malá inventura  |  development of new art

Eighth Day Theatre, Poznan, PL

ul. Ratajczaka 44, 61-728 Poznań


Teatr Ósmego Dnia (Eighth Day Theatre) is a cultural institution that has been running under the auspices of the city of Poznań since 1991. It was founded in 1964 by a group of students from the Polish Studies department, under the leadership of Tomasz Szymański. Founding members included Lech Raczak, who later went on to lead the group, and poet Stanisław Barańczak, currently a Harvard professor. The theatre initially put on poetry recitals. In late 1960s, under the influenceofJerzyGrotowskiandTeatrLaboratorium(TheLaboratoryTheatre), Lech Raczak took over the helm and switched the focus of work. It gave rise to some of the famous performances, including Wprowadzenie do… (Introduction to..., 1970) and Jednym tchem (In one go, 1971). Ewa Wójciak, Tadeusz Janiszewski, Marcin Kęszycki, Adam Borowski came on board in the early 1970s and have been with the ensemble ever since. The group has worked out its own creative method rooted in group improvisation. The theatre still focuses on contemporary issues, especially those connected with our entanglement in the ever expanding and ever intruding social, political and metaphysical scheme of things. Other shows include Musimy poprzestać na tym, co tu nazwano rajem na ziemi (We Are Stuck in This So-called Paradise on Earth, 1975), Przecena dla wszystkich (Sales Season for Everyone, 1977), Ach, jakże godnie żyliśmy (We Had a DignifiedLife,Didn’tWe?,1979),Więcej niż jedno życie (More Than One Life, 1981), Wzlot (Ascent, 1982), the open air Raport z oblężonego miasta (Report from a City Under Siege, 1983), and Piołun (Wormwood, 1985). In 1984, the theatre was banned by the government of the Peoples Republic of Poland and one part of the group left the country. Auto-da-Fé (1985) was very well received abroad, picking up a Fringe First in Edinburgh. Those artists denied permission to leave Poland become involved in the artistic underground and performed Mała Apokalipsa (Little Apocalypse, 1985), mainly in churches. The ensemble performed extensively throughout Western Europe between 1987 and 1989. Tadeusz Mazowiecki’s government invited Teatr Ósmego Dnia back to their home town of Poznań in 1989. The following years saw Ziemia Niczyja (No Man’s Land, 1991) and Requiem based on the work of Anna Achmatowa (1992). When Lech Raczak left in 1992, the group developed a new type of open air production, that could reach audiences of thousands of people in the process. These shows were inspired by vital social and political themes. Among them were Sabat (Sabbath, 1993), Szczyt (The Peak, 1998), Arka (The Arc, 2000), and Czas matek (The Time of Mothers, 2006). The group created also indoor performances, such as: Tańcz, póki możesz (Dance Till You Can’t Dance Any More, 1994), Portiernia (Porter’s Lodge, 2003) and Teczki (The Files, 2007).


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