National Theatre, Warsaw
photo The National Theatre Archive
The National Theatre was founded in 1765 by Stanisław August Poniatowski, the last king of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. Over the 250 years of its existence, the Theatre has repeatedly changed its character, organisational structure and – in the Period of Partitions – its name. The building that houses the Theatre has suffered five fires. After its last reconstruction and reopening in 1996, Jerzy Grzegorzewski laid the foundations for the present National Theatre, re-forming its ensemble of actors.
In 2003, Jan Englert was appointed the National Theatre’s artistic director. Englert retained the work of his predecessor in the repertoire (Grzegorzewski had directed plays here until his death in 2005), turning the theatre into a forum for a range of different aesthetics and artistic visions. Over the following nine years Jerzy Jarocki became the principal director, but the National’s stage also saw the Warsaw debuts of young talent (Maja Kleczewska, Michał Zadara) as well as the work by directors of the middle generation (Agnieszka Glińska, Piotr Cieplak) and of veterans (Maciej Prus). The Theatre also hosts productions by international directors and is giving increasing exposure to the work of Jan Englert.