Jerzy Grotowski

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Jerzy Grotowski. (19**-) Hugely influential Polish director and theorist.

Contribution to SA theatre, film, media and/or performance

His ideas about the actor and the art of training the performer influenced a large number of South African performers in the 1970-1990 period, reinforced by the work of Peter Brook and others **** Many directors and training schools sought to emulate his improvisational laboratory approach and the stripped down style of his theatre after reading his influential essays in Towards a Poor Theatre (19**). One aknowledged, and commanding, influence was on Athol Fugard, for it led him directly to the initial experimental work which would produce The Coat, The Island, Sizwe Bansi is Dead and finally Orestes (which, in its turn, led to the founding of Space Theatre and its legacy of experimental theatre.) The notion of “poor theatre” became a fundamental one in South African theatre from the 1970s, though perhaps a little differently interpreted than either Brook or Grotowski meant.


Various entries in the NELM catalogue, e.g. a reference to Rusch, Neil. 2014. Profane illumination : an interview with Athol Fugard. English in Africa, 41(2):115-144.

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