Between 18 and 29 June, the Malta Festival will transform Poznań into an outdoor stage powered by the audience and performers: circus artists, performance artists, actors, dancers, and musicians. The motto of the 31st edition is Back to the Ground, so we’re going back to our roots: to sitting on the grass and picnics, to jugglers, mimes and acrobats. It will be colourful and nostalgic. As always, there will be diversity and consistency: over the course of twelve days, we will see 143 events (136 admission-free) created by 612 artists, staged in 24 venues. You will find our festival village at the beautiful Wieniawski Park. Join us! We are pulling the best out of the Malta hat!
In our new series ‘Portrait of an Artist,’ we will present Milo Rau, the ‘most awarded’ and ‘most ambitious’ theatre director of our time. A major highlight is Projekt Krynicki, a concert performed by Paweł Mykietyn, Paweł Szymański and Alek Nowak, featuring Sinfonia Varsovia conducted by Bassem Akiki. Generator Malta will feature art engaged in the social contexts of earth/soil, including a fortress/installation which Ola Korbańska and Iwo Borkowicz will build from the soil of Wieniawski Park. The fortress will be a venue for projects from the field of art and activism. More outdoor events will include plays produced by companies like Komuna Waszawa, as well as the Forum, focused this year on movements of resistance. Finally, the festival will end with a concert by Jazz Band Młynarski-Masecki. Join us. It’s going to be exciting.
‘Portrait of an artist’ is Malta’s new international programming series. This year, it focuses on the work of Swiss theatre director Milo Rau, the head of the Belgian theatre NTGent. We will present his acclaimed performance La Reprise – Histoire(s) du théâtre (I) about the first murder in Belgium caused by homophobia. This will be staged in Aula Artis, whereas the director’s earlier plays, recordings and films, as well as meetings around his works will take place in Kino Pałacowe.
The green festival village in Wieniawski Park will provide a venue for performances produced by Komuna Warszawa, directed by Agnieszka Smoczyńska, Cezary Tomaszewski, Agnieszka Jakimiak and Anna Smolar. A show by Komuna Warszawa show, directed by Grzegorz Laszuk, will be staged in Teatr Polski. Furthermore, three European music scenes will be represented by artists from Berlin (Laura Lee & the Jettes, Jennifer Touch), Poznań (Izzy and the Black Trees, Shyness!) and Kiev (Gurt [Ò], Ofliyan). The music programme will also feature Karolina Czarnecka and the Skowronki Girls’ Choir, as well as Mela Koteluk, Kwadrofonik and the poetry of Krzysztof Kamil Baczyński. We will also see several premieres from theatres in Poznań, including Teatr Biuro Podróży, Usta Usta Republika, Teatr Muzyczny and the Polish Dance Theatre.
‘In Generator Malta, we will continue to reflect on the elements,’ says programme curator Joanna Pańczak. ‘This year, our motto is “The Anxious Land.” We will be looking at our relationship with land. We will be asking: What does it mean to have a right to land? Who holds this right and what does it mean to land and its (not only human) residents? What can we do to stop land’s anxiety?’ [https://malta-festival.pl/pl/program/generator/tekst-kuratorski]
The Generator Malta programme section titled Zaklepane/Ground Rules will feature Nic nie znika, jedynie zmienia miejsce (Nothing Disappears, It Just Changes Place), a fortress/installation built in Wieniawski Park by Iwo Borkowicz and Ola Korbańska. Here, they will declare independence and provide a venue for a group of residents who, for the past several weeks, have been looking at the issue of property from many different angles. The residents are Maria Dutkiewicz and Karolina Wajma, Edka Jarząb and Kolektyw Uskoki, Anna Kędziora, Luca Spano, Karolina Szczypek, Oriol Fuster Cabrera, Paula Kaniewska, make LARMO (Paulina Woźniczka, Weronika Krupa), and new visions (Margaret Amaka Ohia-Nowak, Agnieszka Bułacik). Ten days of autonomous ground hosting nine projects, workshops, discussions, installations and music.
Agnieszka Różyńska and a field group of young activists have been working on Kurs Miejskiego Relaksu (Training in City Leisure) in an allotment garden in the Winiary district of Poznań. The presentation of their outcomes will be accompanied by the music of the band Tęskno. We will also be in other areas. With artists Agnieszka Grodzińska and Magdalena Starska, we will visit the districts of Głuszyna and Krzesiny, where on 20 June we will organise Święto Fyrtli with neighbourhood events, including a concert by Fanfara Awantura, a picnic, a community sculpture and walks.
