• Justyna Drobnik-Rogers

Student thesis: Phd


This thesis discusses the work of theatre director Krzysztof Warlikowski, which holds an important place within Polish and world theatre, although it remains little known in the UK. It argues that that existing approaches to Warlikowski's theatre are inadequate as they focus too much on the perspective of an interpreter of productions who decodes the meaning of the performance. Instead Warlikowki's work should be approached from the perspective of an observer of the complex creative processes that lead to performance and determine its relationship with the audience. The connection between actors and spectators takes the form of an 'encounter' that offers a particular experience of theatregoing. It aims to challenge the existing customs of spectatorship and is based on destabilising and violating the sense of safety of both actors and spectators while expanding their experience of performance beyond the 'here and now'.This thesis asks questions about the distinctive conditions that make possible the type of encounter that lies at the heart of Warlikowski's oeuvre and distinguishes it from Polish repertory theatre. The theoretical framework of 'intertheatricality' facilitates identification of the matrix of elements that inform this encounter. These elements are constituted by: 1.The strategies that have led Warlikowski to become a successful director and enabled him to create a new way of theatre-making and communication with audience; 2. The complex processes of the creation of his ensemble of actors; 3. The family-like setting and the collaborative nature of rehearsals; 4. The status of actors who become the co-authors of performance and their idiosyncratic involvement in the creation of shows that cross the borders between work and life; and finally, 5. The role of the audience that becomes an integral element of the performance making process. Seeing Warlikowski's work from the perspective of performance as event shows it not as a static and completed artefact, but as a fleeting, transient process that is open to changes and resonates with the outside world. Through its focus on creative processes, this approach sheds new light on the theatre of Warlikowski. It shows how he integrates the actors and audience into his performance making process, and also helps to demonstrate his impact on the status of audience within Polish mainstream theatre post-1989.
Date of Award31 Dec 2012
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorAleksandar Dundjerovic (Supervisor) & Deirdre Reynolds (Supervisor)


  • Drama
  • Polish Theatre
  • Contemporary Performance
  • Directors' Theatre

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