Hieronim Konieczka Polish Theatre in Bydgoszcz
The Miejski Teatr Polski / Municipal Polish Theatre in Bydgoszcz was founded in 1920; its first manager was Ludwik Dybizbański. The beginnings were very difficult. Money was short, contact with the audience was poor, successive managers were not viewed very favourably by the City Council, the press was not well disposed either, the theatre's staff held strikes when they weren't paid. During the tenure of Wanda Siemaszkowa (1920-1922) the theatre staged ambitious repertoire, mainly by Polish authors - Juliusz Słowacki, Aleksander Fredro, Lucjan Rydel, Stanisław Wyspiański. This type of repertoire did not satisfy audiences, who stopped coming to the theatre. Józef Karbowski became manager in 1922, staying for three years. Subsequent managements were short-lived, the theatre being run in succession by Karol Benda, Józef Krokowski, and Włodzimierz Kosiński. The situation did not change significantly during those years. Differences continued between the theatre and the municipal authorities. To save the theatre's budget, many purely entertaining productions were put on. In 1926 Ludwik Dybizbański was appointed manager again. In 1927-1938 the theatre was run by Wladysław Stoma. His tenure was a time of greater stability, he staged over 370 shows, including operettas and musical comedies, doing his best to maintain a balance between ambitious repertoire and "lighter" plays. The best productions of this period were interpretations of Polish Romantic drama - Słowacki's FANTAZY directed by Jerzy Szyndler (1936) and Zygmunt Krasiński's NIE-BOSKA KOMEDIA / THE UN-DIVINE COMEDY in a production by Kazimierz Korecki (1937). The last season before the war was the responsibility of a new manager - Aleksander Rodziewicz.
In 1945 the theatre was initially private and was called the Teatr Mały / Little Theatre. It was soon renamed the Teatr Polski / Polish Theatre. Aleksander Rodziewicz was re-appointed as the first post-war manager. The inauguration performance was Aleksander Fredro's ZEMSTA / THE REVENGE directed by Czesław Strzelecki (1945). Subsequent productions included Gabriela Zapolska's PANNA MALICZEWSKA / MISS MALICZEWSKA directed by Zofia Modrzewska (1945), and Pierre Beaumarchais's THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO directed by Strzelecki (1945). Required to go on tour a lot, the theatre suffered financial problems. Rodziewicz decided to add less demanding plays to the repertoire, but the theatre also staged Moliere's TARTUFFE directed by Modrzewska (1946), Stanisław Dygat and Tadeusz Breza's ZAMACH / THE ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT directed by Tadeusz Muskat (1946), and George Bernard Shaw's CANDIDA staged by Modrzewska (1946).
In the 1946/47 season the Bydgoszcz theatre was run by Wilam Horzyca who was also head of Torun's Pomerania Regional Theatre. He managed to gather a strong acting company, including Józef Kondrat, Celina Klimczakówna, Hieronim Konieczka, Kazimierz Wichniarz, and Zofia Wierzejska. Horzyca promoted an ambitious repertoire, and productions included Ludwik Hieronim Morstin's OBRONA KSANTYPY / DEFENDING XANTHIPPE directed by Gustawa Błońska (1947), and Moliere's THE IMPOSTURES OF SCAPIN staged by Muskat (1947). Horzyca left the theatre after a year, and many great actors left with him. Aleksander Gąssowski was appointed manager in 1948, and returned to staging entertainment pieces. He also organized mass events in surrounding villages, military grounds, and workplaces. The theatre was nationalized in 1949, becoming part of the giant Bydgoszcz-Toruń Pomerania Regional Theatres State Enterprise. Aleksander Rodziewicz was appointed head of both theatres, and continued in office until 1951. From 1949 the actors worked in a new theatre building designed by Alfred Licznerski.
In 1952-1958 the Bydgoszcz theatre was managed by Jarosław Gajewski. Mainly Russian and Polish classics were produced during this time - Alexander Ostrovsky, Nikolai Gogol, Maxim Gorky, Aleksander Fredro, Juliusz Słowacki, Gabriela Zapolska as well as ideological plays. An important production of Shakespeare's OTHELLO was staged in 1955, directed by Stefan Winter who was the theatre's artistic manager in 1953-1958.
As was the case with most theatres in Poland, a revival occurred after 1956. During this time the theatre was managed by Hugon Moryciński (1958-1961), Stanisław Bugajski (1961-1963), and Tadeusz Aleksandrowicz (1963-1964). The theatres of Bydgoszcz and Toruń were definitively separated in 1961. Works by Western playwrights were staged - Thornton Wilder, Arthur Miller, Max Frisch, Jean Anouilh. Hugon Moryciński's directing projects included Shakespeare's THE WINTER'S TALE (1959) and Juliusz Słowacki's KORDIAN (1959). Tadeusz Aleksandrowicz presented an excellent version of Shakespeare's HENRY VI (1964). A return to ancient drama was also made. Stanisław Bugajski staged Aeschylus' PROMETHEUS BOUND (1961), and also Shakespeare's HAMLET (1963). Interesting stage designers included Stanisław Bąkowski, Zofia Wierchowicz, and Jan Kosiński. The theatre had a powerful acting company, with Danuta Balicka, Maria Chwalibóg, Iga Mayr, Wanda Rucińska, Dominika Stecówna, Hieronim Konieczka, Zdzisław Karczewski, Mieczysław Wielicz as well as young actors - Włodzimierz Bednarski, Andrzej Kopiczyński, Jan Zdrojewski, and Halina Słojewska.
