Why CENTRALA?

CENTRALA is a group of people creating plays that are innovative in every respect: from their aesthetic appeal to the relationship with the audience and the way they are produced.

- Michał Zadara
  • Photo by Krzysztof Bieliński

  • Photo by Krzysztof Bieliński

  • Photo by Oliwia Ziębińska

Founded in 2013 by visionary director Michał Zadara, CENTRALA is a Polish theater company unlike any other. To date they have created seven pieces that dismantle and reassemble the institutions required for art-making. CENTRALA's new ways of production, creation and presentation have resulted in collaborations with Warsaw's Modern Art Museum, the Warsaw Uprising Museum, the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, and a 24-hour kebab shop in Warsaw run by Yemeni immigrants. CENTRALA is a joint venture by Andergrand Media + Spektakle Agencja Artystyczna GAP

CENTRALA's Trajectory

  • Photo by Lea Mattausch

  • Photo by Krzysztof Bieliński

  • 2013

    CENTRALA is formed by Zadara and Wysocka to create innovative performances using unprecedented collaborations and processes. They begin collaboration on the text of CHOPIN WITHOUT PIANO.

  • March 23, 2013

    Their first piece, CHOPIN WITHOUT PIANO debuts at the Juliusz Słowacki Theatre in Kraków to rave reviews.

  • July 18, 2013

    All Were Turned Away premieres at the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw.

  • November 28, 2013

    10 Political Songs premieres at the Warsaw Museum of Modern Art.

  • April 11, 2014

    No Gravity debuts at the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw. This is the first CENTRALA piece directed and written by Barbara Wysocka, with no credit given to Zadara.

  • September 18, 2014

    A Primer, with text by Marian Falski, marks CENTRALA's debut at the Warsaw New Theater.

  • November 11, 2014

    Pupil premieres at the Zbigniew Raszewski Theatre Institute.

  • August 29, 2015

    Lilla Weneda by Juliusz Słowacki premieres at Teatr Powszechny.

Company Members

  • KRZYSZTOF BIELIŃSKI - PHOTOGRAPHY: Krzysztof was born in Warsaw in 1978. In addition to photographing theater performances with CENTRALA, he has also photographed some of the most important playwrights on leading Polish and European stages. More than just a document of CENTRALA performances, his photographs of Warsaw kebabs were an integral part of the production 10 Political Songs.

  • ARKADIUSZ BRYKALSKI - ACTING: Arkadiusz was born in Szczecin in 1970 and studied acting and singing in Gdynia. After drama school, he performed in legendary Coast Theatre productions most notably as Walesa in the play Wałęsa: historia wesoła, a ogromnie przez to smutna, and in Krakow's Stary Teatr as Achilles in the play Iphigenia: the new tragedy. He has performed in every production with CENTRALA except CHOPIN WITHOUT PIANO.

  • ANNA CZERNIAWSKA - DRAMATURGY, PRODUCTION: Anna Czerniawska was born in 1983 in Szczecin. She graduated from the Theater Studies program at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan. She worked as literary secretary of the Contemporary Theatre in Szczecin, where she also administered educational programming and promotion. She has worked in theater in San Cristobal de las Casas in Mexico, the Jewish Theatre in Warsaw, and has collaborated in the Malta Festival. With CENTRALA she works as dramaturg, producer, and sound and light designer.

  • JAN DUSZYŃSKI - MUSIC, TRAILERS: Jan was born in 1976 in Warsaw and studied composition at the Warsaw University of Music and the Juilliard School of Music. His music, written for film and theater directors such as Władysław Pasikowski, Agnieszka Glińska, Piotr Cieplak, Krzysztof Warlikowski and Krzysztof Garbaczewski, is performed by top classical musicians, With CENTRALA he writes music and directs the company's trailers.

  • ALLEN KUHARSKI - TEXT: Allen Kuharski is a professor in the Department of Theatre at Swarthmore College in Philadelphia. In his directing, dramaturgy and theater history classes, he has educated many artists today in the most vital phenomenons of American theater, and his texts on theater and literature have been published in the USA, Great Britain, Poland, France, the Netherlands, Austria, and Norway. His ideas, concepts and texts help create CENTRALA performances even before their premieres.

  • MARTA KUŹMIAK - MANAGEMENT & PRODUCTION: Born in 1983 in Lower Silesian Lubin, she studied journalism and cultural animation in Wrocław and theater studies at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow. After graduating, she worked in educational outreach, fundraising, and production in theaters in Wrocław, Krakow and Bielsko-Biała, She also worked as a promoter of cultural exchange between Poland and Europe, and coordinated international art projects, working closely with Argentinians, Norwegians, Russians, Germans and Spaniards. She produces, coordinates, negotiates and plans everything for CENTRALA.

  • ROBERT RUMAS - SET DESIGN, CONSTRUCTION, PAINTING: Robert Rumas was born in 1966 in Gdansk, where in 1991 he completed study in painting at the Academy of Fine Arts. His works of art have been exhibited in Warsaw, Lodz, Bonn, Stockholm, Moscow, Vienna, Berlin, and Hamburg. For CENTRALA, he has designed and built the sets for 10 Political Songs, A Primer, Pupil, and Adventure Warsaw.

  • ARTUR SIENICKI - LIGHTS, VIDEO: Born in 1975 in Warsaw, Sienicki graduated from the University of Warsaw with a degree in Psychology, The Warsaw School of Photography, and The National Film School in Lodz, Department of Cinematography. He designs light and video for the National Opera, the Wrocław Opera, the National Theatre, the Polish Theatre in Bydgoszcz, Polish Theatre in Wrocław, and the Stary Theatre in Krakow. He is the cinematographer for award-winning short films, feature films, documentaries and music videos. He was the cameraman for Raid, and has designed light and video for the CENTRALA performances CHOPIN WITHOUT PIANO, All Were Turned Away, Szapocznikow: State of Weightlessness / No Gravity, A Primer, Pupil, and Adventure Warsaw.

