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Reflecting and resisting. Polish theatre and politics of memory since 2005

Theatre has a long history as one of the most important art forms in Polish culture. It played a critical role in supporting the very concept of a Polish nation in the nineteenth century, and in the twentieth century it was central in resisting war and Communism. Yet despite its prominence throughout the decades, there has been surprisingly little written on Polish theatre after the collapse of Communism in 1989, and even less on its development in the twenty-first century. This is despite the fact that after the rise of the conservative rightwing Law and Justice party (PiS) and its 'politics of memory' in 2005, there has been a veritable explosion of new experimental and independent theatre practices. These practices have been thoroughly political, at the same time critiquing capitalism and questioning Poland's fraught past. As a result, the artistic theatre that has been produced in Poland over the past decade-and-a-half is some of the most exciting to be ever made. This research project aims to fill this major omission in Polish theatre historiography by looking at the ways in which it operated. Starting in 2005, it will work towards the present day and look at Polish theatre as both a critical art form and an institutional force in Polish society. In doing this it will show how contemporary Polish theatre both reflects on its own role in society and resists creeping authoritarianism.

Date:1 Nov 2019 →  Today
Keywords:Polish theatre, Polish culture, Theatre, Performance, Literary Theory, Queer Theory
Disciplines:Other European literatures, Other slavic literatures, Theatre, Queer studies, Performance, Dramaturgy
Project type:PhD project