At 24th November 2021 the Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre has joined the European Festivals Association!
The EFA Network, founded in 1952, connects about 100 festivals and festival associations in 40 countries. EFA members are the core element that make the Association an open, influential, international place for any festival that wants to be part of a bigger festival community. The European Festivals Association’s mission is to unite and represent its member festivals across Europe and the world by contributing to the artistic life of Europe.
The Gdańsk Shakespeare Festival’s representatives: Agata Grenda, the new director of both the Festival and the Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre and Festival’s coordinator Joanna Śnieżko-Misterek took part in the Arts Festivals Summit on 22 – 24 November 2021 in Galway, hosted by AOIFE – the Association of Irish Festivals and Events. It was during this event that the Gdańsk Shakespeare Festival has been admitted as a new EFA member.
EFA’s Arts Festivals Summit was a moment of connection, exchange, networking and togetherness for the festivals community in the vibrant city of Galway. 110 delegates from all over Europe and beyond as well as 50 online delegates came to Galway or joined through zoom or livestreams from 22 to 24 November 2021. Hosted by the Association of Irish Festivals and Events (AOIFE), the Summit was also the occasion to meet the Irish festivals, to speak about potential collaborations and co-production projects, to dive into the Irish culture with “Walk and Talk tours”, to listen to showcases by local artists, and to discover the beautiful landscapes of Galway Bay.
On the occasion of the 69th General Assembly, EFA members – among them many that have joined the association since the beginning of the pandemic – voted in ten new festivals from various art disciplines (music, dance and theatre) and countries to be part of the community. They reinforce and enlarge EFA’s wish for more diversity, inclusion and relevance on a geographical and artistic level. Among these new members, there is: BITEF – Belgrade International Theatre Festival (Serbia), Campania Teatro Festival (Italy), Castleknock Music Festival (Ireland), Gdansk Shakespeare Festival (Poland), Helsinki Festival (Finland), Khachaturian International Festival (Armenia), Klanglichter Festival (Switzerland), Machol Shalem Dance House (Israel), North Cyprus International Bellapais Music Festival (North Cyprus), and Norway Festival (Norway).
See the festivals joinig EFA network, together with the Gdańsk Shakespeare Festival:
On the picture above, from the left:
Joanna Śnieżko-Misterek – The Gdańsk Shakespeare Festival Coordinator
Agata Grenda – Direcror of the The Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre and Festival
Anna Kiselyova – Castle Knock Music Festival
Kathrin Deventer – EFA Secretary General
Jan Briers – EFA President
Bartosz Szydłowski – Artistic Director of Łaźnia Nowa Theatre and Boska Komedia Festival in Krakov
We take part in the EFA Arts Festivals Summit 2021 in Galway / Ireland, held on November 22 – 24 organized by: European Festivals Association (EFA), Aoife FestivalEvents and Galway – the European Capital of Culture 2020.
Agata Grenda, the GST Director and Joanna Śnieżko-Misterek, the coordinator of the Gdańsk Shakespeare Festival, were invited to co-create an important initiative, namely the development of European festivals.
Agata Grenda also took EFA’s invitation to EFA’s 70-Years-On Thinking Group – a group of 20 festival leaders dealing with the subject of sustainable development. The tasks of Thinking Group will include building the program of next year’s Arts Festivals Summit on May 2-5 in Yerevan and co-creating the European Festivals Alliance.
The jubilee edition of the festival was opened on Friday with “The Tempest” directed by Szymon Kaczmarek – a production by the Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre. During the first festival weekend we would also see two finalists of the Golden Yorick competition, namely performances: “Der Szturem. Cwiszyn / The Tempest. Between”, directed by Damian Josef Neć from Jewish Theatre in Warsaw (Saturday) and “King Lear”, directed by Anna Augustynowicz, a co-production of the Jan Kochanowski Theatre in Opole and the Helena Modrzejewska Theatre in Legnica (Sunday). For the third play selected for the final of the Golden Yorick Competition i.e “Hamlet” directed by Bartosz Szydłowski from Juliusz Słowacki Theatre in Krakow, we need to wait until next Friday (6 August).
