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Teatroterapia Lubelska Foundation, Poland

Sylwia Śmigiel
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Description
Information about institution: 

Director and creator of Theatretherapy Foundation is Maria Pietrusza Budzyńska, key personnel: Aleksander Budzyński, Jolanta Grabowska, Grzegorz Kata, Iwona Malinowska, Zofia Radomska, Irmina Szumiło, Grzegorz Sekmistrz, Aleksandra Wołoszyn, Zbigniew Wróblewski.

The Theatretherapy Foundation in Lublin (Fundacja Teatroterapia Lubelska) was founded by Maria P. Budzyńska on October 30th 2008. The Foundation is based on her many years of teaching and theatrical experience from Juliusz Osterwa’s Theatre where she in 1995 founded Workshop Therapy.

Between 1995-2010, with a group of 25 people with intellectual disabilities, Maria P. Budzyńska realized 15 shows that were described by mass media, academics and theatre’s critics as meaningful performances, both because of the actors' performances as well as the stage implementation and controversional screenplays, which were breaking the stereotypical views on disabled people.

In 2004 Theatrotherapy’s actors staged “Hamlet”, directed by Krzysztof Babicki – one of the greatest directors of contemporary Polish theatre, and this production was hailed as the most important cultural event of 2004 in Lublin, precisely because of the participation of Theatrotherapy’s actors.

Workshop Therapy is reimbursed by the State Fund for Rehabilitation of Disabled People, which started to form in Poland at the beginning of the 80's, and serves as an innovative form of rehabilitation of disabled people. Theatretherapy is an art and craft, and can be viewed as a tool for inner growth, development and enrichment of personality. Workshop Therapy formed after the initiative of teachers with the support of the Juliusz Osterwa's Theatre manager and the Department of Culture and National Heritage.

About 25 people from 19 to 35 years old attend Workshop Therapy classes on a daily basis where they work according to the programs of the original therapist. Many of them are actors, teachers, musicians, artists and specialists in other disciplines.

Performing on a stage may give a feeling of success, which is a rare feeling for people with disabilities. The acceptance, the cheers and the tears on the audience's faces are a strengthening experiences not only for the Workshop Therapy's actors, but also for their families.

To give those who are often rejected and misunderstood by society the possibility of part taking in a theatrical piece is the primary purpose of theatretherapy - social rehabilitation. A disabled person may exceed his limits and earlier bad experiences. With the support of the group, family and therapists he belongs to, he achieves a new quality of life.

The Theatretherapy Foundation was given an award from the Polish President.

The most important projects:

Among the important Theatretherapy events and projects one needs to include an annual theatrical release held at the Dramatic Theatre, as well as on the streets of Lublin and other cities in Poland. The premiere is accompanied by events and photographic exhibitions, such as the "(Not) normal” billboard photo exhibition, presented in the city’s urban area.

Since 2007 Theatretherapy has participated in The Night of Culture – a celebration of culture in Lublin where the artists perform their plays next to other superb theatrical groups from Lublin. It is also a part of the Lublin’s European Capital of Culture application.

Since 2005 Theatretherapy has organized DOMINO (International Theatrical Premieres of People with Disabilities) which is a festival where the finest theatres from all over Europe travel to Lublin to show their creative activities.

For the last 15 years at the International Bienalle Therapy and Theatre in Lodz, Theatretherapy has confronted and shared its experience in theatre creation to a fine group of researchers and practitioners from Poland and around Europe.

Objectives: In theatrehterapy a certain idea is being realized - an idea expressed in the manifesto of the mentally disabled people who are working within theatre: "we have the right to create and participate in culture and art of the theatre, and the wholesome place of the life of our city, our country and our world by the recognition that we feel the same way as all normal people".

Plans: Cooperating with disabled people in Berlin, Minsk (introduction of theatretherapy methods), Rotterdam.

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