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Theatre Olympics Wrocław 2016

The most exceptional celebration of theatre in Poland! From the 14th of October to the 13th of November, the capital of Lower Silesia will turn into an international capital of theatre as part of the European Capital of Culture Wrocław 2016 celebrations. The programme of the 7th edition of the Theatre Olympics, organised by the Grotowski Institute is filled with plays created by directors, who changed the face of theatre in the 20th and 21st centuries, such as Eugenio Barba, Peter Brook, Romeo Castellucci, Pippo Delbono, Jan Fabre, Valery Fokin, Heiner Goebbels, Liu Libin, Krystian Lupa, Eimuntas Nekrošius, Tadashi Suzuki, Theodoros Terzopoulos and Robert Wilson. The festival will be comprised of six sections, comprising plays, workshops, debates, meetings, concerts, film screenings and exhibitions. All in all, the city will host over 70 plays and 130 events connected with theatre.

The Theatre Olympics is an international theatre festival, presenting the achievements of the most outstanding authors from all over the world. Its main goal is to restore the significance of contemporary theatre. The idea for the festival was proposed by Theodoros Terzopoulos, who together with the Founders’ Committee established the Theatre Olympics in 1993 in Delphi. To date, six editions took place, and each one had a different motto: Among the cities that organised the festival were: Delphi (1995, “Tragedy”), Shizuoka (1999, “Creating Hope”), Moscow (2001, “Theatre for the People”), Istanbul (2006, “Beyo++AAZ+ndAA Borders”), Seoul (2010, “Sarang. Love and Humanity”) and Beijing (2014, “Dream”).
During one of the press conferences, Theodoros Terzopoulos himself expressed his joy caused by the fact that this year’s Theatre Olympics will take place in Wrocław: “There are many theatre festivals in the world, but they all have a similar form. It is simply what happens with everything in the contemporary world, diversity and cultural richness disappear. The Theatre Olympics is more than just a festival, as we use it to present not only the best plays but also what the grand masters of the 20th-century theatre managed to achieve, as well as the most individual and culturally diversified aspects. I am very happy that this time, the Theatre Olympics will come to Wrocław, the city I have been coming to for the past several years and seeing it turn from a city of culture into a European city of culture. According to Terzopoulos, the face of the contemporary theatre, its functions, goals and the future bring many questions. This is why the 7th edition of the Theatre Olympics is supposed to encourage the freedom of expression, defends the significance of the tradition, as well as supports the need for searching and experimentation on the stage.

Currently, the International Committee of Theatre Olympics, led by Theodoros Terzopoulos is made up of: Tadashi Suzuki, Robert Wilson, Wole Soyinka, Tony Harrison, Ratan Tiyam, Nuria Espert, Giorgio Barberio Corsetti, Georges Lavaudant, Antunes Filho, Jürgen Flimm, Choi Chy-Rim, Walerij Fokin, Liu Libin and Jarosław Fret.
The latter – the founder and leader of ZAR Theatre, director of the Grotowski Institute, lecturer at the Ludwik Solski Academy for the Dramatic Arts in Krakow, Branch in Wrocław, president of the Curators’ Council and curator of theatre of the European Capital of Culture Wrocław 2016 – is responsible for the artistic content of the 7th Theatre Olympics. Thanks to his efforts, we will have the opportunity to host the Theatre Olympics in Wrocław. As the Mayor of Wrocław, Rafał Dutkiewicz said: “It is going to be one of the greatest theatre events in the history of Wrocław and one of the most important events in the programme of the European Capital of Culture 2016.”
The motto of the 7th edition of the Theatre Olympics will be “The World as a Place for Truth”, paraphrasing the title of a text by Jerzy Grotowski, read in 1976 and published three years later, in which the founder of the Laboratory Theatre tried to convince everyone: “We are entering the world just to pass through it. We are being put to the test of the world, that is the place for truth. Anyway, the world should be the place for truth”.

The programme of the 2016 Theatre Olympics includes:

• the Main Section (14 October – 13 November 2016)
Lower Silesian Theatre Platform (15–19 October 2016)
More than Theatre (22–27 October)
Dziady Recycling Festival (27 October – 4 November)
Eastern Line (7–13 November)
the events of the Grotowski Institute’s programme (15 October – 11 November)

Among the artists invited to present their work as part of the Main Section are: Eugenio Barba, Peter Brook, Romeo Castellucci, Pippo Delbono, Jan Fabre, Walerij Fokin, Heiner Goebbels, Liu Libin, Krystian Lupa, Eimuntas Nekrošius, Tadashi Suzuki, Theodoros Terzopoulos and Robert Wilson, who will bring both their acclaimed work as well as premiere performances and co-productions created especially for the European Capital of Culture. The Main Section will feature 16 theatre productions. In addition, invited directors will give talks on their artistic credos and take part in conversations with researchers, co-creators and artists from Poland and abroad, discussing the ideas that drive their work, as part of The Truth and Nothing but the Truth series. The performances are spread over four weeks, making up the autumn season. The festival will be inaugurated by The Trojan Women – a legendary play by Tadashi Suzuki

Plays of the Main Section:

1. Tadashi Suzuki/Suzuki Company of Toga (Japonia) „Trojanki”

2. Eugenio Barba/Odin Teatret (Dania) „Drzewo”

3. Heiner Goebbels/Elektroteatr im. Konstantina Stanisławskiego (Rosja) „Max Black, czyli 62 sposoby wsparcia głowy ręką”

