Teatr Modrzejewskiej w Legnicy

The Modjeska Theatre in Legnica

 

For over a decade, the Legnica Theatre has been one of the most acclaimed and recognisable stages in Poland.

It participates in all major Polish theatre festivals, winning prestigious awards, to mention the National Competition for the Staging of Polish Contemporary Plays, the “Live Classics” Competition for the Staging of Historical Works of Polish Literature, the Interpretations Festival of the Art of Theatre Direction in Katowice, the Gdańsk Shakespeare Festival, the Premiere Festival in Bydgoszcz, the R@Port Festival of Contemporary Arts in Gdynia, the Divine Comedy Festival in Kraków, and the Heidelberger Stückemarkt.

 

The theatre takes its productions abroad, notably to Czechia, Germany, the United Kingdom, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, and Moldova. In 2002 it presented the audience of the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh Koriolan: the best Polish Shakespeare play of the 1998/99 season, being Modjeska’s take on Coriolanus. The Moscow premiere of the Legnica production of Mersi, czyli przypadki Szypowa / The Extraordinary Adventures of Secret Agent Shipov, based on a novel by Bulat Okudjava, followed in the same year. In 2006, the theatre went on an artistic tour of the US with Othello, and in 2009 of Russia and Siberia, with Palę Rosję! – opowieść syberyjska / I’m Burning Russia! A Siberian Story. It visited Argentina in 2013, presenting III Furie / III Furies, and in 2014 the audiences in Turkey applauded to their production of Łemko / Lemko.

Przerwana odyseja / The Broken Odyssey, a coproduction of the Legnica theatre with the Macedonian National Theatre in Skopje premiered in 2016. Touching on the traumatic moments in the joint history of Poles and Macedonians, the play was presented on major stages of both countries.

The Modjeska Theatre specialises in producing “true stories in true places” which often involves spaces quite unusual for the theatre, and includes disused factory halls and ruined cinemas. The tales frequently concern Legnica and Lower Silesia, thus contributing to the identity of the city and region.

The most noteworthy among the productions of the Modjeska Theatre certainly include Ballada o Zakaczawiu (The Ballad of Zakaczawie, 2000, televised in 2002), Wschody i Zachody Miasta (Risings and Fallings of the Town, 2003, televised in 2005), Made in Poland (2004, televised in 2005), Otello (Othello, 2006), Łemko (Lemko, 2007), Czas terroru (Terror Time, 2010), III Furie (III Furies, 2011, televised in 2012), Orkiestra (The Orchestra, 2011, televised in 2013), Droga śliska od traw. Jak to diabeł wsią się przeszedł (The Road of Slippery Grass. Of the Devil Who Walked Through the Village, 2013), and Car Samozwaniec, czyli polskie na Moskwie gody (Tsar the Impostor, or Polish Festivities in Moscow, 2015).

In 2007 and 2009, the theatre organised the Miasto / City International Theatre Festival, recognised the most interesting cultural event of Lower Silesia of 2007 (Lower Silesian Diamond of the Year, the award of the Gazeta Wyborcza daily, Wrocław edition). Together with Wrocław-based Teatr Nie-Taki Foundation, the theatre organised the Festiwal Teatru Nie-Złego in Legnica (2011, 2012).

A plethora of cultural and community events including concerts and meetings with artists are organised by the artists of the theatre with a significant participation of the institution. Their scope frequently goes beyond the stage, as was in the case of the First Great Reunion of People from Legnica in 2004, and the artistic and community event Dwadzieścia lat po / Twenty Years Later (2013), inspired by the 20th anniversary of the departure of the last Soviet troops from Legnica and Poland.

The Modjeska Theatre runs education for all age groups, including activities for people with intellectual disabilities.

The actors of the theatre go beyond just playing their roles, as they also write theatre plays and direct them in Legnica and elsewhere, are active members of their respective communities, and receive awards for their work, to mention the Gdynia Drama Award 2017 for Magdalena Drab, the WARTO Prize for Culture from Gazeta Wyborcza national daily for Paweł Palcat, and the numerous accolades won by the PiK duo: Paweł Wolak and Katarzyna Dworak. Other artists connected to the Legnica theatre are also successful away from their home stage.

Jacek Głomb, the theatre director, has won a great deal of prizes, awards, and honourable mentions for his activity on the stage and for community work, to mention the best director awards for Zły / Bad at the 3rd National Competition for the Staging of Polish Contemporary Plays in 1997, Ballada o Zakaczawiu / The Ballad of Zakaczawie (Konrad Swinarski Award from Teatr monthly, 2002), for Othello at the 10th Gdańsk Shakespeare Festival in 2006, for Zabijanie Gomułki / The Killing of Gomułka at the 13th National Competition for the Staging of Polish Contemporary Plays in 2007, and Orkiestra / The Orchestra at the Reality Presented Festival of Contemporary Drama in Zabrze, 2012. In 2013 he received the European Citizens’ Prize from the European Parliament. He is the founder and head of the Naprawiacze Świata Foundation, whose name can be translated into “the menders of the world” and whose goal is “to activate the local community for undertaking civil actions, and to help other non-governmental organisations and informal groups in carrying out their ideas and projects”. He is an active participant of the Committee for the Defence of Democracy (KOD) Association, and the vice president of the KOD in Lower Silesia.

The season 2017/18 marks a double jubilee in the life of the Modjeska Theatre: 40 years of the Polish stage in Legnica and 175 years of the building in which the theatre operates. The jubilee premiere was Biesy / The Possessed based on the novel of Fyodor Dostoevsky and directed by Jacek Głomb. A monographic work on the Polish theatre in Legnica entitled Subiektywna historia teatru w Legnicy, literally “a subjective history of the theatre in Legnica”, and Dramaty Modrzejewskiej 2 being a collection of dramas written for our stage were published, and Nasza muzyka CD with new arrangements of music from our productions was released.

The Modjeska Theatre emphasises the continuity of its stage, operating in a 175-year-old building, being a work of Carl Ferdinand Langhans, the architect of the Wrocław Opera and theatres in Leipzig and Szczecin. A series of three jubilee exhibitions organised in the autumn of 2017 in the loby of the Old Town Hall presented the three theatres that used the stage operating in Legnica Market Square: Stadttheater Liegnitz (1842–1944), Russkiy Dramaticheskiy Teatr Severnoi Gruppy Voisk (1946–64), and the Polish Dramatyczny Theatre (1977–90).