The Tenth Annual Between.Pomiędzy Festival of Literature and Theatre

“Sunless cloudless brightness. You slip away at break of day and climb to your hiding place on the hillside. A nook in the gorse. East beyond the sea the faint shape of high mountain. Seventy miles away according to your Longman. For the third or fourth time in your life.”

(Samuel Beckett, Company)

The tenth annual Between.Pomiędzy Festival of  Literature and Theatre will take place between 13 and 19 May 2019 in Sopot and the other cities of the Tri-City area. We are proud that the Festival is also part of the celebrations of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the University of Gdańsk. This year’s festival theme is “Island.” The theme is meant literally since there is a focus on writers and artists from both Ireland and Britain, but the organizers have been open to less literal understandings of the word. How can it be understood today? As an island of dreams? A treasure island? As the unknown? As the unnameable? An island in Prospero’s brain? Perhaps the island lies inland – in Kashubia?

The Festival offers an opportunity for younger and more experienced artists from Poland and the world to meet. During the academic sessions for students and established scholars, guests from literary and theatre studies will consider a wide range of relevant topics. Meetings are scheduled with a theoretical physicist, Professor Marek Żukowski, and with a chemist, Professor Piotr Stepnowski. After all, the main aim of the festival is to open up a field for discussion between the world of art and the world of the university, to leave our offices and labs for the everyday space that surrounds us. It’s a chance to bring our work to the public in a practical and real way.

The idea of the laboratory – in its way, an island for creating knowledge – is important in the festival. It brings together artists, scholars, and, of course, representatives of the natural and experimental sciences. What can we learn from the experimental and practical experiences of the island/laboratory?

Highlights of the week-long festival are many. The Song of the Goat Theatre will perform its most recent piece, Raport Kassandry (Cassandra’s Report), directed by Grzegorz Bral. Alicja Bral will also give workshops on the company’s work. Teatr Wybrzeże will present its production of Ruscy (Ruskies) directed by Adam Orzechowski, and in Teatr BOTO in Sopot there will be a performance of Adam Nalepa’s production of Podróż do Buenos Aires (Journey to Buenos Aires).

BOTO is also the venue of an exhibition of Józef Czerniawski’s paintings and of music by Maciej  and Mateusz Rychły. Other concerts include the music of Julian Wolfreys, Mikołaj Trzaska and Ignacy Wiśniewski, and the songs of Jacques Brel performed by students of Studium Wokalno-Aktorskie im. Danuty Baduszkowej. There will be a screening of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, with live music by Irek Wojtczak and Kamil Piotrowicz.

Last year’s cooperation with Czarne Publishing House continues in 2019. There will be public meetings with Monika Sznajderman, Magdalena Kicińska, and Andrzej Stasiuk; Magdalena Budzińska will conduct workshops. There will also be meetings with the poets Irena Klepfisz, Hilary Davies, and Łucja Dudzińska.

As every year, the work of Samuel Beckett takes a central role in the festival. This can be seen during the open meetings with Antoni Libera at the University of Gdańsk, and in the premiere of S.E. Gontarski’s film Beckett on the Baltic. Professor Gontarski, the doyen of Beckett scholars, will take a leading role in the festival, as he has done each year from its beginning. There will also be meetings with Włodzimierz Staniewski of the Gardzienice theatre company, and workshops conducted by the actor and director Przemysław Wasilkowski. Public workshops on the Beckett-influenced play by Harold Pinter, No Man’s Land, will be directed by London actor Jon McKenna. Martin Blaszk and students from the University’s ZIA will mount a happening entitled Wyspa/Island.

Our cooperation with Trinity College Dublin (Beckett’s alma mater) and the Embassy of Ireland bears fruit once more in meetings with Irish artists Suzanne Walsh, Nathan O’Donnell, and Julie Bates, and in a theatre laboratory run by Nicholas Johnson and Jonathan Heron. On the day of the opening of the Festival, there will also be an Irish Day/ Lá Bealtaine, which we have helped to organize, at the University of Warsaw.

Most Festival events will take place in Sopot – at Teatr BOTO, Teatr na Plaży, Dworek Sierakowskich, and Teatr Wybrzeże. But there will also be events in Gdańsk and Gdynia. Many events – especially the academic ones, although not only those – will be in English. The festival opening will take place on the Baltic Campus of the University of Gdańsk. You can also browse through various publications connected with the past nine years of the Festival in the “Młody Byron” café in Dworek Sierakowskich and in the bookshop “Książka dla Ciebie” in the Krzywy Domek in Sopot.