Culture Lab

June, 2020
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The Participatory
Action Research

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9th April 2021No Comments

The Intergenerational City Patrol podcast

Intergenerational Urban Patrol is a performative group of Warsaw residents who have come together to use artistic language to address the current social and political situation in Warsaw, Poland and the world. Common practices of mindfulness, improvisation, experiences, workshops with experts in the process of regular meetings led the collective to create a 4-episode podcast about a city as extraordinary as never before and as extraordinary as always.

The Intergenerational City Patrol podcast is the result of a 2-month online workshop during Pandemic (in the months of March to May 2020). It is written by members and writers of the Intergenerational Urban Patrol.

Trailer of the podcast below (audio recorded in polish):

Full podcast accessible via: Anchor, Spotify, YouTube.

16th March 2021No Comments

Scenarios for the Future – online theatrical workshops

Imagine that work is a person. What do you want to ask her?


What does work actually stand for? 

What does the slogan „working” mean?

Will you occupy my days and give me sleepless nights?

What part of you is really true?

What are your plans towards me?

Do I need you for a happy/satisfying life?

How can I make it up with you?

Will you take my life from me?

Will you destroy me as a human?

Will I be content with you?

What good do you have for me?

Is it possible to go crazy with you?

Do you want to help or hinder me?

What exactly are you?

Will we work well together?

Do I have to get up so early for you?

Will you satisfy me?

Does spending half of life with you have to most often be associated with weaker contact between loved ones and lack of time for them?

Does my attitude to you change with time?

This is one of the tasks that we performed during the "Scenarios of the Future" workshops for young people about work and working. The job category is a common aspect of life for most of us. “Future scenarios” are designed to recognize, explore and tame it. During the process we consider what it means to work in the 21st century. We create space for the exchange of work-related experiences. We consider our beliefs and values ​​that we hear at home.

What is being said about working in your immediate vicinity? What is the role of work in human life? How will the future work look like? How do you see yourself at work after school, after college? And if not work, then what?

We analyze these and many other questions through various theatrical tools such as voice, text, body, sound, space, object and movement. We look at ourselves, discover or deepen our potential and skills both from our’s and the group’s perspective . With the participants we want to analyze the notion of work to gain a more complex view than what is based on experiences from home, close environment and the media. We want to expand this picture and encourage people to make choices based on their values, needs and resources, and to think boldly about themselves and their future. 

During the lockdown we invited high school classes to online workshops. We continued to use the tools of theater and performance, but in a different way, through the medium of the screen and web applications, which allowed us to engage young people in discussion, reflection and action. Despite the online live contact, we managed to establish relationships and creatively and actively develop the category of "work".



8th March 2021No Comments

THE ISLAND – on-line Zoom performance from home

Premiere of the Island took place in June 2019. The plot of the performance is set in the atmosphere of an impending catastrophe, emergency state, urgent decision making. Coincidence, future prediction... Here we go - Year 2020. The story of the Island partly became real. In 2020 the performance was planned for autumn. Two weeks before the show the government announced that theaters would be closed due to the pandemic. Against these odds we made the decision to bring the Island experience online.
Visual and interactive parts play a key role in the live version, so Island on Zoom was quite a challenge for us as time was limited. We were keen on creating a special atmosphere on Zoom. For this purpose we used objects, lights, music, video, precise direction of zoom’s windows. Additionally we assigned a special role - a host-performer, person that welcomes and explains Zoom's navigation to the audience.
This performance was a unique experience of inducing a state of a performative presence in our private houses without the physical presence of the spectators. Sensing the team at a distance, improvising and making on-line choreography with objects on Zoom.
We consciously divided the performance into visual and interactive parts. Our experience shows that this combination really works. Engagement of the public is crucial for us - it takes the viewer beyond the usual experience of watching, it gives the feeling of closeness on-line, making the experience real and making the on-line theater magical.


8th March 2021No Comments

online laboratory and performance research – Fears of Everyday Life

How many cans of cola does hope take? Is a common catastrophe our greatest victory or our greatest defeat? What body position is needed to alleviate the world's fears? What protects you? Are you taking up the challenges? How to calm you down? Do you have any question? You know the answer? These and other questions were asked by the Young Theater and Social Laboratory during the online laboratory and performance research under the slogan FEARS OF EVERYDAY LIFE.
The fears of everyday life
World, country, estate, road, floor, room, human, body, mask, known, unknown, change.
Closeness, touch, air, smell, known, unknown, change.
I feel.
I don't feel.
I want to.
I don't want to.
I can.
I can not.
Known, unknown, change – meaning?

