My interest in Polish Theatre stems back over twenty years when I first worked in Poland as Assistant Director to Jerzy Jarocki ~ Poland’s foremost Stage Director.  Building on his experience I have consistently been invited back to Poland, developing my knowledge on Polish Theatre, and have also become a Director in my own right.  This has been strengthened by my translational skills, and has enabled me to promote English work in Poland and Polish work in England, to the extent of successfully popularising British plays such as “THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST” to Polish audiences ~  an achievement crossing not just language, but also humour barriers.

I came to directing through acting and a fascination for Polish theatre in all its dimensions, visual, textual, historical and literary. When I first went to Poland I had already performed in four Polish plays, embracing the range of twentieth century works. This I did through a college based company, performing in Reading and then at the Edinburgh Festival. I then went on to co-found, “The Random Pact Theatre Company”, which commenced with a series of performances and workshops in west London.

During this year, 1986, I successfully obtained a Post-Graduate Scholarship provided by Poland’s Ministry Of Culture and Art and administered by the British Council. This led me to attend the Warsaw Theatre School. Here I attended directing and acting classes. At the same time I was able to attend rehearsals at the famous Studio Theatre in Warsaw and observe the rehearsals of one of Poland’s most outstanding theatre directors, Jerzy Grzegorzewski. During this time I started making contacts with and interviewing Poland’s leading theatre directors known for their work on Polish and European masters.

Throughout this time, with an increasing command of Polish and my continual contact with Polish theatre, I started to evolve my own vision of theatre. At the same time I was undertaking my initial research for my first play, “A POLISH ARTIST DEPARTS”, based on the life of Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz (Witkacy)

During the following year, 1987-88, I transferred my studies to Krakow, to absorb the influences of the beautiful city and explore the rich theatrical traditions of this historical city; by working as an assistant director at the Stary or Old Theatre and working as an assistant director to Jerzy Jarocki, one of Poland’s foremost theatre directors.

My presence at the Stary Theatre enabled me to make a constructive contribution to the work proceeding there. The play “IVANOV”, by Chekov, directed by one of Poland’s leading film directors was to prove hugely successful, due to its inventive staging and having in its cast one of Poland’s leading actors, Jan Nowicki.

Running concurrently, my work on “THE SUICIDE” by Mikolaij Erdman was to give me even greater scope to work with actors. I pitched in and worked very successfully with them. I had an opportunity to develop my own propositions and shape actors roles to my own design. I was permitted to work on my own unsupervised. The results of my work were very much appreciated by the ‘master’ Jerzy Jarocki.

Following in the wake of these productions I turned my attention once again to my own work; a biographical monodrama based on the life of Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz, called “A POLISH ARTIST DEPARTS”. This was based on original research into Witkacy’s life and life’s work. Thus covering; novels, plays, philosophical works, photography portraits poetry and letters. The idea was to look at all these aspects of Witkacy’s creative output and compress them into an intelligible artistic form. A thorough investigation into all of Witkiewicz’s work was undertaken, entailing original translation.

The resulting production was staged at the Rotunda Theatre in Krakow. It was presented during the Polonia Summer Cultural Course. It met with a popular response.

The Polish play was to be performed in the Autumn at The Stary Theatre, but it clashed with a large scale work to be directed by Poland’s leading director Jerzy Jarocki. Instead the next stage in my directing career was to be; “THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST”.  This was a difficult time in Poland. Many changes were afoot in the U.S.S.R. and neighbouring countries and Poland itself made it clear that society was about to go through a phenomenal and cataclysmic change. Actors were very tense about their future

“THE IMPORTANCE...” was decided upon, because it was felt that it would be an excellent exercise for the actors as well as a fillip for the repertoire of the Stary Theatre. It represented an attempt to bring an influx of English Culture into Polish society. The result was a fantastic success. The production ran for 139 performances and for nearly three years, and won awards for best young actress and best actress at the Kalisz Theatrical Meeting of 1989.

On my return to England, while teaching theatre students, I set up a company whose aim was to promote Polish Theatre in the U.K. This commenced with “CONVERSATIONS WITH THE EXECUTIONER…” , by Kazimerz Moczarski. This was the first production staged at Sutton House, a hunting Lodge from the time of Henry VIII.
 
Meanwhile, the idea of translating and producing a socially provocative work from the west was mooted. This led to the selection and translation of “ONCE A CATHOLIC”, by Mary O’Malley.
  
The production was a great success and ran for a whole season, it was very popular among the young.

Upon the suggestion of a number of experts on Polish Theatre, I was invited to prepare a piece for Krakow’s International Month of Culture. The piece Kevin prepared was “I WITKACY!”, an additional biographical piece on Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz, based once again on original source material which I translated. This piece was seen by Professor Daniel Gerould, the American world authority on Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz. It received a very positive appraisal from him.

My command of Polish also led me to be invited to present the weather on the Polish national news programme; “Teleexpress”. This was something of my invention since it entailed mixing the actual prognosis of the weather with Polish proverbs and comic situations. Nonetheless, eager to move onto more serious territory, I then had an opportunity to make my own television series for the Warsaw Television Centre. This was to be V.I.P.’s, based on interviews in English with people from the world of Film. Thus Kevin’s programmes included interviews with; Fillip Bajon, Agnieszka Holland and Krzystof Zanussi. All leading film directors with an international reputation. This gave me an opportunity to combine his directing and presenting skills with an extensive knowledge of Polish culture.  While working at The Warsaw Television Centre, I also translated and narrated a ten part series on The history of Warsaw architecture.
In addition to teaching theatre studies and media studies I have also been engaged in a number of workshop projects on Polish Theatre with young actors entailing the preparation and presentation of plays by Mrozek and Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz.
 
Throughout the latter part of 1999 and the first half of 2000, I was to prepare for and undertake the examination for the attainment of full professional status as a theatre director organised by the Polish Association of Theatrical Artists (Z.A.S.P.) This entailed presenting full documentation of at least two productions, the presentation of a stage production and an interview by an examining commission. In addition references from those who knew of my work had to be supplied, this from authorities on Polish theatre and those who had collaborated with me on my productions. So in February 2000, “HARRY'S CHRISTMAS” was presented at the Theatre Dramatyczny in Warsaw, having been translated, produced and directed by me. The production was a great success and satisfied the examiners requirements. I am the first non Pole to hold an ‘Uprawnenia’ as a theatre director.