The Theatre for the Dramatic Arts in Legnica was founded in 1977 and re-named the Helena Modrzejewska Theatre in 1999. It's first manager and artistic director was Janusz Sykutera. For the inauguration Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz's Summer in Nohant premiered in 1977. Later came Leonard Gershe's Butterflies are Free (directed by Janusz Mirczewski, 1978) Juliusz Słowacki's Marie-Stuart in a staging by Jerzy Ukleja (1978) and - the most interesting performance from this period - Kazimierz Moczarski's Conversations with executioner - directed by Sykutera (1978). This was not, however, a good time for the Legnica theatre. An eclectic repertuar, a lack of commendable performances, and definite miscalculations in terms of artistic matters, garnered the theatre as much criticism as it did publicity.
In 1981 Sykutera was replaced by the young director Józef Jasielski, who served as both the theatre's manager and artistic director until 1982. In 1982 Tadeusz Masojć became the general manager, whilst the artistic management continued to be led by Jasielski, who quickly managed to assert the team and devise an ambitious repertuar proposal.
"A small, unambitious repertuar is a sign of disdain for the viewer"- says Jasielski. "It brings about the assumption that this viewer doesn't understand Shakespeare, and that Mickiewicz is too hard for him." ("The Theatre for the Dramatic Arts in Legnica 1977-1987" Legnica, 1988)
In 1981 Jasielski premiered Stanisław Grochowiak's Okapi. Later, to similar acclaim, he repeatedly tried to tackle classical theatre. He staged Molier's Don Juan (1981), Sławomir Mrożek's Tango (1982), Scenic Jokes in a version by Anton Chekhov (1983), August Strindberg's Pelikan (1983) and Juliusz Słowacki's Balladeer and The Show Hamlet in the Deaf Low Country by Ivo Brešana (1981).
"Jasielski didn't try to... (after the successful, albeit controversial 'Wedding Party') rest on his laurels" - writes Krzysztof Kucharski. "He just raised the beam even higher." ("The Theatre for the Dramatic Arts in Legnica 1977-1987" Legnicy, 1988)
In 1984 Jasielski prepared Adam Mickiewicz's Forefather's Eve with Marian Czerski in the role of Gustaw-Konrad: an important performance for the Legnica stage. In later years, he still directed the majority of entries, inviting other directors to create a repertuar for children. Jacek Medwecki staged Carlo Collodiego's Pinochio in Warsaw in 1984; whereas Tomasz Szymański presented Gelsomina in the country of liars by Gianni Rodariego (1985). Subsequent premiers by Jasielski also came about. These included: Lilla Weneda by Słowacki (1985), The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov (1986) and The Un-divine comedy by Zygmunt Krasiński (1986). During the 1980s, Alicja Choińska also co-worked with the theatre. She staged Voices of the Dead by Ireneusz Iredyński (1986).
Between 1987-1990 the Legnica stage was led by Tadeusz Masojć, and then Łukasz Pijewski (1990-1992), Zbigniew Kraska (1992-1993) and Robert Czechowski (1993-1994). Jasielski still worked as a director at the theatre, working mainly with the classics: Shakespeare's Hamlet (1987), Bertold Brecht's Threepenny Opera (1988) and Antygone by Sophocles (1989). Maciej Korwin, also worked at the theatre. He showed here Henry the pious - misterium by Stanisław Wyspiański (1991). There also appeared the newest in Polish dramaturgy - in 1993 Paweł Kamza staged the well-received Army by Mark Pruchniewski.
From 1992 the artstic director was Jacek Głomb, who was to take up the directorship of the theatre two years later. The Legnica stage subsequently changed. It shortly became one of the most interesting theatricfal spaces in the country. Głomb managed to successfully integrate the actors and also work in the public interest. The group began to prepare a production in the public space - Wrong by Leopold Tyrmand, directed by Głomb which was staged in a ammunition factory (1996), Young Death by Grzegorz Nawrocki, directed by Tomasz Sobczak (1997) which was shown in a disco and the outdoor Coriolanus by Shakespeare staged by Głomb and Krzysztof Kopka (1998) in the Prussian barracks. The majority of the performances, even if they weren't outstanding works of art, shocked and excited with their committment and authneticity. The most interesting example perhaps came with the preparation for 2000's premier Ballads from Zakaczawie based on the script by Maciej Kowalewski, Krzysztof Kopka and Jacek Głomb which was staged in the then dis-used "Railwayman" cinema.
The multi-layered comic-lyrical ballad told the tale of the life of city-dwellers in Legnicy over the course of the last fifty years. The main protagonist was the honorary thief Benek Cygan, a supposedly real-life figure, about whom rumours still circulate in Legnicy. On the Modrzejewski stage, with much pomp and flair, a discussion begins about about the problems of modern Poland. Głomb prepared the following performance: Citizen M - A History by Maciej Kowalewski about the life of Leszek Miller, a portrait of the career of the photographer (2002), and East and West of the City by Robert Urbański, which focussed on the problem of identity (2003). Przemysław Wojcieszek constructed his own text Made in Poland (2004). Still working at the theatre is Paweł Kamza, who premiered The Party Wedding Once Again by Mark Pruchniewski (2000), as well as his own productions based on his own written texts - including the contemporary tragi-farce Polish Hospital (2002) and Intale, PL about young people preparing a revolution on the internet (2006). Kamza also reaches for classics, in the Legnica theatre he also staged Kordian by Słowacki (1999), The Troy of my Love according to Eurypides (2001) and the High Comedy of Cyprian Norwid (2004). After Coriolanus to guess the mechnaics of power Głomb showed Hamlet, Prince of Denmark by Shakespeare (2001). In Legnica, Lech Raczak showed Zone inspired by the film by Andriej Tarkowski: Stalker (2003).
Teatr im. Heleny Modrzejewskiej w Legnicy
Phone: (+48 76) 72 33 500
Fax: (+48 76) 72 33 501