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Thirty Years of the Workcenter: A Retrospective

Conference with Grotowski’s artistic heir Thomas Richards

Sun 19 June 2016, 18:00
Na Grobli Studio
In English with simultaneous Polish translation

Admission free

During Thirty Years of the Workcenter: A Retrospective, Richards will guide the public on a journey through the different phases of the performance research developed at the Workcenter. Over the course of its 30 year history, the Workcenter has documented many of its performance works at critical points in their development. In this Retrospective – that interweaves analysis, the screening of film fragments and discussion – the public will encounter the Workcenter praxis from its inception in the earliest years, dedicated to Art as Vehicle, through a period of extreme opening, to the Workcenter’s contemporary performance opuses, which embody the research’s ongoing inquiries, not only in relation to the deepening of an exploration of the human being in action, but also to widening the ways in which the essential aspects of the research can come in contact with individuals, cultures, and societies.


Thomas Richards (BA, Yale University; MA, University of Bologna; PhD, University of Paris 8) is Artistic Director of the research of Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards. He began his apprenticeship with Grotowski in 1985, and their work together developed until Grotowski’s passing away in 1999. Richards worked as Grotowski’s assistant, but soon he became the leader of one of the work teams, and then Grotowski’s ‘essential collaborator’. Eventually, he became Director of the Research Program on Performing Arts, conducted at the Workcenter in the domain of Art as Vehicle. He was the main creator and doer of the performative opus within the Workcenter Art as Vehicle research entitled Downstairs Action (filmed by Mercedes Gregory in 1989), as well as the creator and main doer of Action, and the creator and a doer of The Letter, the initial stage of which was called The Twin: An Action in Creation. He co-directed One Breath LeftOne Breath Left: Dies IræDies Iræ and Dies Iræ: The Preposterous Theatrum Interioris Show – created at the Workcenter as part of the project The Bridge: Developing Theatre Arts. Richards was also the Artistic Director of the Workcenter’s projects: Tracing Roads Across (2003–2006, funded under the EU’s Culture 2000 programme) and Horizons (2007–2009, Wrocław), a Workcenter project which culminated in the Zero Budget Festival (2009), organised under Richard’s direction. Since 2008 Richards has led a new team at the Workcenter, the Focused Research Team in Art as Vehicle. He presently directs and conducts work on the opuses: The Living Room, L’heure fugitive (the Workcenter’s first piece entirely in French) and a new creation based on texts of Dostoevsky, provisonally entitled The Underground: A Response to Dostoevsky, which will premiere at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August 2016. He is the author of At Work with Grotowski on Physical ActionsThe Edge-Point of Performance and Heart of Practice: Within the Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards.


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