‘We consistently unite different worlds, we demonstrate how, merged by creative talent and the power of art, the less obvious things, those seemingly autonomous become available to all who are driven by curiosity. Our audience never lacks this curiosity. It’s going to be exciting!’ (for more information see Michał Merczyński’s and Dorota Semenowicz’s text about the programme)
We feel that the pandemic has revived our need to enjoy, to celebrate being together. From the virtual spaces of the past months, let’s go back to the ground and reclaim the earth under our feet.
See you at Malta! Let’s hit the outdoors!
PORTRAIT OF AN ARTIST: MILO RAU
Portrait of an Artist is Malta’s new international programme. The first presented artist is Milo Rau, one of the most highly acclaimed, but also one of the most controversial theatre directors in Europe. Milo Rau’s theatre is openly political, it is a theatre which investigates violence, both explicit and implicit. While the first focuses on various forms of crime, murder, homophobia and child abuse, the latter deals with violence beyond the borders of Europe: the Syrian War, violence in Africa, colonisation rights and the participation of the European state in the exploitation of Africa. Since 2018, Milo Rau has been the artistic director of the Belgian NTGent theatre company.
In Aula Artis, we will show Milo Rau’s play La Reprise, about a case of homophobic murder in Belgium. Furthermore, in Centrum Kultury Zamek we will present the director’s earlier performances, recordings as well as films, which he makes independently of his theatre projects. These will be accompanied by discussions, a roundtable about his work and meetings with the director and his collaborators: the playwright Eva-Maria Bertschy, actor Sébastien Foucault and programming director of NTGent Steven Heene, who will talk about how the theatre’s artistic manifesto works in practice.
The programme in Centrum Kultury Zamek includes: Just Asking, a screen version of Oscar Van Rompay’s and Peter Seynaev’s project, which in turn is an adaptation of the book The Interrogative Mood by Badgett Powell; Lam Gods, a play/portrait of Ghent, a tribute to its residents; The Congo Tribunal about the war in the region of the African Great Lakes; Five Easy Pieces performed by children about the paedophile Marc Dutroux; Orestes in Mosul – The Making of, an interpretation of Aeschylus’ Oresteia set in Mosul, where the rising of the Islamic State was proclaimed; and The New Gospel about a Cameroonian activist who starts a revolt at a tomato plantation in the south of Italy.
In the Poznań instalment of the School of Resistance, a series of international debates with activists about sustainability, queer-related topics and resistance against the big system, will explore LGBT issues (both in Poland and in the context of Milo Rau’s play La Repirse, which will be presented at the festival).
Projekt Krynicki is a special concert by three acclaimed Polish composers: Paweł Mykietyn, Paweł Szymański and Alek Nowak to poems by Ryszard Krynicki, one of the most important contemporary Polish poets.
Paweł Mykietyn will present an audial installation titled Miasto (City). Paweł Szymański has composed a short piece called Dwa wiersze Krynickiego (Two Poems by Krynicki) for vocal and instrumental trio to the poems That’s Your Problem and Cats, featuring Krzysztof Materna, Justyna Wójcińska and Magdalena Pikuła.
Aleksander Nowak has created I Symfonia – Prawda? (Symphony No. 1 – Truth?), which will be performed by Sinfonia Varsovia conducted by Bassem Akiki. As an encore, the orchestra will play Maurice Ravel’s Bolero accompanied by Mariusz ‘Wilk’ Wilczyński who will simultaneously create drawings and animate them live.
‘In Generator Malta we will continue to reflect on the elements,’ says programme curator Joanna Pańczak. She continues: ‘This year, our motto is ‘The Anxious Land’. We are looking at our relationship with land. We will be asking: what does it mean to have a right to land? Who holds it and what does it mean to land and its (not only) human residents? What can we do to stop land’s anxiety?’
The project Zaklepane/Ground Rules will feature Nic nie znika, jedynie zmienia miejsce (Everything changes, nothing disappears), a fortress Iwo Borkowicz and Ola Korbańska will build from the soil of Wieniawski Park. Here, they will declare independence. Here, you will meet a group of residents who, for the past several weeks, have been looking at the issue of property from many different angles.
Karolina Wajman and Maria Dutkiewicz will live in the fortress and invite you to visit their project Mój dom to mój dół (My Home is My Pit) and talk about the housing crisis. Edka Jarząb and kolektyw Uskoki will set up an independent radio station where they will broadcast programmes and DJ sets. Their project will end a rave. Anna Kędziora will open Kwiaciarnia (Flower Shop), a shelter for plants which she will rescue from concreted areas. Oriol Fuster Cabrera will turn the fortress into a Catalan pavilion where he will organise an all-day-long Polacos Party.
