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Kantor Kent



18/19th September 2015

The European Theatre Research Network (ETRN) at the University of Kent in Canterbury is planning a day and a half symposium for academics and the public on the life and work of Polish theatre director and visual artist Tadeusz Kantor to celebrate 100 years since his birth. ETRN is collaborating on this project with Tom Skipp, a British filmmaker from Madrid. It is funded and supported by the Institute of Adam Mickiewicz, Warsaw, as part of their programme as well as the University of Kent’s School of Arts, ETRN and the Polish Cultural Institute, London.

The symposium will include an open call, and accordingly would like to invite anyone interested in presenting at the event to submit to us a 300 word outline of their 20 minute paper/presentation by Friday 27th March. This is to be sent to the organising committee with a short biography or CV at the following email address: You will be notified of acceptance by Friday 17th April. All travel and accommodation costs will need to be covered by the applicant. The committee consists of Paul Allain with Drs Margherita Laera, Shaun May and Angie Varakis-Martin from the University of Kent’s School of Arts as well as Adam Chodzko from Kent’s School of Music and Fine Arts.

The event in September 2015 will be a chance for people to acquaint or reacquaint themselves with Kantor and his legacy. Kantor died in December 1990. He was thus unable to see for himself the changes that have transformed his country and indeed Europe. How today in this much altered landscape might we remember this memory-maker, famous for his Dead Class (1975), his Wielopole, Wielopole (1985) and his extraordinary renditions of Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz’s plays? Should we Let the Artist(s) Die or keep his memory going? In his Theatre of Death, what remains alive? As in Tom Skipp’s film Kantor revisits Madrid’s Prado to stand before the paintings that inspired his own work, how do we revisit Kantor today, for our own inspiration? ‘Shall he ever return’? What do we remember of Tadeusz Kantor and what lessons does his Dead Class and other performances teach us?

The symposium will combine screenings, talks, a workshop and performances. It will include artistic responses to his work in performance and in graphics, and be multidisciplinary, with contributors from across the arts.

A highlight of the symposium will be the UK premiere of Tom Skipp’s specially made film which will show Kantor’s ghost visiting the Prado Museum on his 100th birthday. Inside the museum, he finds himself in front of works of art that inspired his own paintings and his theatre. He encounters some characters from his works and the paintings, such as The Eternal Traveller and The Infanta. Past and present intermingle – the Napoleonic occupation of Spain and the Nazi and Soviet occupations of Poland – and places in Kantor’s past also intermingle with landmarks in Madrid associated with the painters Velázquez and Goya. Memory comes alive. Finally the characters discuss the nature of ‘monuments’, at a time when Kantor-related monuments are changing in his 100th year.

In addition we wish to show extracts of film footage from rehearsals of Today is my Birthday, his final work, as well as Andrzej Wajda’s response to The Dead Class. Renczynski will also lead a 4 day workshop culminating in a public presentation.

Confirmed international participants:

Dr Anna Burzynska (Jagiellonian University), contributing author to Tadeusz Kantor Today: Metamorphoses of Death, Memory and Presence

Franco Laera (Change Performing Arts) Worldwide producer of Kantor’s performances

Małgorzata Paluch-Cybulska Archivist at the Cricoteka and author of the unpublished study ‘Tadeusz Kantor: …Velazquez’s Infantas as Sacred Relics or Madonnas’

Bogdan Renczynski Former actor in Cricot 2

Dr Magda Romanska (Emerson College, USA) author of The Post-Traumatic Theater of Grotowski and Kantor

Tom Skipp Exhibition curator, video artist and author Tadeusz Kantor. La escena de la memoria

Lech Stangret Director of the Foksal Gallery, Warsaw, exhibition curator, author of numerous books about Kantor, former actor in Cricot 2

Still to be confirmed: Goshka Macuga Contemporary artist and on former Turner prize shortlist

Confirmed UK Speakers include Dr Bryce Salisbury Lease (RHUL), Dr Mischa Twitchin (QMUL), Professor Noel Witts

Awaiting confirmation: Dr Daniel Watt, Dr Milija Gluhovic

 Symposium Organisers: Professor Paul Allain, Tom Skipp

Workshop | The Work of Tadeusz Kantor

February 15, 2015 – 12:00pm – 6:00pm
39 Watermill Towd Road
Water Mill, New York

The Watermill Center is pleased to announce a special workshop introducing the work of revolutionary Polish visual artist and theatre director Tadeusz Kantor (1915-1990).

An artistic pioneer and chief influence to Robert Wilson, Kantor gained international acclaim for defying theatrical convention in the 1960s and 70s with stage “happenings” that combined living and dead characters, emphasizing abstract behavior and manipulated realities. His famous production Dead Class proposed a “Theatre of Death” that negated traditional forms of representation, focusing instead on the persistence of memory and its influence on our perceptions of time and history. Kantor’s artistic spirit lives on at the Watermill Center, with several works in the Collection. Many of Robert Wilson’s works have been inspired by his aesthetics, most recently a collaborative homage to Kantor’s “Panoramic Sea Happening” with Marina Abramovic at the 2013 Sackler Foundation Conference (See photos HERE).

Join us in a creative encounter with Kantor’s innovative approach led by Bogdan Renczyński, a multi-disciplinary artist and actor trained by Kantor in Krakow. After studying and performing in Kantor’s productions for a decade, Renczyński has gone on to pursue a career as a theatre director, curator, and co-founder of the Parisian Association Le Retour d’Ulysse, specializing in art education and Kantor’s philosophy.

This Master Class will take place on Sunday, February 15th, from 12 to 6 PM in the Watermill Center Rehearsal Space. We will begin with a screening of Kantor’s last production, “Today Is My Birthday,” followed by exercises examining text, action, and performance through unconventional lenses inspired by Kantor’s school of thought. Attendance will be limited to 40 participants. As this is a movement-based seminar, we suggest comfortable attire, and invite you to bring a picnic lunch for the afternoon. In order to support this program and other programs at the Center, our suggested donation is $15.

This event is a part of Kantor’s Centennial with the patronage of the Polish Culture Institute New York and the Yale University Theater Studies Program.