The 57th International Theatre Festival KONTRAPUNKT: Discover your point of view!

Marta Kufel

Marta Kufel

The 57th International Theatre Festival KONTRAPUNKT: Discover your point of view!

The 57th edition of the KONTRAPUNKT International Theatre Festival will take place shortly. The region’s largest and oldest theatre festival is returning after a two-year break, and for the first time two city theatres – the  Pleciuga Puppet Theatre and the  Contemporary Theatre in Szczecin will be taking on the role of organisers.

The Festival this year is the first edition taking the form of a biennial, which has made the event more accessible by opening it up to international productions. This is also the first time KONTRAPUNKT will last a month and a half, bringing spring to Szczecin under the banner of theatre. All Festival events are scheduled to take place from 19 April to 1 June.

“We combine our experience, as well as a completely different formula, to present the most interesting Polish and international productions focused on form... yet, not a small form,”  said Tomasz Lewandowski and Jakub Skrzywanek, directors of the 57th KONTRAPUNKT  International Theatre Festival.  “The performances during this year’s KONTRAPUNKT will reflect different dimensions of theatre: from the puppet theatre through performances in the public space  and visual arts to the dramatic theatre. Our aim is to appreciate diversity while ensuring that everyone may discover something on stage that moves them – which is why this year's KONTRAPUNKT is being launched under the slogan “Discover your point of view!”.

For the first time this year, the Festival was divided into sections. Eight performances (four from Poland and four from abroad) were invited to the International Form Competition with curatorial support from Agata Kołacz and Henryk Mazurkiewicz. Their themes revolve around passing away, but also of the body and its condition, including physicality that goes beyond normative canons.

While making our selection, we considered how the plays were made, who and what they represent, who and what they stand for. Each of them expresses a different approach to what theatre is. We will confront Polish theatre, which focuses on the word, with international productions, in which the importance of dialogue is reduced. We will consider how this affects the form. The performances will be judged by five performers representing different perspectives: not only theatre, but also literature, visual arts and film. The deliberations of the jury will be public and will become a performance of its own – an open debate with the participation of a mediator, the Festival organisers announced.

The Jury of the International Form Competition will be composed of: Inga Iwasiów, Katarzyna Kozyra, Anna Smolar, Piotr Jacoń and Marek Waszkiel.

And there is more. The Festival audience will also be able to see performances in two additional sections: Starting Point and Turning Point. The former will feature performances addressed to children and adolescents. The latter, on the other hand, includes performances that have revolutionised the way we think about contemporary theatre. The main figure of this year’s section is the director and set designer Philippe Quesne, one of Europe’s most prominent creators and the founder of the legendary Vivarium Studio.

This year’s Festival will also feature a number of Premiere events. The audience will be able enjoy a performance entitled “Dance, Giselle!”, directed by Anna Obszańska, as well as “Gong!”, a family puppet play that pays tribute to Olympic values. Interestingly enough, this play is being produced in cooperation with the Monika Pyrek Foundation.

According to the organisers of the 57th KONTRAPUNKT Festival, theatre is a place where openness, freedom of expression, but also willingness to engage in dialogue are of paramount importance. Therefore, the event has prepared a series of free events that will run in the urban space. This includes a social opening, inspired by Caravaggio’s painting “The Seven Acts of Mercy”, whereby Szczecin will be brought to life in six very different and surprising locations.

“Ahead of us are more than fifty events, including plays, concerts and exhibitions. We are convinced that the magnificent and moving theatre will fill the city with beauty and hope,”  added Tomasz Lewandowski and Jakub Skrzywanek. “ We look forward to seeing you in the auditoriums of Szczecin’s performance halls!”

A detailed agenda of the 57th edition of the KONTRAPUNKT International Theatre Festival can be found in the appendix below.

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