The ShakespeareOFF stage on Saturday and Sunday will present three of the four plays selected as part of the ShakespeareOFF Productions competition: “My Anxiety is Your Anxiety” Theatre Zakład Krawiecki/ Paweł Palcat, “Shakespeare: Mock-up”, blisko Girls’ Collective/Anna Rogóż and Mira Mańka, and the play selected last year: “Ophelias”, Womenstate Collective. For the fourth performance, “Mist” – h.art company/ Artur Grabarczyk, we will have to wait until the last day of the Shakespeare Festival. During the festival, the second contest of the alternative stage will be awarded, which is ShakespeareOFF Presentations. On the first weekend we will see the first show of this contest, the performance “After Othello” by Strefa Otwarta Theatre. Whereas on Monday the first international show will be presented: the performance of one of the most fascinating directors of contemporary theatre, Tiago Rodrigues, “Antony and Cleopatra” prepared at the Teatro Nacional D. Maria II in Lisbon.
See you at the Festival!
Tickets are available ONLINE and at the theatre’s box office, open daily from 1pm to 7pm.
The 25th edition of the Shakespeare Festival in Gdańsk will take place from 30 July to 8 August 2021. We will see performances from: Portugal, Italy, Lithuania, Belgium and from Poland. The organisers of the Shakespeare Festival are the Gdansk Shakespeare Theatre and the Theatrum Gedanense Foundation. This edition is particularly special, not only because of the quarter-centenary of this prestigious event. It is the first time that the Festival will be held without its founder and artistic director, Professor Jerzy Limon, who passed away in March 2021. The programme of this year’s edition, however, is his creation.
The first own production by the Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre will open the Festival – “The Tempest” by William Shakespeare, directed by Szymon Kaczmarek. The premiere of the play will take place on 8 July 2021. An important highlight of the 25th edition of the Festival will also be a work by one of Lithuania’s leading theatre makers, Oskaras Koršunovas, winner of the most important European theatre awards. His “Othello”, performed by actors of OKT Theatre from Vilnius, is already the seventh realization of Shakespeare’s works in the director’s career. Many of his productions: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, “Romeo and Juliet”. “Miranda” (based on “The Tempest”) were presented at the Shakespeare Festival in Gdansk, gaining recognition as the best performances – both from the audience and critics. As Oskaras Koršunovas says, theatre is an instrument that helps us to get to know ourselves and the society we live in better. He often reaches for Shakespeare’s dramaturgy, as he is one of the playwrights whose works reflect the patterns of the contemporary world.
Another highlight of this year’s festival will certainly be “Antony and Cleopatra”, the performance of Portuguese director Tiago Rodrigues, realised with the Teatro Nacional D. Maria II. It is a poetic and complex adaptation of Shakespeare’s play, inspired partly by Plutarch’s text about Mark Antony in “Parallel Lives”, partly by Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s film “Cleopatra” (1963). Tiago Rodrigues presents his own vision of the myth.
Lovers of world-class theatre will also be pleased by the latest production by the famous Belgian group Needcompany: “Billy’s Violence”. It was created by the Flemish director and visual artist Jan Lauwers. The performance is inspired by 13 tragedies of Shakespeare and will come to Poland right after the premiere in Barcelona. It asks questions about what violence in art means in the contemporary world and why we enjoy watching it so much. Is it perceived today differently than at the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries?
The 25th edition of the Festival will also feature the world premiere of the latest performance by the Italian group ImPerfect Dancers, whose expressive, beautiful dance performances have met with great acclaim from the Gdańsk audience during recent editions of the festival. After the previously realised performances: “Lady Macbeth” and “Hamlet”, the trilogy will be completed by the most famous love story in the world: “Romeo and Juliet”.
In the photo: the performance “Antonio and Cleopatra”, Teatro Nacional D. Maria II, photo by Magda Bizarro
ShakespeareOFF alternative strand of the Gdańsk Shakespeare Festival consists of two competitions: ShakespeareOFF Productions (three laureates are presented in the festival programme) and ShakespeareOFF Presentations (performances qualified for the finals are presented and the best is seleced by the Jury during the festival).
The prize in the ShakespeareOFF Productions Competition is financial support for the production of an artistic event based on the works of William Shakespeare. The premiere of the event will take place during the 25th Shakespeare Festival in Gdańsk. The funding equals PLN 10,000 for each winner of the competition.
