After having to leave Poland, Grotowski continued his ground-breaking work in the United States, before finding a permanent home in Pontedera, Italy. There he began work on Art as Vehicle, the final stage of his work at the newly-established Workcenter. This work, based around songs of tradition and objective movements, arranged into performance structures, is done more or less in secrecy, away from the prying eyes of the media and mainstream theatrical world.
In the late 1990s, the Workcenter started to show its work to select groups of people, and open itself to the world. Listen to Part 2 of our episode on Jerzy Grotowski to find out for yourself what happened there, and what goes on at the Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards today…
You can catch up with Part 1 of this story here. Both these episodes are a Stories From The Eastern West collaboration with the Theatre History Podcast, produced by Howlround Theatre Commons, a free and open platform for theatremakers worldwide, based in Boston, Massachusetts. Follow them on Twitter and Instagram.
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[01:15] Intro [02:26] Meeting Thomas Richards [04:19] Work on acting and songs of tradition [06:57] Period in the US coming to an end [08:28] Transmission of the work [09:34] Flight to Italy [11:00] Beginnings of the Workcenter [12:30] Who are we? [14:24] Members of the Workcenter [16:00] Sacrifices and controversies [18:06] Performance of The Living Room [22:02] Conclusion [24:30] Thanks & credits
Prof. Paul Allain / for talking to us about Grotowski's life, work, and his important influence on the world of the performing arts. Paul is a Professor of Theatre and Performance at the University of Kent and former director of the British Grotowski Project.
Maja Komorowska / for sharing with us her experience of working with Grotowski and the Theatre of the 13 Rows in the early 1960s. Maja is an acclaimed theatre, film and television actress.
Thomas and Cécile Richards / for giving their time and helping make this episode possible. Thomas Richards is the Director of the Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards in Pontedera, Italy. Cecile is Richard’s assistant and a member of the centre.
The members of the Workcenter in Pontedera / especially Lynda Mebtouche and former member of the Open Program Alejandro Thomas-Rodriguez for sharing their experiences.
Grażyna Soczewka / for skillfully providing the English voice-over for Maja Komorowska.
Michael Lueger (Theatre History Podcast): co-presenter
Wojciech Oleksiak: sound design, mixing
Piotr Wołodźko: co-presenter, script, production
Nitzan Reisner: co-host, sole beacon of light
Adam Zulawski: co-host, editor