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The Warsaw Voice » Stage & Screen » December 19, 2013
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Theater Unveils Ambitious Plans
December 19, 2013   
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After months of uncertainty about its future, the award-winning Warsaw-based TR Warszawa theater is setting the stage for an ambitious 2014.

TR Warszawa, one of the most high-profile theaters in Poland, has found a new lease of life thanks to an agreement with City Hall under which it will continue to operate at its current address on Marszałkowska Street for another seven years until its new headquarters at the Museum of Modern Art is completed in 2020.

City Hall, which provides subsidies for the public theater, started negotiating a new contract with TR Warszawa back in January 2013, but artistic director Grzegorz Jarzyna refused to accept the proposed terms. In the process, TR Warszawa was left with an insufficient budget to stage plays and plan new productions. There was also a risk the theater would have to move out of its current headquarters at 8 Marszałkowska St. “I wanted the new contract to guarantee a venue for us and funds for our productions,” said Jarzyna. “We have been able to agree on such terms with Tomasz Janowski, the new head of City Hall’s culture department.”

The leading theme of the new season at TR Warszawa will be “fiction and real life,” with two new productions scheduled to open before the summer. In the spring, TR Warszawa will stage Premiera, an adaptation of John Cassavetes’ script for the movie Opening Night (1977) about an artist going through an existential and creative crisis.

At the end of June, Kornél Mundruczó, the director of Nietoperz (The Bat), currently running at TR Warszawa, will unveil his stage version of director Douglas Sirk’s 1959 movie Imitation of Life.

Starting in January, TR Warszawa is planning to expand its range of events that explore areas of culture other than theater. Jarzyna says he and his colleagues regard the theater as a cultural center where new ideas and trends are always welcome. For example, the theater will host concerts and open rehearsals by the Warsaw Entertainment Band conducted by Marcin Masecki. Then, the Institute of Performing Arts will hold a string of lectures at TR Warszawa entitled “Artists on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown” exploring the lives of various artists.

The theater will continue a series of presentations about contemporary Polish and foreign drama. Entitled New Drama at TR, the project aims to highlight the role of contemporary plays as a form of commentary on social, political and cultural affairs. During the sessions, the participants usually read plays that no one has staged in Poland so far, so that Polish audiences can be introduced to dramatists who have been shaping contemporary European theater.

Visitors to TR Warszawa will also hear masterpieces of contemporary music during meetings hosted by Adam Suprynowicz, a music journalist who works for Poland’s public radio broadcaster. In addition, the theater will screen classic movies and hold previews of new releases.

TR Warszawa is also planning to strengthen the ties between its cultural and educational activities. One of its priorities is to follow up on ideas designed to make the theater a friendly place for all kinds of audiences. This includes audio commentary for blind people, subtitles for deaf viewers and subtitles in foreign languages to allow visitors from abroad to enjoy the shows together with locals.

This season, TR Warszawa is revisiting productions that have won awards in Poland and abroad. These include Psychosis 4.48, Jackson Pollesch, T.E.O.R.E.M.A.T, The Picture of Dorian Gray and Nosferatu.

When TR Warszawa vacates its current home on Marszałkowska Street in 2020, it will move into the Museum of Modern Art, to be built on Defilad Square in the heart of Warsaw. The city recently relaunched a search for an architect, who will be chosen this spring.

Under Jarzyna, TR Warszawa has become one of the most prominent theaters in Poland, as shown by numerous awards from festivals in Poland and abroad. Plays directed by Jarzyna have redefined theater in Poland, drawing young and ambitious audiences. Frequently invited to take part in festivals abroad, TR Warszawa has made a name for itself around the world.

Marzena Robinson
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