ISSN 2451-2966


Zofia Smolarska

Institutional Gastroscopy: Publicly Funded Theatre in Poland, Diagnosed by Its Craftspeople


The author takes as her starting point the assumption that institutional theatre in Poland since 1989 has been undergoing a secret, non-systemic transformation from the Fordian to the post-Fordian model (the latter being peculiar to late capitalism). The author argues that, although little has been offered by way of substantial reflection on the subject, the changes in question contribute to the exploitation of the lowest-earning staff, leading towards the gradual extinction of craft in theatre. The article aims to identify systemic reasons for existing dysfunctions, such as inadequate self-knowledge within the organization, institutional disintegration and structural opportunism. The findings presented here are based on qualitative research undertaken by the author: interviews with more than eighty craftspeople, technicians and stagehands, both employed and retired.


craft in theatre; post-Fordism; ecology of theatre; institutional critique

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Zofia Smolarska

(1987) graduated from the National Academy of Dramatic Art in Warsaw, where she now works as a lecturer at the Department of Theatre Studies. Deputy chair of the Polish Association for Theatre Studies and member of the journal Teatr’s editorial team. Along with the present journal, her articles have appeared in Didaskalia, Dialog, Performer, on, in Svet a Divadlo, Yorick, Rzut, Art & Business and in academic monographs. The participatory aspect of the creative process is among her main interests (practical as well as research). An urban performer and author of urban social projects, she has collaborated with the Rimini Protokoll collective and with Edit Kaldor on participatory theatre projects. She has worked as an assistant for director Erling Jóhannesson. She is working on a doctoral dissertation about the current situation of craft in theatre.