One of the most important changes that the Polish theatre has undergone in the last couple of years is the appearance of a substantial number of female directors. This phenomenon, broadly commented upon and considered unique, is, nonetheless, perceived peripheral in the world of our theatre tradition and remembrance. “Directresses” are seen as an effect of the enigmatic times following the political transformation. Cut off from the history of the national theatre, they are exploring and annexing the territories still associated with the emancipation discourse and the fields of exclusion rather than the so-called mainstream, an idiom that is in fact defined by the names of great masters and associated with the hierarchy of power. The appearance of new “directresses” on the stages was preceded by the activity of a few female artists who managed to make it through to the official circulation. In the years before the nineties, there is such a lack of concrete information on important women directors that it is a kind of historical oblivion. It is not too surprising in theatre culture, considering the fact that one of the most important avant-garde manifestoes declares the artist to be “someone’s son”. Nevertheless, they had existed. They had directed, had run theatres and taught, had taken part in the public debate. Their traces are buried within theatre archives and old periodicals. Driven away from the official history of Polish theatre, they occasionally appear in indexes, brackets, on the margin, in the cited works or a caption. It seems that, following the example of the female art historians, a question should be posed: Did the “old female masters” exist? From the information chaos emerges one especially intriguing name: The name of Lidia Zamkow.

Lidia Zamkow (1918-1982), directress and actress, still present in the legends and memories of certain artistic circles (“a rebel” and “a troublemaker”) and in the anecdotes mentioning her quite exotic looks, but absent from serious reflection and discussion. She is the protagonist of numerous quips (“if she shows her claws – blood will be shed and people will be mowed down”) and trifles (second husband, a renowned writer, rhymed: “I really wanted to write about you / my dearest / but in order to write about you / one ought to be fearless”). Rumour has it that she “delighted with her spectacular theatre victories, shocked with the size of her defeats”. Her performances were probably “controversial”. It is said she had the nerve to rewrite the classics, paying no attention the criticism she could face. Probably her theatre had nothing to do with the popular vision of the so-called feminine art. So it is said. Probably. Perhaps.

The project of the remix, based on the search for traces of the works by Lidia Zamkow, is an artistic-research quest into the forgotten decades of the Polish theatres. It is also an attempt to explore the pure need to have an artistic “heroine”. We are setting off on this quest fully aware that we might not find what we want. The past was neither good nor bad. The past is simply a different country. We would like to visit it to check if anything exists there – or if there is nothing. We hope to assemble a portrait (or maybe portraits) out of the two or three things we are able to discover.
Weronika Szczawińska
Directress, playwright, dramatist, culture researcher, translator. She graduated from Interdisciplinary Individual Studies in the Humanities at the University of Warsaw. She studied directing at the Aleksander Zelwerowicz Theatre Academy. She is working on her PhD thesis at the Art Institute of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Her most recent performances are: “White Wedding” based on a play by Tadeusz Różewicz; “My First Vision” based on a short story by Sławomir Mrożek, “How to Be Loved” written by Agnieszka Jakimiak, “Kamasutra. The Study of Pleasure” co-writen with Bartosz Frąckowiak. Co-author and dramatist of the following projects: “In Desert and Wilderness. After Henryk Sienkiewicz and Others” and “Komornicka. The Ostensible Biography”. In the season 2005-2006 the actress of the Warsaw physical theatre Studium Teatralne. The author of a series of lectures “Scena powidoków. Pamięć w teatrze” (Teatre Institute in Warsaw, 2009). She has collaborated with several cultural and art magazines including “Dialog”, “Didaskalia”, “Teatr”, “Res Publica Nowa”, “Ha!art”, and “Dramatika”.

Agnieszka Jakimiak
Dramatist and essayist. Studied Interdisciplinary Individual Studies in the Humanities at the University of Warsaw and Dramaturgy at the Faculty of Directing of the Theatre Academy in Krakow as a theatre and film critic. She has cooperated with such directors as: Radosław Rychcik (“Phantom Pain”), Katarzyna Szyngiera (performances: “War Is Satan”, “The Bus is Going”), Weronika Szczawińska (“How to Be Loved”). In November 2011 she directed performed reading of “Voices in the Night” by Stanisław Brzozowski at the Theatre Institute, which was presented in Warsaw and Krakow. She published in the following magazines: “Dwutygodnik”, “Didaskalia”, “Kino”, “Res Publika Nowa”, and “Ha!art”.

Lidia Zamkow
Directress, actress, and dramatist.  Before the war she studied medicine. She started performing onstage in 1944. In 1946, she passed an extramural exam for actors at the Polish Stage Artists Association and two years later she graduated from Directing at the Theatre Academy in Warsaw. In 1949 she started working for the Juliusz Słowacki Theatre in Krakow, where she was both an actress and a directress. From 1953-54, she ran the Wybrzeże Theatre in Gdansk and in 1954-57 she performed and directed at the Polish Army Theatre (currently the Dramatic Theatre) in Warsaw. After that she cooperated with the Stary Theatre in Krakow for a few years and directed at the Studio Theatre in Warsaw. In 1950-1953 she was a lecturer at the Theatre Academy in Krakow.

Natasza Aleksandrowitch
Theatre and TV actress (Born in 1984). She studied acting, pedagogy and philosophy. After graduating she started collaborating with the Theatre in Rostov-on-Don (Russia). She made her debut there as Rosaura in the performance “Life is a Dream” by Pedro Calderon de la Barca. She has performed the works of Alain Resnais, Marguerite Duras, and Weronika Szczawińska, among others. She is an avid collector of pots.

Piotr Wawer jr
Theatre and film actor (Born in 1983). He collaborates with the Jerzy Szaniawski Theatre in Wałbrzych, Łaźnia Nowa Theatre in Krakow and Teatr Studio in Warsaw. A graduate of the Actors Studies conducted at the Stefan Jaracz Theatre in Olsztyn. Winner of the Jan Świderski Award and the award for actors at the 8th “Rzeczywistość przedstawiona” (Portrayed Reality) Festival for his role of the Heavy in the performance “Once upon a Time there were Pole, Pole, Pole and a Devil” (dir. Monika Strzępka). Played the main role in the film “Made in Poland” by Przemysław Wojcieszek. Took part in Television Theatre productions, and as a child he performed in the film “Two Moons” by Andrzej Barański. A freedriver, holder of the Polish record in of the disciplines of this sport.