The Workcenter is presently engaged in a wide array of creative explorations that embody our intention to function as a catalyst for personal and interpersonal transformation. This intention has led us to widen our role within today’s cultural landscape, bringing our work today into contact with audiences in a large variety of settings: a theatre, a concert hall, a bar, a feast, and in a living room. These diversified settings provide different kinds of access to the work, and offer us a terrain in which we actively question and refine our role in society.
Both the Focused Research Team in Art as Vehicle and the Open Program are currently preparing, and carrying out projects throughout Europe, Asia, and the Americas, including events such as: performance events, meetings, workshops, work exchanges, festivals, symposia, film screenings, open discussions, forums and conferences.
From 2007 to 2009, the Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards opened its doors eastward with project Horizons, supported and hosted by the City of Wrocław, Poland. The Instytut im. Jerzego Grotowskiego acted as fundamental partner and coordinating agent for this project.
During the three-years of project Horizons, the Workcenter continued its main research in Pontedera, Italy, developing its long-term practical performing arts inquiry in its Italian home base. The Workcenter also visited Wrocław three months each year, deepening its internal research, holding its performing events, as well as conferences, practical work encounters and exchanges-in-work.
During the final year of Horizons, in November 2009, two new undertakings of the Workcenter took place: Knock Knock and the Zero Budget Festival.
In preparation for the final residence of the Workcenter in Wrocław during Horizons, Thomas Richards and two members of the Workcenter’s Focused Research Team in Art as Vehicle embarked on Knock Knock, an exploratory journey throughout Poland. Richards and his companions, traveling by car, came in contact with numerous artistic circumstances throughout the country, in an effort to understand the specific necessities that drive their creative actions. They came in contact with theatre groups, individual artists and social activists in Nowa Sól, Gryfino, Maszewo, Wągrowiec, Łódź, Skierniewice, Teremiski, Supraśl, Sejny, Olsztyn, Sopot and Gdańsk. Many of the groups encountered during Knock Knock were invited to Wrocław in November to present works at the Workcenter’s Zero Budget Festival.
Zero Budget Festival
The Workcenter’s Zero Budget Festival was a multidisciplinary arts event hosting well-known and lesser-known, established and debutant theatre groups, individual artists, scholars interested in an active approach to society, culture and the individual. The Zero Budget Festival was a feast of works, an extended gathering between theatre practitioners in which the accent was placed on exchange and common investigation of the ways in which art can emanate from a search for content and meaning, and be a living response to one’s times and surroundings.
This zero budget and zero income undertaking was open to a broad public for free. Elimination of the necessity of a monetary structure during the Zero Budget Festival engendered a unique atmosphere of exchange. The festival, a resounding success, brought together visual artists, social groups, electronic musicians, and dozens of theatre artists and scholars for a two-week festival of stimulating discussions and new alliances of artists.
Tracing Roads Across
From April 2003 to April 2006, both the internal and external activities of the Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards were articulated through Tracing Roads Across: a three-year Workcenter project supported by the “Culture 2000” Programme of the European Union, and by a network of cultural operators from five different countries. In Tracing Roads Across, Fondazione Pontedera Teatro headed the group of co-organizers by hosting the project’s “Main Work.” Gülsen Gürses was Project Manager of Tracing Roads Across, and the theatre of which she is Artistic Director, Theater des Augenblicks in Vienna, was the project’s Main Organizer.
Tracing Roads Across, as well as directly concerning the Workcenter’s practical research, periodically focused the artistic team’s attention towards selected young theatre groups, performance artists and students, and also gave the Workcenter team the opportunity to address topics related to creative analysis with theatre experts and scholars. The project created the circumstances in which the works and creative processes of young artists and scholars were analyzed by the Workcenter from the point of view of performance craft. A three-year travelling cultural dialogue was fostered between chosen theatre groups, organizations and cultural operators from eleven nations.
Tracing Roads Across also created the opportunity for professionals, non-professionals and theatre-lovers of all participating countries to come in contact with the artistic research of the Workcenter through viewing its performance events, as well as through the project’s numerous open conferences, projections of documentary films, and public discussions.