Polish TYA

A Glance around the Polish TYA

This new series is dedicated to Polish contemporary theatre for children where various influences come across. Traditions of puppet theatre are mixed with actors' theatre; folk tales, fairytales, animal fables are just as inspiring for Polish directors and playwrights as modern children's literature. The majority of the shows is made solely by artists, but more and more often they collaborate with theatre's pedagogues; not infrequently the show performed in front of the audience is a pretext to further workshops, discussions and other activities in which the audience participates. In the next posts we will present some drafts of the interesting and worth-to-be-mentioned performances, tendencies, publications and events, which took place in Poland recently. The authoress of the notes is a passionate of the modern TYA who works on a doctoral thesis dedicated to this topic.

Agata Drwiega - Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Faculty of Polish and Classical Philology, Department of Drama, Theatre and Performance

1 Poetic Street Performance

The majority of Polish theatres is municipal and don't stage performances during the summer. Then they keep in touch with the audience by organizing workshops or playing out-door shows. Based on Krystyna Milobedzka play and directed by Sebastian Swiader 'W kole' is a poetic performance inspired by children's games and the every-day reality of in the courtyards of Praga, one of Warsaw's districts. There is no stage but a circle drawn by children on the ground. In the circle five actors play games  evolving stories about people-to-people relationships. Children watch it carefully and understand clearly while adults need some explanations.

2 At the Campfire Or How to develop New Plays for Children and Young People

The beginning of September is a special time for contemporary Polish dramaturgy – at that time the new edition of 'Nowe Sztuki dla Dzieci i Młodzieży' ('New Plays for Children and Young People') is published and the yearly professional meeting in Obrzycko takes place. This event has a long tradition and this year’s gathering was extraordinary for a number of reasons. We celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Competition for a Play for Children and Young People, the 40th edition of 'Nowe Sztuki' and the 25th professional meeting. The main theme which was discussed this year was the presence of varied forms of funniness in contemporary plays.

3 What’s new? – A meeting about theatre for young adults in Gdańsk

Between the 14th and 17th October 2016 in the 'Miniatura' Theatre in Gdańsk a professional meeting 'What’s new?' ('Co nowego'?) took place. It was dedicated to contemporary theatre for young adults, which in Poland is mainly represented by a sort of 'in-yer-face theatre'. In addition to the presentations of the foreign and Polish performances, three round tables were organized. We discussed how German and Swiss artists deal with this topic and we confronted it with our Polish experiences.  In our opinion also in Poland theatres should give young adults more opportunities to attend performances by themselves.

4 With Fire in the Head - A meeting about German dramaturgy for young adults in Wałbrzych

From the 18th to 22nd of October 2016 the second meeting about German dramaturgy for young adults  'Z ogniem w głowie' took place in the Dramatyczny Theatre in Wałbrzych. Both the presentations of the German plays and the speeches of the Polish and German guests were new and innovative. What I found most inspiring is the idea of plays written for youth which catch also the interest of adults. In Poland there are many plays written for adults which are appropriate for youngsters too. But the first option leads TYA to more democratic events for instance for a mixed-aged-audience – in contrast to shows whose main topic is addressed to children but also contains numerous subtexts for adults only.

5 Marta Gusniowska – Polish Contemporary Playwrights

In Poland contemporary plays for children are well-known and often staged nowadays. As Polish TYA is closely related to puppet theatre many of the pieces are dedicated to perform with puppets. The most favored playwright is Marta Gusniowska, who writes original pieces as well as fairy tales’ adaptations. She deconstructs the schemes and characters of the fairy tales and her pieces are full of both linguistic humour and situational comedy. Language’s deconstruction is another feature of her playwriting. Although there are many linguistic games in Marta’s plays, some of them were translated into English, German and a couple of Slavic languages. The plays of Marta Gusniowska, which are also open for productions with actors, can be obtained by the agency Stowarzyszenie Autorów ZaiKS.