Furthermore, in his artistic intervention Sale at First Sight, Luca Spano will photograph parts of the fortress and put them up for sale online. Karolina Szczypek and her workshop group will aim to grant legal status to land in the project Czasami nie rozumiem kim jest ziemia (Sometimes I Don’t Understand Who Land Is). In Strefa wydobycia Poznań (Mining Zone Poznań), Paula Kaniewska will discover lignite deposits in the north of Poznań and will reflect on the consequences of the discovery with the residents. Make Larmo will investigate the relationship between people and soil in post-industrial areas in their project Hałda wulkaniczna ziemia (Volcanic Heap Soil). They will also focus on our favourite places and make flags for them during a screen-printing workshop. Finally, the new visions educational collective will invite you to a two-day workshop titled Ta ziemia nie należy do nas, to my należymy do tej ziemi (This Ground Doesn’t Belong to Us. It’s Us Who Belong to this Ground) where you will reflect on the practices of colonialism which are the reasons for the exploitation of land. Each of the residencies will open with Marta Jalowska’s address titled Queen of the Fortress.
For ten days, the autonomous ground of the Fortress will accommodate nine projects, several workshops, discussions and installations, as well as a lot of music.
As always, Generator Malta emphasises local connections. This year, it is involved in Kurs Miejskiego Relaksu (Training in City Leisure) with a field group of young activists who have been spending creative weekends with the users of an allotment garden in the Winiary district of Poznań. The project will end with a walk and a concert by Tęskno, whilst the outcomes will be presented in the form of a zine and book art. We will also visit the of Krzesiny and Głuszyna where we will organise neighbourhood events, including a picnic, bicycle trips, competitions, concerts and micro-excursions with Towarzystwo Krajoznawe Krajobraz.
MALTA STAGE: KOMUNA WARSZAWA
Komuna Warszawa returns to the Malta Festival. The successor of the former Komuna Otwock, one of the most interesting and expressive artistic groups from the turn of the 21st century. Currently, the group works both as a theatre and a production house.
‘The Malta Festival and Komuna Warszawa are almost the same age. For over the three decades of our theatrical life, we have been looking for the best forms of meeting the audience. With Komuna, we have been at Malta both as the audience and as artists,’ says founder of Komuna Warszawa, Grzegorz Laszuk.
In Wieniawski Park, we will see the play Cezary Goes to War, directed by Cezary Tomaszewski. This queer interpretation of Domestic Songs by Stanisław Moniuszko is a favourite at festivals worldwide. Agnieszka Jakimiak’s Wojna. The Best Of is a non-obvious collection of songs, also about war, in a new interpretation and arrangement by Kuba Ziołek. Another melodic hit is Święta Kluska (Holy Noodle), the theatre debut of Agnieszka Smoczyńska who, with her dream team: Robert Bolesto, Zuza Wrońska, Gosia Gorol, Piotr Trojan, Andrzej Konopka and Marcin Macuk, has created a breath-taking musical about the spiritual life of a female dog. The much quieter Holiday Resort is a disturbing melancholy drama by Anna Smolar about a gentle dystopia, where interactions between the holidaymakers are controlled by an overprotective corporation. The series of Malta presentations will begin a coproduction of Komuna Warszawa and Teatr Polski w Poznaniu, directed by Grzegorz Laszuk. Morderstwo (w) Utopii (Murder (in) Utopia) is a bloody antiutopian crime story set against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.
MALTA STAGE: OUTDOOR AND INDOOR PREMIERES
Malta’s theatre programme also features performances by artists, companies and cultural institutions from Poznań. Paweł Szkotak and Biuro Podróży return to the festival with the premiere of the pandemic themed Eurydyka, to be staged in the Old Slaughterhouse. Wojciech Kościelniak and Teatr Muzyczny will present Kombinat to music and lyrics by Grzegorz Ciechowski. The Polish Dance Theatre will appear with the premiere of Romeos & Julias unplagued. Traumstadt, whilst Luisa Mateo Dupleich Rozo and Monika Błaszczak will invite you to Święto Wiosny: Preludium (The Rite of Spring: Prelude). Jan Klata will present Red Noses at Teatr Nowy, which will also show Agata Bizuk’s Kalina. Furthermore, at Scena Robocza we will see Jak zupełnie zniknąć (How to Disappear Completely). Premieres in the open-air include Procesy (Trials) by Teatr Usta Usta Republika, Asocjacja 2006’s Wytrwać (Persist) and Poszukiwacze (The Seekers). Finally, the open-air musical show Trio Targanescu, czyli audiowizualni nomadzi (Trio Targanescu, or Visual Nomads) will contribute to the celebrations of the feast of St. Peter and St. Paul, the patron saints of Poznań.