23rd February 2021No Comments

How to make new creations and experience community together?

In recent years, a unique flow of creative work has emerged in work of the community gathered around the Association of Theater Pedagogues. Combining the experience of meeting: being with each other, exchanging personal experiences and accompanying each other in a circle, with the act of joint creation of a work to which viewers can be invited.
The process itself is life-giving. It helps its participants to live better, face difficulties more easily, experience support and closeness of others who are in somewhat similar and slightly different situations. Creators, artists, craftsmen and freelancers often lack such stable environments in which they can experience development.
On the other hand, the creation - a show, performance or podcast - allows you to process the dense material of real life in order to gain a new perspective, strengthen the sense of agency and influence on the course of your life (especially when in a pandemic everything flows around even more acutely than before).
The Boys Performative Group has been meeting in the circle for over a year in order to start creating a performance about masculinity together. During the Divers and Astronauts Festival, 2 creative moderated circles took place. For a group of Makers, craftsmen who often work and face the big challenges of their workshop alone. And a creative circle for creators ‘Without significance’ aimed at capturing what is live in the group, stimulating exchange and deeper inspiration.
We feel that the creative circle is a highly valuable method of work in which we respond to the hot challenges of XXI Century. To the experience of alienation and loneliness during the pandemic in a postmodern network society where we are separated by millions of screens from each other. But it’s a response also also for the challenge of creating something that has meaning together under these conditions. And how to communicate between our micro-bubbles in which we live.
Photos below come from rehearsals during which The Boys Performative Group created a performance based on its work in a circle on masculinity and shared experience.
Photos and text created by: Paweł Ogrodzki

23rd February 2021No Comments

Experience of creative circles ind the spectacle on sensitive masculinity

Before our performance came to be, before The Boys Performative Group was formed, a bunch of men started meeting every week for a couple of hours. They would sit on the floor, in a circle and talk about manhood and its hardships. They shared their experiences of being socialized as boys. They talked about toxic masculinity. They wondered what it means to be a man in a semi-peripheral country. And soon... they would talk just about everything: their parents, sex, spirituality, relationships, work, and how much each of them earned. And it wasn't just talking – the men cried together, embraced each other, sat in silence, played basketball, improvised, sang, danced, lay on the floor, and ate, together.
And that is how the performance We wanted to talk about manhood, and we became friends was created.
I was one of those boys who had difficulties with their male identity. For a long time I’d rather speak of myself as “a person” rather than “a guy”. The identity of a guy didn’t sit well with me. This was changed by group therapy and by our guys' support group. Our empathetic men’s circle was full of emotional stories about repressed, cursed, stigmatized masculinity. These stories were also told through improvisations – with speaking, with movement, solo, and in groups. It was a months-long process of seeing one’s reflection in other guys and their lives. Of receiving and giving back.
The performance was built from our stories, our feelings, our beating hearts, and the tears we shed. We employed improvisation, free flow of ideas, and, finally, conversations where we shared how each of us felt about these artistic challenges. Three of us expressed a desire to be a director, but everyone was involved in the creative process. I remember these moments during rehearsals when the room was simply teeming with our collective creative energy. Everyone threw in ideas, comments, inspirations, solutions, and then all of a sudden we’d have created another scene. Nothing compares to my excitement and joy from this process. Here we were, a group of very different men who teamed up to create – often through heated debates – emotionally impactful scenes, joined in some sort of a frenetic dance. There was a fire burning inside of us that warmed the audience during the shows.
We didn’t expect the audience to react the way they did. Moments when we touched and embraced each other caused anxiety, even among seemingly “progressive” people. Somehow, radical leftists couldn’t bear this man-to-man tenderness, this tender masculinity, intimacy going beyond patriarchal norms. Each show ended with an hour-long conversation with the audience who finally had an opportunity – despite there being two interactive segments in the show – to share their feelings, opinions, and confessions about their male friends, fathers, and brothers.
We hang on what people say, and what they write in the chat – the performance takes place on Zoom, so everyone can share their admiration or disappointment about what's going on in real time. The last audience member says something to the camera and we say goodbye. But it isn’t over.
Our performance comes to life and brings hope.
It isn’t over, because there are two messages in our inbox: one person calls our performance vulgar, the other is outraged that nobody warned them about homosexual themes. We’re in this together. We support a queer person who is in our group and whose monologue about an unsupportive father was part of the show. We feel strong.
Joy. We feel joy. Satisfaction. Relief.
It’s time to rest. To dance. To lie down. Breathe. Robert. Tomek. Kamil. Paweł. Mateusz. Marcel. Grzesiek. Wojtek. Julian. Przemek. Mak.
Your names are those of feelings.
Text author: Tomasz Gromadka

