„The History of the National Theatre” – anniversary publication

The History of the National Theatre, a series of books commemorating the National Stage’s 250th anniversary.

"The comprehensive history of the National Theatre has not been written yet. All the previous books on the subject were fragmentary and incomplete" says Tomasz Kubikowski, the Theatre’s dramaturge and the editor of the series. "Our publications is the first-ever complete documentation of the National Stage’s history. These books reveal ground-breaking conclusions that challenge conventional notions of the National Stage’s activity in different periods." The extensively illustrated, seven-volume publication summarizes the findings of three generations of scholars.

Zbigniew Raszewski
Bogusławski / volume 1

Zbigniew Raszewski
Bogusławski / volume 2

Bogusławski written by Zbigniew Raszewski is a classic study in the Polish theatre historiography. The two-volume story of the life and achievements of "the father of the national stage" is also a portrait of Poland’s culture at the times of its dependence on the neighbouring empires. The new edition of the monograph is accompanied by Patryk Kencki’s preface outlining the beginnings of the Theatre. The first volume is concluded by the events surrounding the Kościuszko Uprising. The second volume recounts Wojciech Bogusławski’s endeavours after the partitions of Poland – the history of acting successes as well as struggles with the notorious "X-s", a group of unfavourable critics. The book is accompanied by the afterword written by Magdalena Raszewska, who comments the monograph according to the current knowledge on Bogusławski.

Halina Waszkiel
Trudne lata. Teatr warszawski 1815–1868 / Hard Years. Theatre of Warsaw 1815-1868

Hard Years by Halina Waszkiel is the first monograph on the least known period of the National Theatre’s history, when it struggled to find its identity after the fall of the country. The institution lost its name, was housed in the new building and tried to deal with police terror. It supported the uprising and tried to survive its failure. However, even in the most adverse political conditions the Theatre remained "national" in character – the place where the Polish nation could study its own image.

Józef Szczublewski
Wielki i smutny teatr warszawski 1868–1880 / The Great and Sad Theatre of Warsaw 18681880

The Great and Sad Theatre of Warsaw by Józef Szczublewski is also a reissue of the classic work of the Polish theatre historiography. The study possesses remarkable literary qualities and covers the exceptional period in the history of the Theatres of Warsaw – the peak moment of "the era of stars": the turbulent careers of actors who faced downfalls and engaged in intrigues. Helena Modrzejewska and Alojzy Żółkowski were two actors that achieved great fame at the time. In the accompanying afterword, Agnieszka Wanicka comments this monograph in the context of present findings on the subject.

Maria Olga Bieńka
Od zenitu do zmierzchu. Teatr warszawski 1880–1919 / From Zenith until Dusk. Theatre of Warsaw 18801919

Maria Olga Bieńka’s From Zenith until Dusk presents the history of the Drama Team at Theatres of Warsaw at the turn of 19th and 20th centuries. As a result of occupants’ oppression the city was ruined and the artistic quality of performances suffered. The chronicle of creative successes and misfortunes interweaves with descriptions of colourful scandals and endless attempts to revive the institution in the state of decline. This period in the National Stage’s history ends in 1919, when the fire destroyed the theatre building.

Wojciech Dudzik
W poszukiwaniu stylu. Teatr Narodowy 1924–1939 / In Search of a Style. National Theatre 1924–1939

In Search of a Style by Wojciech Dudzik is a vivid account of the National Theatre’s activities in the interwar period, when it had to face artistic and economic crises. The author describes events surrounding the opening of the renovated institution, discussions on a programme and struggles of its successive directors – there were eight of them in the course of 15 years. The author rescues many brilliant premieres from oblivion.

Magdalena Raszewska
Teatr Narodowy 1949–2004

The National Theatre 19492004 by Magdalena Raszewska is a post-war history of the leading national stage, which documents its political entanglements – different roles and functions imposed by the state. The monograph contains the anthology of the Theatre’s founding documents as well as a number of lists and indexes (i.a., repertoires, acting teams and stages of the National Theatre in the years 1949-2004). The book was published on the occasion of the 240th anniversary of the institution and won the Theatre Book of the Year Prize in 2005.



    Feblik (Old Polish for an ‘infatuation’), surprising drama by Małgorzata Maciejewska received the Tadeusz Różewicz Drama Award. Premiere of the spectacle directed by Lena Frankiewicz: 14 June 2024. 


    After the well-received Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Sławomir Narloch returned to the National Theatre with another premiere – A Dream Play by Strindberg.



    King Lear may be Shakespeare's boldest examination of human nature. Jan Englert plays the title role. The tragedy directed by Grzegorz Wiśniewski. 


    Piotr Cieplak directs Waiting for Godot by Beckett. Is this a classic yet? Does it still have its avant-garde power? And, are we still waiting?


    To celebrate 230 years since Aleksander Fredro's birth, the National Theatre invites you to an evening dedicated to the life and works of Poland’s greatest comedy writer. 


    Vienna in economic crisis and its lost inhabitants; portrait of the society in which fascism is born. Małgorzata Bogajewska directs Ödön von Horváth's 1931 drama.


    The play by Thomas Bernhard, one of the most outstanding playwrights of the second half of the 20th century. In the title role – Jerzy Radziwiłowicz. 


    Have you ever quarreled with the Time or visited a forest where things have no names? The musical performance based on the famous novels by Lewis Carroll. 


    Jan Englert stages a classic play by Molière. What is Alcest's misanthropy: an uncompromising commitment to the truth or a doomed uprising against social conventions?


    Staging the most important novel by Polish Nobel Prize winner Olga Tokarczuk directed by Michał Zadara. 


    An iconic work of Polish cinema, rethought thirty-five years after its creation. Wojciech Faruga directs The Decalogue by Krzysztof Kieślowski and Krzysztof Piesiewicz. 


    Grzegorz Wiśniewski returns to the classic drama about human passions interwoven in a ruthless machinery of history and intrigue.


    Maciej Wojtyszko directs his own play about Baron von Münchhausen, a famous adventurer and swindler.

  • Solidarity with Ukraine | Солідарні з Україною

    The ensemble of the National Theatre stands in solidarity with the Ukrainians who are fighting for the independence of their homeland.


    Complicated love intrigues and music. Piotr Cieplak directs Twelfth Night, or What You Will, one of Shakespeare's most important comedies.


    The new theatrical version of the Australian prose classics directed by Lena Frankiewicz. In the role of Mrs Appleyard – Ewa Wiśniewska.


    Artur Urbański directs his own play which main character is Ruth Berlau, one of Bertolt Brecht's closest associates and life companions.

  • SNOW

    Staging of the Young Poland movement modernist drama by Stanisław Przybyszewski – Snow directed by Anna Gryszkówna.


    A theatrical version of the famous film by Ingmar Bergman directed by Grzegorz Wiśniewski. Danuta Stenka as Charlotte.


    How does evil arise that we do not understand?Mother Joan of Angles by Iwaszkiewicz directed by Wojciech Faruga. 

  • The National Theatre at Google Cultural Institute

    Virtual exhibition 250 Years of Teatr Narodowy (National Theatre of Poland) is available online at Google Cultural Institute.

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