The ShakespeareOFF Presentations competition involves completed artistic events, the authors of which, qualified for the finals, will present themselves to the public during the Festival and compete for financial prizes. The overall prize money equals PLN 15,000. In the ShakespeareOFF Presentations Competition, the winners will be selected by a Jury consisting of three members: Anda Rottenberg, Piotr Cieplak and Małgorzata Sikorska-Miszczuk.
Results 22 projects were submitted to the ShakespeareOFF Productions Competition and 19 events were submitted to the ShakespeareOFF Presentations Competition. The Selection Committee, consisting of Acting Director of the Gdansk Shakespeare Theatre Maciej Sowiński, ShakespeareOFF 2021 Curator Katarzyna Knychalska and Festival Coordinator Joanna Śnieżko-Misterek, decided to select 3 winners of the ShakespeareOFF Productions 2021 Competitiont and 10 artistic events for the finals of ShakespeareOFF Presentations 2021 Competition.
Winners of the ShakespeareOFF Productions 2021 Competition:
– “Mist” – h.art company/ Artur Grabarczyk
– “Reciprocation” – Zakład Krawiecki Theatre/ Paweł Palcat
– “Shakespeare: mockup” – girl collective “blisko”/Mira Manka, Anna Rogóż
Finalists of the ShakespeareOFF Presentations 2021 Competition:
“The actors have arrived” – Wiesław Cichy, Marek Kocot
“And now the owls let us add the wings …” – Jakub Snochowski
„I Come to You River: Ophelia Fractured” – Studio Kokyu
„Island of Whispers” – Parrabbola&Teatr Strefa Otwarta
“Name” – Middle East Artists’ Association
“About The Two – puppets show” – Barnaby Theatre/ Marcin Marzec
“Portions” – Zdenka Pszczołowska, Anna Oramus
“The lost years” – Ewa Mikuła
“Shakespearean Women” – Shakespeare Gang/ Magdalena Dąbrowska and ensemble
“Shakespeare – r e i n k a r n a t i o n s” – Teatr Układ Formalny/ Adam Michał Pietrzak
Both competitions are organised by the Gdansk Shakespeare Theatre and Theatrum Gedanense Foundation at the 25th edition of the Shakespeare Festival in Gdansk. The artistic events selected for the competition will be presented in the programme of this year’s ShakespeareOFF.
“Jerzy Limon/Prospero” – a discussion on 23 April, at 7 pm CET, initiating a series of debates
entitled: “The Helplessness of a Philosopher”.
On the Day of 457th Anniversary of William Shakespeare’s Birth, 23 April 2021, the Gdansk Shakespeare Theatre invites you to a new series of events, of philosophical reflection on theatre and Shakespeare, related to the 25th Anniversary of the Gdansk Shakespeare Festival. The first discussion, entitled “Jerzy Limon/Prospero” is dedicated to the memory of Professor Jerzy Limon, Shakespeare scholar, writer, translator and Director of the Gdansk Shakespeare Theatre, who passed away last month.
We feel helpless in the face of this sudden and premature loss, surrounded as we are by a pandemic, political unrest, internal conflicts, environmental degradation, social inequality, disregard for art and critical thought, by spreading ignorance… This may be the reason why Professor Limon’s dream was to have a debate at the Gdansk Shakespeare Theatre on the helplessness of ‘the Philosopher’ who was for him someone thoughtful, considerate and sensitive, someone trying to grasp the complexity of the world.
We need to focus on the legacy of Professor Limon, on the challenges and tasks he left us to deal with; we need to examine his attitude to contemporary culture, the problems he grappled with, the helplessness he felt.
The discussion will take place on 23 April, at 19.00. The panellists will meet live onstage of the Gdansk Shakespeare Theatre; the meeting will be transmitted on YouTube and the Facebook page of the Gdansk Shakespeare Theatre. The participants are: Łukasz Drewniak – theatre critic, dr hab. Stanisław Rosiek – literary historian, writer, publisher, and Anna Augustynowicz – theatre director. The meeting will be led by Piotr Augustyniak whose idea this debate was. The accompanying artistic programme is directed by Robert Florczak.
The event will be transmitted in Polish, on the YouTube and Facebook profiles of the Gdansk Shakespeare Theatre.