GARDENS OF THEATRE Conference, Gardzienice 2009


Centre for Theatre Practices „Gardzienice”

Gardens and gardens of theatre

Polish-Norwegian residencional exchange of theatres


On 24 October 2009 I’m organizing Polish-Norwegian conference entitled GARDENS AND GARDENS OF THEATRE. ()

It is ment to be the dialog of ideas concerning park palace complex belonging to Centre for Theatre Practices.

The aim of the conference is to picture different perspectives and diffrerent visions that the contributors may submit in favour of park complex development. It is about creative approach toward ideas.

I would ask to keep in mind that the vision of concieving the final effect is not only supposed to imply a historical reconstruction, but that the park complex functions as theatrical venue. It is a kind of great stage where respective fragments of the park with its attractions play - in natural way - their own parts.

They leave a mark on the viewer’s emotions and his sensitivity. Obviously I mean the environmental and architectural attractiveness (like in Japanese gardens), but strictly related to theatrical events that take place in those places of distinctive influence.

In order to underline the theatrical or even metaphysical function of the park I will use a qute from Mikhail Bakhtin:

All objects - the Sun, the stars, the Earthetc. are given to men not as objects of individual contemplation or selfness thought.

All objects are drawn by the motion of life, what makes them living partakers of its events. Those objects take part in the plot and they are not opposed to the actions as their passive background.

Włodzimierz Staniewski



The project was related to longstanding collaboration of two experimental theatres: Centre for Theatre Practices „Gardzienice” from Poland and Norwegian ensemble Stella Polaris. Both of them have grown from researching archaic and traditional cultures as well as natural enviromnent. For both of them cultural education is crucial. Starting point of joint project was ecology of theatre, an underlying idea of „Gardzienice” - relationship between art and natural environment. In consequence it was assumed that the project will take place where nature and gardens are in contact with art. Subject of reflection of the specialists participating in planned  events was the natural environment as inspiring force and significant element of theatre.

Fundamental point of the project was a mutual exchange of residences. Across four weeks each of theatres was hosted in its partner’s premises presenting gardens of its creative output (performances for wide audience) as well as gardens of cultural traditions underlying its artistic inspirations (exhibitions, movie projections).

Both theatres were operating an intensive educational activity by conducting series of workshops. Not only artists from both theatres took part in project events. Due to workshops, scholar session, public presentations and exhibitions, circle of viewers expanded by masses of organizers of culture from Poland and Norway as well as wider audience. Over 40 artists took part in this project and over 3000 viewers participated in all events.



Stella Polaris is the oldest street theatre group in Norway. It was founded in 1985 by Merete Klingen and Per Borg (since 2006 it has a status of public cultural institution). Stella Polaris operated projects inspired by cultural minorities and archaic cultures (Gypsies, Sami people, Maori people, African cultures, India, Bali etc.). The basic idea it is promoting is sharing a joy of spirit and energy flowing from interaction of people from different cultures. Stella Polaris theatre group played their performances all over the world. It is also engaged in educational projects. 



24 October 2009 in Gardzienice an international conference entitled „Gardens” took place on the topic of genius loci, estetics of landscape creation, relationship between natural environment and culture. In conference participated architects, landscapers, botanists,  as well as theatre arts  scholars and organizers of cultural activities. Polish and Norwegian parties were represented by i.a.:

  • Włodzimierz Staniewski, Director of „Gardzienice” Theatre
  • Per Borg, founder of Stella Polaris Theatre
  • Rainer Stange, Landscape Architecture professor and the owner of Dronninga Landskap AS
  • Karsten Jorgensen, Landscape Architecture professor, dean of Landscape Design Department of Norwegian University of Life and Sciences.



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