We, The New Public Theatre | Nowak | Polish Theatre Journal

ISSN 2451-2966


Queuing for cheap tickets during the '100 Eurocents Ticket' [Bilet za 250 groszy] event. Zbigniew Raszewski Theatre Institute records.
Maciej Nowak

We, The New Public Theatre


The new theatre has ceased to be a refuge for a group of know-it-alls and culture mavens convinced of their own uniqueness. We don’t want to see them in our theatre, because the past decade has shown that these supposed guardians of Polish conscience and good taste did not in fact meet the challenge of the age. They’re just here on holiday. The so-called Polish intelligentsia no longer treats visits to the theatre, reading books, taking part in concerts as essential things. It has taken up paying off loans, furnishing flats, traveling to Greece and Spain. And constantly complaining, which justifies their intellectual passivity and consumer appetites. The new theatre has no subjects in common with this audience. It is much more interested in the people who meet in clubs, cinemas; the girls and guys from motorcycle clubs; young intellectuals, craftsmen, concertgoers; the unemployed, and those trying to find their place in the world. This audience is not interested in theatre that is a conventional, cultural gesture. To interest them, it’s essential to have distinct opinions, orientation in the world, the courage to diagnosis problems. The new theatre is not a refuge. The new theatre is an agora.


community; new public theatre; popular theatre; public-service institution

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Maciej Nowak

(1964), art historian, theatre scholar, theatre and restaurant critic. In 1988–1989 worked for Pamiętnik Teatralny journal, before founding and becoming editor of Goniec Teatralny (1990–1992) and Ruch Teatralny (1994–2005). Between 1997 and 2000 edited the culture section of newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza daily. From 2000 to 2006 head and artistic director of the Wybrzeże Theatre in Gdańsk, which at this time became one of the most talked-about Polish venues, the company for the debuts and successes of a number of young directors: Grażyna Kania, Agnieszka Olsten, Monika Pęcikiewicz, Paweł Demirski, Jan Klata, Wojciech Klemm and Michał Zadara. Founder and director (2003–2013) of the Zbigniew Raszewski Theatre Institute in Warsaw. Since September 2013 a juror on the TV series Top Chef Polska. Since 1 September 2015 the artistic director of the Polski Theatre in Poznań.