ISSN 2451-2966


Igor Stokfiszewski

Art as Vehicle of Community: The Works of the Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards in Pontedera, Italy, 2009–2012


The paper begins with observations made by the author in 2009 about the works created in the Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards in Pontedera, under the supervision of Mario Biagini and Thomas Richards. The author claims that in the performative structures developed at the time, experiencing community became the primary aspect, and the most important tools to build those structures were those designed to create a high-quality social bond. The article includes the analysis of Thomas Richards' statements, documents accompanying the works created in the Workcenter and performative opuses themselves from the point of view of emerging communal perspectives within the development of the tools of ‘Art as vehicle’, the final stage of Jerzy Grotowski's work. The article also attempts to define the attitude towards working with this theatrical material which could enable influence upon the quality of social community.


Art as vehicle; art of community; community; Jerzy Grotowski, Thomas Richards; theatre of community

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Igor Stokfiszewski

(1979)  activist, dramatist, researcher, participant and initiator of actions in the areas of political and social theatre, community theatre and engaged art. He has collaborated with the Łaźnia Nowa Theater (Nowa Huta, in Kraków), the Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards (Pontedera, Italy), with the German collective Rimini Protokoll, and with artists Artur Żmijewski, Paweł Althamer and Katarzyna Górna. In cooperation with directors Wojtek Klemm, Bartosz Szydłowski and Agnieszką Olsten, he has staged performances based on plays by authors including Bertold Brecht, Heiner Müller, Sławomir Mrożek and Olga Tokarczuk. Author of Zwrot polityczny [Political Turn] (2009), co-editor of the collections Jerzy Grotowski – Teksty zebrane [Jerzy Grotowski: Collected Papers] (2012) and Built the City: Perspectives on Commons and Culture (2015). A member of the Political Critique team and an activist in the trade union Workers' Initiative. Since 2013, with Jaśmina Wójcik and others, he has been conducting social and artistic actions in post-industrial spaces of the Warsaw district of Ursus.