Workshop Leader: Kevin Anthony Hayes.

Kevin Anthony Hayes is an actor and director and Polish theatre specialist with over twenty years involvement in Polish theatre. He had the pleasure of living behind the ‘Wall’ for almost three years from October 1986, as a Polish Government and British Council Scholar. He then worked as a theatre director at Krakow’s famous Stary Theatre, alongside such luminaries as Andrzej Wajda, Kristian Lupa and Jerzy Jarocki. As the first Englishman to direct at the Stary’ he was responsible for a very successful revival of ‘THE IMPORTANCE…’ which ran for well over a hundred performances through the whole transitional period in Poland. All in all he has directed and produced quite a number of plays in Poland. The emphasis has always been on confronting relevant social and political realities with the mystique of artistic and literary subtlety.

In 2000 he was awarded the ‘Uprawnenia’ or Qualification as a Polish Theatre Director by the Polish Association of Theatrical Artists (Z.A.S.P.). He recently spent a season at the prestigious Contemporary Theatre In Wroclaw acting in Polish in Waldemar Krzystek’s production of ‘THE LOW MEADOWS’ based on the bestseller of the same name by Piotr Siemion.

He has worked as a Senior Lecturer in Practical Phonetics at Warsaw University’s Institute of Applied Linguistics. Whilst he does not claim to be an academic his controversial paper on; ‘The Vision of Homo Sovieticus as it Appears in the Dramas of Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz’ was banned from publication in Russia following the author’s presentation of it at ‘The First International Conference devoted to Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz’ at The Actors Centre St. Petersburg. He has worked for Polish Radio and Television, presenting and making programmes at The National News Service in Warsaw. He has appeared in a number of Polish feature films. He has translated classic Polish work for the film director Jerzy Skolimowski, collaborator with Roman Polanski on ‘KNIFE IN THE WATER’. In his time he has interviewed leading Polish film directors such as; Filip Bajon, Agnieszka Holland and Krzysztof Zanussi, in English for Polish television.

He was recently awarded a ‘Green Card’ by the United States as being considered ‘An Alien of Extraordinary Ability’ in the realm of Polish Theatre. He maintains a home in New York and England.

He has written three plays on Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz (Witkacy) 1885-1939. Two of these were produced in Poland. There are presently plans to produce one of these in Brazil. He has also performed in works by Mrozek.

This is the first of a series of events planned to take place over the next two years concerned with the promotion of Polish culture in the U.K. as well as abroad. Essentially this two day workshop is aimed at theatre practitioners. However it may be of interest to those intrigued by Polish culture in general. Nonetheless this is both a theoretical and practical session which will require participants to work on and present their work to each other in the context of this closed workshop.


Day 1.

The first day will concern itself with essential historical and theoretical perspectives necessary for a full understanding of Polish theatre. The significance of religious iconography, social and political change for Polish theatre will be explored. Movements, influences and forms will be outlined. For example; Romanticism, Expressionism, Constructivism, Surrealism, Cubism and the Absurd will be considered in their Polish manifestations. The most significant authors from the most important epochs will be discussed. Here though, the major emphasis will be on the second half of the 20th century. Similarly the leading practitioners from this period will be considered. Polish film will also be reviewed briefly. The session will conclude with a look at the leading lights of contemporary Polish theatre. All aspects will be illustrated visually using Power Point. Recorded excerpts of plays will be shown. The texts to be worked on during the following day will be introduced.

Day 2.

The second day will comprise of a practical session during which the participants will work on and present segments of plays by two of the most important Polish playwrights of the 20th century. Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz and Slawomir Mrozek. Witkiewicz created a theatre of philosophical surrealism. Witkiewicz was a prolific painter, novelist, philosopher and theoretician of the avant-garde in painting and theatre. Generally speaking the aim of his work was to distort reality to bring about a metaphysical experience. Slawomir Mrozek also with leanings toward the avant-garde has spent his life writing satirical grotesques, detached and cerebral in which absurdity is only logic taken to its furthest extreme. The day will conclude with the presentation of workshop style performances prepared by the participants.

The two days will cost £100 a 10% discount will be made available to members of Equity, The Directors and the Writers Guilds of Great Britain and Concessions.

The workshop will take place on 12th and 13th April between 10am and 6pm. This time period includes an allowance for end of day de-briefing. Participants are requested to arrive from 9.30 onwards for a 10am start to each session.

The number of places available will be limited to twenty. Those wishing to attend additional events of this or a similar nature are politely requested to leave contact details for the receipt of details of further events.