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The Workcenter from Grotowski to the present

On November 30th at 2:30 pm at the Teatro Era in Pontedera the Wokcenter of Jerzy Grotowski is holding a conference with the title: “The Workcenter from Grotowski to the present“. This is the first conference and public film screening since April 2006.  To give some background information, The Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski was founded in 1986 by Fondazione Pontedera Teatro to provide a residence for the practical research conducted by renowned theatre visionary Jerzy Grotowski (on the left pic). For 13 years, until his death, he collaborated with Thomas Richards, eventually deeming Richards to be his “essential collaborator” and changing the institution’s name to Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards.  Since Grotowski’s passing in 1999, Richards along with his Associate Director, Mario Biagini have been leading the artistic development of their international company.
Although the practical work has carried on uninterrupted since 1986, public encounters and presentations have been limited due to the nature of the work (which is necessarily process–as opposed to performance– based). Beginning in 2003, the European Union funded a three-year project entitled Tracing Roads Across. Under the auspices of this project, extensive travel took the company to 13 European and North African countries. Italy, however, remained largely a place where the work was nurtured and developed, rather than exhibited.
Recently, all members of the Workcenter team have felt the desire for local contact. We are looking to initiate sustained contact with the cultural and academic communities in our vicinity. The upcoming meeting and presentation of videos, which officially closes the inaugural festival of the Fondazione Pontedera Teatro’s beautiful new facility, Teatro Era in Pontedera (PI), is an ideal meeting-place for such an encounter. The theater will screen 3 films that document distinct moments in the development of the practical creative research followed by an open conversation with Richards and Biagini.
The cross-cultural institutions in Tuscany  provide a valuable opportunity for the artists undertaking their research at the Workcenter to meet vibrant and interesting individuals with the same desire for cultural exchange. The Workcenter team is comprised of 24 theatre artists from diverse cultures and ethnicities ranging in age from 21-45, many of whom are far from home. Each of them is interested in experiencing new culture; for some, it is in the daily life; others are enlivened by the diversity of their colleagues professional and cultural background; and for all members, nourishment comes in the rigorous work they have chosen to pursue, which has no parallel. Likewise, for all of them the call to meet and experience new modes of perceiving the world around them is essential.
Text published with the courtesy of Ms Julia Uleha

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