Series Editors’ Preface
One of the most significant obstacles faced by those with an interest in Poland’s vibrant theatre and performance culture, but who are unfamiliar with its source languages, has often been limited access to the many core materials that have remained untranslated, unarchived, or unpublished outside Poland. This applies even in the case of materials about practitioners whose work and methods have been influential around the world, such as Jerzy Grotowski and the Teatr Laboratorium (Laboratory Theatre).
We are therefore pleased to launch, alongside the Polish Theatre Perspectives online resource (www.ptp.press), a companion series of PTP books and films that will provide international readers with unprecedented access to developments across Polish theatre, drama, and performance. Covering essential and emerging topics in the field, the series gathers a range of primary and scholarly content, from edited collections and research monographs to extended interviews, practitioner notes, documentaries, and mixed-mode accounts of performances and working processes. Each title seeks to make a focused intervention, opening up new viewpoints and potential areas of dialogue among Polish and international theatre communities.
As with this inaugural edition, the books and films are developed by subject specialists who select, edit, introduce, and cooperate in translating and annotating the materials, setting them in their wider cultural context. While primary sources are often very different in nature and register from academic research writing, and thus do not undergo the same kind of peer evaluation as the scholarly texts, we nonetheless engage independent reviewers to assist in preparing all PTP content, with specific emphasis on cultural translation and accessibility for an international audience.
Contributions to the series are specially commissioned or otherwise appear in translation for the first time. In the case of Voices from Within: Grotowski’s Polish Collaborators, this collection marks the first occasion that the history and aftermath of the Teatr Laboratorium – one of the most widely acclaimed ensembles of twentieth-century theatre – has been told in English through the distinctive voices of a broad selection of Grotowski’s Polish colleagues and long-time co-creators. It thus provides a rare insight, offering readers the chance to encounter individual perspectives on training and the creative process; group dynamics and ethics; making work in difficult social and political conditions; the Laboratorium’s evolution, dissolution, and diaspora; and the final stages of Grotowski’s research, following his emigration from Poland.
As Allain and Ziółkowski indicate in their Introduction, it is hoped that this multivocal history – as recalled throughout Voices from Within by the Laboratorium’s administrators, designers, ‘devil’s advocates’, performers, work leaders, and those later mentored by Grotowski – will go some way towards diversifying the study of the company’s practice and demythologising the creative methods and research outcomes that, as Grotowski himself commented in his programme notes to the Laboratorium’s US tour (reproduced at the end of the ‘Introduction’), are often mistakenly associated with ‘his name and his name alone’. Through these narratives and reflections, we see some of the collective and individual uncertainties, discoveries, and pathfinding that accompanied what was conceived among the group as a genuinely collaborative research. We also hope that the volume will contribute to a broader trend that sees the growing internationalisation and global visibility of local perspectives on the various stages of Grotowski’s activity, many of which have remained relatively separate and indeed monolingual up to now.
Across the series, PTP will continue to publish work that seeks to bridge performance cultures and offers an invaluable resource for those wishing to engage with Polish theatre through diverse source materials, contexts, and media. Ongoing information, including details of current and future titles, can be found at www.ptp.press.
Duncan Jamieson and Adela Karsznia
Editors, Polish Theatre Perspectives