Research. Contemporary Dance in the Political, Economic and Social Context of “Former East” of Europe, published in 2015. PhD student at the Polish Academy of Science’s Art Institute. She writes a blog