4. Krystian Lupa/Teatr Polski we Wrocławiu (Polska) „Kuszenie cichej Weroniki”

5. Walerij Fokin/Teatr Aleksandryjski (Rosja) „Maskarada. Wspomnienia przyszłości”

6. Theodoros Terzopoulos/Teatr Attis (Grecja) „Amor”

7. Theodoros Terzopoulos/Teatr Attis (Grecja) „Prometeusz w okowach”

8. Robert Wilson/Change Performing Arts (Włochy) „Ostatnia taśma Krappa”

9. Jan Fabre/Troubleyn/Jan Fabre (Belgia) „Czekaj, czekaj, czekaj… (dla mojego ojca)”

10. Peter Brook/Teatr des Bouffes du Nord (Francja) „Pole bitwy”

11. Romeo Castellucci/Socìetas Raffaello Sanzio (Włochy) „Zstąp, Mojżeszu”

12. Eimuntas Nekrošius/Teatr Narodowy w Warszawie (Polska) „Dziady”

13. Pippo Delbono/Compagnia Pippo Delbono (Włochy) „Ewangelia”

14. Jarosław Fret/Teatr ZAR (Polska) „Medee. O przekraczaniu”

15.  Jarosław Fret/Teatr ZAR (Polska) „Armine, Sister”

16.  Liu Libin (Chiny) „Życie między niebem a ziemią”

The formula of the Theatre Olympics will be expanded with new themes and motifs centred around the key idea of meeting the most outstanding creators of the European theatre of three generations at the turn of the 20th and 21st century, which will be raised during a series of discussions titled “Landscape Now”, organised by Prof. Maria Shevtsova, Prof. Dariusz Kosiński and Prof. Georges Banu – a series of meetings devoted to great figures and theatre traditions of the 20th century: “The Age of Meyerhold”, featuring Valery Fokin and others, “Five Continents of Theatre” with Eugenio Barba and Nicola Savarese, as well as a meeting devoted to Heiner Müller and the book by Theodoros Terzopoulos The Return of Dionysus. Because intergenerational dialogue is one of the principles of the Theatre Olympics, workshops for actors and directors will also take place during the festival. Thanks to the collaboration with the International Association of Theatre Critics, workshops for young critics from Poland and all over the world will also be organised.

The Theatre Olympics will start with the celebration of theatre in Wrocław and Lower Silesia, with a variety of genres – the Lower Silesian Theatre Platform. Over the course of five days – starting from the 15th of October – all stages and venues of Wrocław will host 36 plays from Bielawa, Legnica, Wałbrzych, Jelenia Góra and Wrocław. The programme will feature propositions for children and adults, repertoire plays and productions by independent theatres. There will also be no shortage of circus shows, open-air performances and music projects. The price of a pass for a selected section is 20.16 PLN.

The More Than Theatre section (22-27 October) will focus on artistic and social problems connected with art, faced by persons with disabilities, with special focus being placed on theatre and performing arts. The plays will be presented by: Compagnie de l’Oiseau-Mouche (France), 21 Theatre, CHOREA Theatre, Rafał Urbacki and Anu Czerwiński (Poland), Monster Truck (Germany), VerTeDance and Teatr Archa (Czech Republic). The programme will be complemented with an exhibition of photographs by Jan Rosołowski, a concert by Na Górze and a series of meetings titled “Breakfast in the process”, the goal of which is to popularise the often marginalised artistic phenomena, as well as exchanging experiences between Polish and international authors and opening space for deep reflection upon the working methods in various teams.


The Dziady Recycling Festival (27 October – 4 November) refers to the sources of Polish theatre and covers the presentation of ForefathersEve by Mickiewicz, as well as remixes of historical realisations (from Grotowski and Białoszewski, through Dejmek and Swiniarski, to Konwicki). The rituals connected with the cult of our ancestors, presented live through a one-night conference/performance by Guicheney, will recall many cultural contexts: from Belarusian Radaunica to the Afroamerican vodou and candomblé cults. The presentations will be accompanied by debates, concerts, film screenings, exhibitions and publications. Prof. Leszek Kolankiewicz is the scientific director of the festival.


Eastern Line (7–13 November) comprises presentations of young, independent theatre from Eastern and Central Europe, taking into consideration the diversity of the language of the theatre, presented by the groups. Eastern Line is a festival, which builds upon the idea of the Third Theatre, criticising the institutional theatre, as well as the past avant-garde. It is a way to defend the theatre culture from show-oriented culture. The plays will be presented by: Studium Teatralne, CHOREA Theatre, Porywacze Ciał Theatre, Kana Theatre, Song of the Goat Theatre, ZAR Theatre (Poland), Nini Julia Bang (Denmark), Farma v jeskyni (Czech Republic), ProFitArt (Slovakia), Zero Point Theatre Group (Greece), PLAVO pozorište (Serbia).


During the Olympics, we will also see artists connected with the Grotowski Institute: The Dramatic Theatre from Warsaw will present the Happy Days featuring Maja Komorowska and Adam Ferency, Alexandra Kazazou will come to Wrocław with Insenso, a play devoted to Melina Mercouri, we will also see an adaptation of Lear by Roberto Bacci and the Muzzle of Silence by the Iranian group Aftab. A meeting with Ludwik Flaszen, co-creator of the Laboratory Theatre, was also planned.

Organiser: Jerzy Grotowski Institute
Find out more:
Admission paid, selected events are free

Press materials:



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Olimpiada Teatralna Wrocław 2016 Trojanki_fot_Suzuki_Company_of Toga Amor_fot_Johanna_Weber Armine_Sister_fot_Karol_Jarek Czekaj_czekaj_czekaj_fot_Wonge_Bergmann Drzewo_fot_Rina_Skeel Ewangelia_fot_Luca_De_Pia Kuszenie_cichej_Weroniki_fot_Katarzyna_Paletko Max_Black_fot_Olimpia_Orlowa Pole_bitwy_fot_Caroline Moreau Prometeusz_w_okowach_fot_Johanna_Weber Olimpiada Teatralna_plakat


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