ISSN 2451-2966


Paweł Demirski

The Theatre of the Playwright


Paweł Demirski, one of Poland’s leading playwrights, searches for the answer to the question of why Polish theatre is still a theatre of producers. Even if recent years have brought a wave of interest in the so-called ‘new Polish dramaturgy’, and the position of dramaturge has appeared in Polish theatre, the director remains in the centre of theatrical events. In the context of thinking about engaged theatre, and of a theatre that tries to accompany society, fighting for a new political language, and of a theatre seeking to escape absorption by the obligatory liberal discourse, this trap can be avoided by a change in perspective from director-centric theatre to a playwright-focused model. The new texts coming out in ever new conditions are a chance for a more accurate articulation of the barely perceptible problems, needs, and expectations of an increasingly dynamically changing society. The theatre of the playwright also gives the director the chance of a fuller and more significant theatrical message. In his conception of the theatre of the playwright, Demirski does not reject the importance of the director’s role. What he proposes is a shift in accent. The future of the work of directors wishing to make distinctive and significant theatre is close collaboration with playwrights, participation in the formation of the thoughts and ideas in the text from when work on it begins.


classical reinterpretation; dramaturgy; engaged theatre; new dramaturgy; theatre stage design

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Paweł Demirski

(1979), playwright. Following his debut in 2002, from 2003 to 2006 he was the dramaturge of the Wybrzeże Theatre in Gdańsk. In 2003 he held a scholarship from Royal Court Theatre in London. Among the directors to have staged his plays are Michał Zadara, Wojtek Klemm, Piotr Waligórski and Remigiusz Brzyk. Since 2007 he has collaborated with director Monika Strzępka on the premieres of his texts, and the duo have won many prizes, including the prestigious Polityka Passport (2010) for 'a consistently evolving critical theatre project [and] the courage to speak more and more sharply than we would like to hear’. In 2011, Parafrazy, a collection of Demirski’s plays, was published by Krytyka Polityczna. In 2013 he made his translating debut with the Polish version of Caryl Churchill’s Love & Information.