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
Parrabbola and the partners from across the project are coming to Gdansk to make a community play, the final artistic cooperation in the European Collaborative project – Shaking the Walls organized by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.
Shaking the Walls explores the walls and barriers, visible and invisible across our societies. The project partners come from Ireland, Iceland, Czech Republic, Poland and the UK, and will all meet within this community performance.
Every community play or event is crafted to that community, in the UK, Europe or internationally, because every community is different. Parrabbola spans the generations with its community theatre work.
Authoritarianism, Borders, Censorship, Domestic violence, Equality.
The barriers and walls that divide us are everywhere; some you can see and some you can’t.
In this Parrabbola project, co-created with all of the Shaking the Walls partners and with community participants from Gdansk, we’re going to do some shaking and some breaking down of those barriers.
If Shakespeare wrote about and exposed all these issues – why are we still talking about them? Haven’t we learnt anything? Weren’t we listening?
Will you listen when we talk about them now? And will you shake the walls?
The performance will combine references to all the partner projects, with Shakespeare scenes and extracts, and some other new writing that has been commissioned from around the world.
The Call for Participants is now open. You can be a part of this performance – we need people from the Gdansk community who would like to participate in this production. No experience is necessary, just a willingness and enthusiasm to be part of the production – speaking, acting, singing, and dancing. It’s always great fun, and hard work, and we will make great things together!
Because of the current virus situation, we can’t hold our usual casting days, so we’ll work on zoom to meet all of you at a couple of sessions in October. But at this stage, you should just SIGN UP. Come and be part of it!
We closely monitor pandemic situation and will act accordingly to the restrictions and available options – in case live performance is not possible we will go online and make the best we can with available tools.
The production will be presented in the programme of 24. Gdansk Shakespeare Festival and is planned to be presented on 21, 22, 23 November 2020.
Artistic team involved in the development of the production:
UK Parrabbola: Philip Parr (Director), David Monteith (Performer), Brian D Hanlon (Designer), Andra Chelcea (Producer),
UK York: Sonia DiLorenzo, Benedict Turvill (Performer)
Ireland: Maggie Hannon (Performer)
Czech Republic: Jana Ryslava (Performer and Movement Director)
Iceland: Gudmundur Ingi Thorvaldsson (Perfomer, Composer, Musical Director)
Poland: Pawel Sudara (film maker) Filip Gesse (Associate Designer)
We are thrilled to inform about the new date for the Gdansk Shakespeare Festival in 2020, which could not happen in Summer due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but is planned to take place from 20th to 28th November 2020.
The organisers – Gdansk Shakespeare Theatre and Theatrum Gedanense Foundation are closely monitoring the situation and hope, that with all respect to sanitary restrictions the organisation of the event will be possible in the planned timetable.
The mainstage presentations are compised on theatre productions from Lithuania, Italy, Japan and Poland. There is also a surprise planned – the first Gdansk Shakespeare Theatre own production of the “Tempest”, directed by Szymon Kaczmarek, which will open the Festival.
Moreover a number of ShakespeareOFF strand artistic events will be presented.
The Gdansk Shakespeare Festival has been organised annually since 1997 and has been a laureate of European EFFE Award for the best EU Festivals 2017/2018.
We do believe we should have the opportunity to greet our Festival Audience in the Gdansk Shakespeare Festival this year. See you in the theatre!
ShakespeareOFF 2020 Competition Finalists were selected!
The Secection Board of the ShakespeareOFF 2020 Competition – Jerzy Limon (Artistic Director of Gdansk Shakespeare Festival), Katarzyna Knychalska (ShakespeareOFF Curator 2020) and Joanna Śnieżko-Misterek (Festival Coordinator) – has selected 10 of the 22 projects submitted for presentations at ShakespeareOFF strand which is a part of 24th Gdańsk Shakepseare Festival (on 20-28th November 2020). The selected presentations will compete for the ShakespeareOFF awards.
The following presentations have been selected:
„Aktorzy przyjechali”– Wiesław Cichy i Marek Kocot, Wrocław, Poland
„Burza”– Teatr Makata, Warszawa, Poland
„I come to you River. Ophelia fractured” – Studio Kokyu, Wrocław, Poland
„Mobbing Dick (Shakespeare’s Lovers)” – Caroline Pagani, Italy
„Nazwisko” – Prokopiuk&Kraińska, Bytom, Poland
„OTELLOTONIGHT!” Teatr Przedmieście, Rzeszów, Poland
„OtHello” Parrabbola, Great Britain
„Po Otellu” Teatr Strefa Otwarta (Anna Rakowska i Piotr Misztela), Wrocław, Poland
The abovementioned presentations will be assessed by the ShakespeareOFF Competiton Jury comprised of: Anda Rottenberg, Piotr Cieplak, Małgorzata Sikorska-Miszczuk, appointed by Jerzy Limon, the Director of Gdansk Shakespeare Theatre.
ShakespeareOFF is a festival strand of fringe presentations since 2016 run as a competition. In the last two years it has also been a part of “Shaking the Walls“ project co-financed by Creative Europe Programme of the European Union.
We would like to inform you that due to the current COVID – 19 situation in Poland and the world we are not able to organise the 24th edition of Gdansk Shakespeare Festival as planned, that is from 31st July till 9th August 2020. Considering the safety of our audience as well as artists we are analysing the current situation and changes allowed in our and other countries in terms of travel and event organisation.
We do hope it will be feasible to make the festival happen in the second half of Novemeber 2020, the exact date will be confirmed as soon as it is possible.
We wish you all the best -, keep well and stay safe! We hope to see you in Gdansk in the autumn.
The Gdansk Shakespeare Festival and Theatrum Gedanense Foundation.