The inspiration for events within the framework of the “Around comics” cycle is this year’s festival poster, designed by the American artist, actor, and playwright, John Stanisci, who will join us at the festival. The comic-style image of the festival motto, “Between heaven and the stage. After the tempest?”, reflects the spirit of the times in which there will be performed the unchangingly current plays of William Shakespeare. We are taking advantage of this visual narration to bring the art form of comics closer to our audience. Within the framework of the cycle, there will be workshops on the fundamentals of comic creation, a popular-science lecture, and a meeting with John Stanisci, where the audience can discuss their own portfolio with the artist and seek his advice.
Open rehearsals are an excellent opportunity to learn more about the workshop of a theatre group and a director. A small group of participants enters the auditorium for an hour to watch the artists at work in an intimate atmosphere. The rehearsal includes asking questions and getting to know the artists, listening to their brief commentary on their work, and – most importantly – getting a behind the scenes look at the creative process.
For those hesitating about which performances to go to, short podcasts have been produced by specialists, including professor Małgorzata Grzegorzewska, Professor Jacek Fabiszak, and theatre critic Łukasz Drewniak. You can find them on the Shakespeare Festival programme page, next to specific performances.
The 26th Shakespeare Festival is being organised at a particular time – during a war which is being waged across our border. We are impressed that our friends – artists and activists from Ukraine – are still conducting artistic activities. Productions are performed online, in town squares, and even in shelters, e.g. one of the first plays produced during the war, “Hamlet drama per musica”, was performed in the cellar of the theatre in Ivano-Frankivsk. Theatres have also been turned into places offering help to refugees. Ukrainian festivals are trying to be active despite the extremely difficult circumstances. The Gogol Festival is trying to support the artistic community of Mariupol and, with the help of multimedia interventions, to bring about a realisation of the enormous role culture has played in the development of this city.
We have decided to invite creatives and representatives from Ukrainian festivals (Gogol Fest, Porto Franko from Ivano-Frankivsk) and also two directors present at our Shakespeare Festival (Tetiana Shelepko and Tamara Trunova) to address us and to tell us how the Ukrainian theatre is functioning during a war. We want to find out how we, the people concerned with culture in Poland and Europe, can help. We want to give our friends from Ukraine a voice, to participate with them, and support them. During the international Shakespeare Festival in Gdańsk, we will see “L_UKR_ECE”, based on “The rape of Lucrece” by William Shakespeare. The premiere of this production was performed at the Shakespeare Festival in Craiova in Romania. Gdańsk will see its developed version. The creatives will also talk about the process of the creation of the performance and conduct workshops devoted to the recovering of relations with one’s own body after traumatic experiences.
Furthermore, for people from Ukraine, a 50% saving can be made on tickets for shows and 15% of the proceeds from sales of festival posters and gadgets on the basis of John Stanisci’s graphic works will be donated to the “Gdańsk helps Ukraine” charity campaign organised by the Gdańsk Foundation.