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Varsovians: Grzegorz Laszuk

Grzegorz Laszuk

A cofounder of one of the most interesting theatre groups – Komuna Warszawa. The crowdfunding campaign for the two upcoming plays ends in a few days. Many institutions, associations, publishing houses from all Warsaw joined and donated their prizes. It is a very elevating form of solidarity of the cultural society. On Thursday in Studio Bar (9th November, 9 PM) a karaoke concert will take place during which the rest of the funds will be raised.

If you had a chance to conduct a reform of theatres in Warsaw what would you do?
– We need a wider debate with theatre people and reflection on what is important for the audience who values ambitious, demanding repertoire. Because entertainment is doing really great. I don’t see any point in subsidising theatres with commercial repertoire which sells very well. I’d vote for six or seven flag scenes which would be subsidised with significant donations from the city: the Nowy Theatre, TR Warszawa, Studio, Powszechny plus good theatres for children and teenagers.

We would like to create our own, more flexible institution, a production house similar to those already existing in Europe: Kampnagel in Hamburg, Hebbel am Ufer in Berlin, Kaserne in Basel. These are the places where mainstream culture mixes with alternative, where young artists with more ambitious repertoire have a chance to shine. They have a possibility to make a smooth transfer from clubs, basements of the alternative scenes to big institutions.

This is already happening at Komuna Warszawa – we gave a chance to younger generation of contemporary dancers. Marta Ziółek, Iza Szostak, Weronika Pelczyńska – these are the ones who made their debuts at Komuna Warszawa. Wojtek Ziemilski plays on the big scenes of the Nowy Theatre or Studio and he began with us.

Komuna has its headquarters on the right side of the Vistula river. This week a debate “What’s up with culture?” takes place in the Museum of Praga. So tell me what’s up with this culture in Praga?
– I am engaged in the works of the Revitalisation Committee as a representative of the social party for culture.

All the world is talking about how to revitalise and not to fall into a trap of development gentrification. We have to learn on our mistakes. When working on the backyards, with local residents we saw reefs of such activities. Unfortunately, we were the next group of artists, fair-weather activists who showed up in these streets and suddenly disappeared. People here are not interested in culture, they wanted to know what will happen to their tenement houses, will they be forced to move out.

Together with the coalition of local non-governmental organisations we have been creating our programme as a long-term process. First we enter the backyards, we make things together, and the last step is educating activists and helping them in creating local centres. We have gained their trust, done things together and taught them something. We stop in the most meaningful moment because there won’t be any competition for donations for NGOs.

What would you show to those who visit the right bank of the river? Which route would you show them?
– The Skaryszewski Park for sure. At night, at dawn, in winter, in summer – the most beautiful park in Warsaw. Than we would go in Kamionek – because it has been constantly undergoing some changes, so there are some of the old climates, and sometimes quite new, well designed buildings. And on the way some nice cafes and restaurants. I have to visit some of these new places myself because they lure with attractive signboards and smells.

Photo: Filip Klimaszewski

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