Zygmunt Wojdan took over as manager of the Teatr Polski in 1964.
"During his long, ten-year tenure, the style of production which melded the actor with the visual aspects - understood as an important plan for solving the problem of theatrical interpretation of a given work - broke down," wrote Elżbieta Czerska. ("Almanach sceny bydgoskiej 1920-1990" / "Almanac of the Bydgoszcz Theatre 1920-1990", Bydgoszcz 1990)
Wojdan directed Polish Romantic plays, but his productions of Krasiński's NIE-BOSKA KOMEDIA / THE UN-DIVINE COMEDY (1971) and IRYDION (1974) were not a success. Contemporary repertoire dominated at this time, with the theatre staging plays by Albert Camus, Friedrich Dürrenmatt, Jean Giraudoux, Bertolt Brecht. Teresa Żukowska directed Sławomir Mrożek's TANGO (1965). Other directors included Jan Błeszyński, Józef Wyszomirski, Lech Komarnicki, and Henryk Baranowski who together with stage designer Jerzy Juk-Kowarski prepared a controversial, innovative production of Henrik Ibsen's GHOSTS (1973), as well as Krystyna Meissner whose projects included a stage version of Tadeusz Różewicz's ŚMIESZNY STARUSZEK / THE FUNNY OLD MAN (1966) and Moliere's TARTUFFE (1968). The repertoire, especially in the second half of the 1960's, came to include many works of light entertainment. The acting company weakened, though until then they had coped well with psychological repertoire.
In 1974-1978 the Bydgoszcz theatre was run by Jan Błeszyński. This was a time of many important productions - PRZEDWIOŚNIE / EARLY SPRING based on Stefan Żeromski and directed by Jerzy Wróblewski (1974), John Ford's 'TIS PITY SHE'S A WHORE directed by Błeszyński and Matylda Krygier (1975) and invoking the concept of the theatre of cruelty, and Jean Genet's THE MAIDS directed by Barański (1975). Marek Okopiński also presented his work here, producing Alexander Vampilov's LAST SUMMER IN CHULIMSK (1975).
The following years under the management of Grzegorz Mrówczyński (1978-1982) and Alojzy Nowak (1983-1988) were not good ones. Though ambitious repertoire was staged, including Polish and world classics (Shakespeare, Słowacki, Wyspiański, Fredro) and contemporary drama (Sławomir Mrożek, Witold Gombrowicz, Per Olov Enquist, Dürrenmatt), the performances were far from representing a high artistic standard. One of the few successful productions included Federico Garcia Lorca's THE HOUSE OF BERNARDA ALBA directed by Mrówczyński (1979), and Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz's (Witkacy) ONI / THEM directed by Konieczka (1980) - this actor had shown an interest in Witkacy's work before, having successfully staged W MAŁYM DWORKU / COUNTRY HOUSE at the Bydgoszcz theatre in 1959.
In the following years, 1988-1994, the theatre's manager was Andrzej Maria Marczewski, who proposed a discussion on issues of individual and national moral responsibility. His projects in Bydgoszcz at the time included a successful adaptation of Mikhail Bulgakov's THE MASTER AND MARGARITA (1988), Tadeusz Słobodzianek's OBYWATEL PEKOSIEWICZ / CITIZEN PEKOSIEWICZ (1989), Tadeusz Miciński's TERMOPILE POLSKIE / POLISH THERMOPYLAE (1989), Karol Wojtyła's BRAT NASZEGO BOGA / OUR GOD'S BROTHER (1991), and also Witold Gombrowicz's IWONA, KSIĘŻNICZKA BURGUNDA / YVONNE, PRINCESS OF BURGUNDY (1991) and Shakespeare's HAMLET (1994).
In 1994-1997 the Teatr Polski was run by Wiesław Górski, who was followed by Andrzej Walden. During this time no distinctive repertoire image was developed for the theatre. Productions included both Polish Romantic drama: Juliusz Słowacki's BALLADYNA (1997) and Adam Mickiewicz's DZIADY / FOREFATHERS' EVE (1998) directed by Walden, and world classics: Shakespeare's MACBETH also by Walden (1999). Andrzej Maria Marczewski presented an interesting adaptation of Jerzy Sulima Kamiński's novel MOST KRÓLOWEJ JADWIGI / THE QUEEN JADWIGA BRIDGE (2000).
In 2000 the theatre was named after Hieronim Konieczka, actor, director, animateur and participant of many artistic events in Bydgoszcz. The theatre's manager in 2000-2006 was Adam Orzechowski, followed by Paweł Łysak as of June 2006. Today the theatre stages many productions of new plays, and many young directors work here - Iwona Kempa (Daniel Danis's STONES AND ASHES, 2004), Jarosław Tumidajski (Dirk Dobbrow's PARADISE, 2005), Monika Powalisz (Matjaž Zupančič's VLADIMIR, 2005). Zbigniew Brzoza staged Nikolai Kolada's MARILYN MONGOL (2004) here, and Grzegorz Wiśniewski produced Vasili Sigarev's PLASTICINE (2005). Orzechowski's projects include Tankred Dorst's I, FEUERBACH (2004), Michael Frayn's farce NOISES OFF (2004), and Anton Chekhov's PLATONOV (2006).
Teatr Polski im. Hieronima Konieczki w Bydgoszczy
al. Mickiewicza 2
Phone: (+48 52) 339 78 12
Fax: (+48 52) 339 78 20