16th February 2021No Comments

“We wanted to talk about manhood – we became friends” – online live performance

Couple of guys, more or less known to each other, but mainly unknown, formed a group - man circle. To talk about masculinity - what is it? Is it an essential category? We were a bit jealous of women because we knew they had already worked those topics out and they know what they want indeed and who they are. And we are a mile behind.
We started to talk to each other. We shared food, we gave each other safety. We talked about growing up, school, relations with parents. About abuse, dreams and sex. About being a boy and a guy in Poland. We created this space of intimate exchange, support, tenderness and vulnerability. Our performance shows where this group process took us. It is made from our words, touch and being together. We share our stories. We talk about what happened between us during this year.
“We wanted to talk about manhood - we became friends” is an innovative theatrical-performative project in which a group of men creates play about the experience of being a man. It is based on collective meetings and sharing personal stories of childhood, growing up and adulthood.
In our work we treat manhood as an intellectual concept which we deconstruct and reconfigure anew. We look at anxiety, violence, abuse, sense of community, sexuality and their connections to our diverse experience of masculinity. We consider the impact on modern men of traditional patriarchal and often toxic forms as well as of new versions of masculinity: open and adaptable which doesn’t require to be alfamale and gives total freedom in becoming who one wants to be. Our performance was collectively directed by three persons which is a good example of cooperation in opposition to extreme individualism so common in polish theatre which is a direct result of patriarchal values.

We enclose trailer:

creators // t w ó r c y _ c z y n i e:
THE BOYS PERFORMATIVE GROUP / Grupa Performatywna Chłopaki:
Rafał Aleksin
Robert Bigus
Kamil Błoch
Tomek Gromadka
Tomek J. Krynicki
Wojtek Mejor
Paweł Ogrodzki
Grzesiek Ryczywolski
Mateusz Wądrzyk
Marcel Bird-Wieteska
Julian Zubek
guest starring // z gościnnym udziałem:
Karolina Micuła
media and technical support // multimedia i obsługa techniczna:
Tomasz MakGajwer Grabowski
costumes // konsultacja kostiumograficzna:
Monika Skomra
music and sound // muzyka i dźwięki:
Aleksandra Badurska
Przemek Pstrongowski

26th January 2021No Comments

Online Performance ‘Lessons of Resistance’

April 2019. Polish teachers start a nationwide strike. Those who join the strike break the school system to a half. The society is divided. On one hand we have gestures of solidarity (supporting teachers in various ways) on the other - against acts of hostility (hate in social media). Teachers demand not only higher wages. The strike also stands for common values like dignity and demands the structural changes to the educational system.
Unfortunately, negotiations with the right-wing government fail. Support for the strike decreases among the society.
June. Summer break. The protest is suspended. Strike issues fade away. With the Covid-pandemia and the first lockdown the problems of the education system lose significance and fall into the background.
At this moment the Laboratory of Social Theater, a part of the Association of Social Pedagogues, starts working on a new performance about the strike - Lessons of Resistance.
We work using our own school memories and simultaneously collect teacher’s strike stories and transform them into pieces of art.
Scenario gets ready. The performance takes place in a former school building - located in the Center of Warsaw - the whole area is our stage.
Three weeks left to premiere.
November. The government bans all live public performances.
What should we do? Brainstorm. Decisions. Let’s do it on Zoom platform.
None of us know how. We do it for the first time. Euforia, trust, cooperation, compassion blends with doubts.
Time goes by. Common lunches and quick walks with the dog between rehearsals. Gimbals. Gigabytes. Strike banners. Promotion tools. Dec. the 15th 2020, day of the premiere. Final recordings and last scenography production.
Please wait till the host will let you in.
More than a hundred participants join us in each of the three days of performing Lessons of Resistance. Audience listens to a story of the strike for over an hour and half, and stays with us way longer to share experiences after. Some teachers say: thanks for this sign of solidarity, we’ve been waiting for this kind of support. We are the school. We all.
The performance Lessons of Resistance was live transmitted on zoom platform. It has been screened in more than three hundred home computers, laptops or other electronic devices.