Krakow Theatrical Reminiscences have been taking place since 1975. In 2003, the festival’s formula was altered, making it one of the most valued theatre festivals both in Poland and abroad. The continuous approval of our audience is very much a result of conscious and courageous artistic decisions that have been made as well as of attentive observation of what is most interesting, innovative and intriguing in theater in Poland and in the world.
The renown of the festival, as one of the oldest reviews of theatre in Poland, is associated with its reputation as a lively, evolving event that is continually looking for what is most original in theatre.
Formerly, the organizers’ interests were focused, above all else, on the phenomenon of the student theatre movement, which was especially important for the Polish theatre scene of the 70s and 80s. Under the directorship of Krzysztof Lipski and Alina Pięta, the festival became Poland’s most significant examination of achievements in Polish and global alternative theatre. Since it’s founding, Cracow Theatrical Reminiscences has been held every year with the exception of 1982, when it was cancelled due to martial law. It has been at the festival that the premieres of the most outstanding Polish troupes were regularly held, such as Osmego Dnia Theatre, Akademia Ruchu, Mandala Theatre, Komuna Otwock, Biuro Podrozy Theatre, Provisorium Theatre, Strefa Ciszy, Węgajty, Porywacze Ciał, Cinema Theatre and many, many more.
Since 2002, when the festival came under new direction, organizers have assumed important new guidelines in order to enlarge the arena of theatrical explorations, to which they invite viewers. One of the instigators of this change in the festival’s program was the new artistic director Lukasz Drewniak. The new management made a difficult but important decision to remove the adjective „alternative” from the festival name, as a symbolic gesture meant to highlight the departure from an orthodox genre of theatre. Reminiscences, like every good festival, should pulse with the dynamic rhythm of what is happening here and now. That’s why the selection of productions couldn’t be based anymore on the simple elimination of alternative – repertory, amateur – professional. The theatrical and cultural paradigm changed and, as a result, so did the formula for the festival’s program. Cutting itsself off from its’ roots, wasn’t what it was about. Rather it was an attempt to form a festival that used the same language that the theatre of Poland and the world was expressing itself in. It was on this premise that the themed editions of the festival were introduced in 2003. One of the most important aims of Reminiscences is the attempt, with the help of significant theatre artists, to highlight the current, burning issues from an, as yet unseen, intriguing point of view. This is possible when productions and other artistic activities, all connected by a common theme, equally create a consistent and coherent aesthetic and intellectual whole. The themed editions of the festival are responsible not only for bringing joy to the public watching the performances but also for posing difficult questions. And above all else, inviting all to lively discussions.