In September 2023 STUDIO teatrgaleria hosted the LINKAGES: Poland delegation from the United States.
LINKAGES: Poland is a multi-year initiative designed to forge long-term, artist-to-artist connections between a new generation of theatre artists/leaders in the US and Poland. This boundary-expanding project of Philip Arnoult’s Center for International Theatre Development (CITD) is lead by Project Director Howard Shalwitz, Project Manager Brandice Thompson.
Working with Polish scholar Malgorzata Semil, eight of the most exciting new theatre leaders in Poland were invited for extended Zoom conversations with American counterparts during the pandemic. Topics discussed included the most pressing themes affecting theatre in both countries: the challenge of making theatre in polarized societies, new demands for fairness & representation, new artistic processes and forms of expression, survival strategies in the face of funding cuts, and most recently, efforts to support Ukrainian artists. Poles and Americans were eager to learn from one another and discovered that they faced many of the same challenges.
This cohort had spent the better part of two years in meetings over Zoom, and this would be the first time they would meet in person.
Polish and US participants: https://www.citd.us/linkages-poland
Denis Butkus and Justin Nestor – company members of Theater Mitu (who were invited to document the trip) report:
„There was a memorable moment in the lobby of the the STUDIO Teatrgaleria when the LINKAGES: Poland cohort gathered with their Polish counterparts for brunch. It was as if the future of theatremaking in the U.S. was colliding with the future of Polish theatre in one room. The excitement and energy of this room was one jackpot we racked up from this festival’s pinball game. And it was a testament to the work of LINKAGES: Poland and the Center for International Theatre Development.
Above all, we left Warsaw hopeful that the vibrant conversations this art form can produce is alive and well. As Mitu opened the doors of MITU580 to share our Hybrid Arts Lab fellows and samples of their work this November, we witnessed a full house of young folks willing to jump into a conversation about innovative artmaking, the power of small arts spaces, and the resources these spaces can provide to early-career and emerging artists. To see these future makers and audience members fill up MITU580 this fall reminded us of Warsaw, and of that jackpot gathering of artists in the STUDIO Teatrgaleria.
It’s clear that there will be generational change in the theatre. The next cohort of makers is already playing that pinball game, all over the world, and there is a curious community hungry for the add-a-ball extra life music to play.”