  • AREK ŚLESIŃSKI - COSTUMES, DESIGN, CONSTRUCTION: Born in 1988 in Zory, he is a graduate of the Art History Department at the University of Wrocław. He has collaborated with Krystian Lupa, Michał Zadara, and Martha Górnicka, among others. From 2011, he assisted Julia Kornacka with the costumes for Adventure Warsaw directed by Michał Zadara, Medeamaterial directed by Barbara Wysocka, and Mythologies directed by Paul Swiatek. With CENTRALA he prepared costumes for the performances All Were Turned Away, A Primer, Pupil, and Adventure Warsaw.

  • BARBARA WYSOCKA - PERFORMER, TEXT: Born in 1978 in Warsaw, Wysocka graduated from the Acting and Directing Departments of the Theatre Academy in Krakow. Previously she studied violin at the Hochschule für Musik in Freiburg, Germany. She has performed and directed at the Stary Teatr in Krakow, the Polish Theatre in Bydgoszcz, Scena STU Theatre in Krakow, Wrocław Contemporary Theatre, the Polish National Opera in Warsaw, and the Maxim Gorki Theater and Schaubühne am Lehniner Platz in Berlin. She has starred in the films Am Ende kommen Touristen, Nachmieter, Polnische Ostern, and Fremde Farben. She has also directed at the National Theatre in Warsaw and the Kammerspiele in Munich. She won the Polityka Passport Award in 2009. With CENTRALA, she has performed in CHOPIN WITHOUT PIANO, All Were Turned Away, 10 Political Songs, Szapocznikow: State of Weightlessness/No Gravity, A Primer, Pupil, and Adventure Warsaw. She is also the screenwriter and director of the play Szapocznikow: State of Weightlessness / No Gravity.

  • MAGDALENA ZADARA - DESIGN, TRANSLATION, IT: Zadara was born in 1990 in Frankfurt am Main. She is a distinguished graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw and Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London. In 2015 she designed interfaces and organized the MCE 2015 conference and a meeting for designers called "Design Practice." Magda is responsible for all of CENTRALA's visual communication and its website.

  • MICHAŁ ZADARA - DIRECTOR, TEXT: Michał Zadara, born in 1976 in Warsaw, is a graduate of an international high school in Vienna, the Departments of Political Science and Theater at Swarthmore College, and the Directing Department of the Theatre Academy in Krakow. He has created some fifty performances, installations, and independent films in Poland, Austria, Germany, Israel and the US. In 2013, he founded CENTRALA so that together with a team of creative, independent artists and administrators he could create works beyond institutional norms.

  • OLIVIA ZIĘBIŃSKA - LOGISTICS, DOCUMENTATION, DESIGN: Olivia Ziębińska was born in Warsaw in 1980. She graduated from the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan. As a graphic designer and illustrator, she has devoted years to designing materials for theaters, and drawing and editing comics. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including the anthology Polish Female Comic - Double Portrait. She designs visual materials for CENTRALA.

Michał Zadara

  • Poster by Studio Temeprowka

  • Poster by Michał Zadara

  • Photo by Kornecki Ryszard

  • Photo by Łukasz Gawroński

  • October 19, 1976

    Michał Zadara is born in Warsaw.

  • 1980's-1990's

    Zadara is educated in American schools in Frankfurt-am-Main and Vienna while his parents work abroad. A native speaker of Polish, Zadara adds French, German, and English to his roster of known languages.

  • 1996

    Directs his first play in Poland: a translation of Eric Bogosian's Drinking in America at Studio Buffo in Warsaw

  • 1999

    Graduates from Swarthmore College with a double major in Theater and Political Science.

  • 2001

    Returns to Poland to begin studies with the Directing Department at the Krakow Theatre Academy.

  • November 20, 2005

    Premieres Juliusz Slowacki's Father Marek at the Stary Teatr in Krakow. He wins an award for the Best Staging of European Old Literature in Warsaw for this production. Barbara Wysocka plays Judyta in her first collaboration with Zadara.

  • January 4, 2006

    Directs Racine's Phaedra starring Wysocka as Aricia, the first of his two significant productions of Racine.

  • 2006

    Completes an English translation of of Kochanowski's Dismissing the Greek Envoys for use as supertitles in an international Polish festival production starring Wysocka as Cassandra. Wins distinction for Innovative Approach to Staging at the 32nd Polish Classics Theatre Conference in Opole, Poland.

  • 2007

    Receives the Polityka Theater Passport award, the most prestigious cultural prize in Poland.

  • June 27, 2008

    Directs Racine's Iphigenia (which had no previous record of performance in Poland) at the Stary Teatr in Krakow with a significantly modernized text. Wysocka plays the title role. The production wins the Grand Prix award for directing and set design by a young artist.

  • May 8, 2009

    Directs Mikołaj Rej's 1549 The Merchant at the Stary Teatr.

  • September 10, 2009

    Tours a production of Witold Gombrowicz's Operetta, performing at the Wilma Theater for the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival. This is Zadara's first production performed in the United States since graduating from Swarthmore College.

  • 2013

    Founds CENTRALA with Wysocka.

  • February 15, 2014

    Premieres Adam Mickiewicz's Forefathers' Eve parts I, II, IV, and Phantom at the Polish Theatre in Wrocław. Zadara will be the first director to stage this text in its entirety, without cutting any of the original text, when all parts will be performed in 2016.

Pew Center for Arts and Heritage Culture.PL Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia CENTRALA FringeArts Swarthmore College