5 days of Polish Theatre Residency

Saturday, July 5, 2014

From 5th until 9th of July Merseyside Polonia hosted Polish Theatre Residency - 5 days event with Polish theatre company Studio Matejka comprising theatre workshops, films screenings, discussion "Theatre.Why Poland?" and an unusual performance "Awkward Hapinness or Everything I Don't Remember About Meeting You". Polish Theatre Residency was also a part of Merseyside Polonia's biggest project - The Liverpool Polish Midsummer Festival - promoting the essence of Polish culture.

Merseyside Polonia July events kicked off with a visit from theatre company Studio Matejka who performed their physical theatre quartet “Awkward Happiness: or everything I don’t remember about meeting you” to audiences at The Bluecoat for two days.

The audience response was overwhelmingly positive:

 “It was breath-taking”

“Very powerful. As a prudish closed-off Brit it was very satisfying to experience such raw emotion vicariously!”, 

“Hypnotic and charged with energy”,

 “Physical, engaging. A piece of work that will stay with me”


Following this event the company travelled to the BE Festival in Birmingham where Awkward Happiness received a special mention from festival judges.

In addition to this the company offered a workshop in physical performance at Liverpool John Moores University participated in a heated debate about the origins and implications of Polish based theatre at the Bluecoat and showed several of their short films during the few days.

Merseyside Polonia and its volunteers also used the event to make The Bluecoat a little more Polska. During the few days of residency at the Bluecoat visitors had the chance to learn a little more about Polish culture with popular polish cartoon characters popping up around the garden, signs letting you know how far away you might be from famous Polish cities, quizzes and information about famous Polish people throughout history or information about the country for people who might want to visit.

Inspired by the theme of happiness explored in the show one of the volunteers Ania Ruchalska also asked Bluecoat visitors “What makes you happy?” Here are a few of the more than 100 inspiring answers they received.

“Happiness is… smiling children and fulfilment”

“Happiness is… thinking about things that make me happy!”


“Being in bed all day”

“Playing with my friends”

“Seeing my mum”


“Days off in the sunshine”

“Family, friends and travelling the world”

“Cheese and crackers”

“Beautiful red sunset”

“Meaningful activity with people I care about”

Generally the things people said made them happy didn’t seem to cost that much and were centred around other people, having time to reflect and enjoy life, and nature.

This discussion happened to coincide with a discussion about happiness on the Tony Snell show and project manager Aleasha Chaunte was able to share information about the show and happiness findings on BBC Radio Merseyside. (8 July 2014)

The Polish Theatre Residency was funded by Arts Council England, Polish Cultural Institute in London and supported by The Bluecoat, Liverpool John Moores University and Liverpool City Council.


Events in the residency:


5 (Saturday) & 6 (Sunday) July 10-4pm at Liverpool John Moores University:

Two-day workshop with the company for actors, dancers and students.

FILMS (Free Entry)

7 (Monday) -9 (Wednesday) July All day, at The Bluecoat:

Continuous showing of several short films made by the Studio in collaboration with Dog Docs. Drop in throughout the day to see them as well as how Bluecoat turns into Poland for the few days. 

More information at http://www.studiomatejka.com/#!films/cr64 


8 (Tuesday) & 9 (Wednesday) July 8pm, at The Bluecoat: 

Two performances of the company’s show: Awkward Happiness or Everything I Don’t Remember About Meeting You.  Inspired by Milan Kundera’s “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” and Pascal Bruckner’s “Perpetual Euphoria”. Studio Matejka explore the ideology of the quest for happiness. 

Within the private space of a relationship masks fall and reveal what is hidden in public: unvoiced questions, suppressed desires. What remains hidden in opens up an intriguing game of (mis)understandings about the "duty of happiness”.  

“…truly stunning moments of physical theatre” Clare Boswell The Public Reviews “the performers display incredible agility, grace and stamina” Swati Daftuar The Hindu

Booking: http://www.thebluecoat.org.uk/events/view/events/2239


9 (Wednesday) July 5.30pm at The Bluecoat: 

An introduction to the world of Polish theatre and its influence on work in the UK. With insights from the company, theatre academics and local performance practitioners we’ll explore the origins of Physical Theatre asking “Theatre. Why Poland?”


Photos taken by Carys Pritchard and Łukasz Sumyk 

Other News