MALTA STAGE: BACK TO THE ROOTS
This year, Malta will transform Poznań into an outdoor stage powered by the energy of its audience and the invited artists – circus artists, dancers and performers. Back to the roots! The programme will include performances for the young and the older viewers in Wieniawski and Moniuszko parks, actions and concerts scattered around the city, shown during the day and at night. Every morning, there will be dance and circus warm-ups on the grass, close to the ground, on ropes, with the wind and against it.
Outdoor performances will include full of adventures Skiiing odyssey, a cross-country run by a Czech group The Trick Brothers, as well as Dr Acrylicstein which depicts the twists and turns in the life of a scholar whose unconventional ideas will be shown by Kamil Dziliński. Kamil Malecki, a performer, will talk about vegetables in a family performance titled The Vegetable. The spirit of circus will be rendered in The Lost Things by Fundacja Sztukmistrze. Circus Ferus, in a street happening tiled Coaches of everyday life vol.2 The Pandemic!, will instruct us how to live during the pandemic. In an interactive show Silent Movie by Ewa Szawłowska, Monika Polaczek-Przestrzelska and Marcin Lemiszewski, we will move back in time to 1920s and see Princess Muzalinda meet Charlie Chaplin. Three groups, co-created by Michał Fetler – Koń, Fanfara Awantura, and a duo with Daniel Karpiński, will imbue the space longing for get-togethers with sounds and positive energy, elements of contemporary gipsy music, blues, modern jazz and psytrance. Their performance will be acoustic, without any sound system. In addition to morning dance warm-ups, there will also be an unique jam session – Grand re Union, a grand finale of Old Brewery New Dance which will be transmitted all around the world with the artists coming from San Francisco, Brazil, Berlin and Poland.
An installation inspired by the myth of Orpheus and Elfride Jelinek’s Shadows. Eurydice Speaks will be on display at Półwiejska Street. Kamilla Baar will be closed in a glass ball for 24 hours, observed by random passers-by.
Malta celebrates music diversity! European cities will be showcased on stage in Wieniawski Park. On the first weekend of Malta, 18th-20th June, we will hear the sounds from Berlin, Poznań and Kiev. Powerful, rock sensations will come from Laura Lee & The Jettes.Izzy and the Black Trees will play a mix of fiery punk and dirty americana, while Jennifer Touch will take us back on a journey to 1980s, mixing new wave with the best elements of Berlin techno. We will listen to neurotic, ethnic pop by Ofliyan and pop of the future performed by Gurt [Ò]. Girlish, girlie, female voices of Shyness!, Iwona Skwarek’s new project, will sing about the world of their dimmed sensitivity. During the concert of Karolina Czarnecka and Skowronki choir you will find out what happens when the women takes power, while Jazz Band Młynarski-Masecki will take us to the world of swinging, pre-war jazz. There will be something for poetry enthusiasts too – Mela Koteluk and Kwardofonik will play lyric songs from the album Astronomia poety. Baczyński. Join us if you want to jump, dance, sit, get enchanted and let your thoughts wander around. Silent disco in the evening is a must! Let’s dance together in Wieniawski Park.
FORUM: RESISTANCE MOVEMENTS
The Forum debates will focus on the paradox of the year 2020. On one hand, we experienced lockdown, on the other, the USA, Brazil, Belarus and Poland witnessed a wave of protests against the states’ unjust policies. The situation from the past year will be a starting point for discussions on various forms of resistance. Together with the invited guests – Dorota Piontek, a political scientist, Marta Lempart, a social activist, Krzysztof Podemski and Jakub Wygański, sociologists we will discuss the nature and effectiveness of resistance movements. With Dariusz Kosiński, a theatre expert, Hanna Mamzer and Przemysław Sadura, sociologists, we will wonder about the dramatization of the street protesters’ actions. Together with Kacper Pobłocki, an anthropologist and Michał Rauszer, a culture expert, we will turn towards the past and ponder about the slavery of Polish peasants.
During the meeting Who is Jakub Szela?, Paweł Demirski, a playwright and Radosław Rak, a writer will talk about the title character – a traitor for some, a hero for others. Przemysław Czapliński, a literary critic, and Andrzej Leder, a cultural philosopher, will comment on anger – an emotion that stands behind every protest. They will deliberate on its constructive and destructive power. Paula Kramarz, an environmentalist, and Jan Sowa, a sociologist, will talk about the problem of land ownership and various interests related to it. Together with Jan Mencwel, a social activist, we will consider our urban frustrations and analyse the issue of responsibility for the city. The new Middle Ages, that is the reappearing religious fanaticism and reactionary practices, will be the subject of discussion between Edwin Bendyk, a journalist, and Grzegorz Lewicki, a mathematician. The Forum’s special guest will be Ryszard Krynicki, one of the most significant Polish contemporary poets, who will talk about the poetic generation of New Wave.
MALTA FOR CHILDREN
Children at Liberty Workshops programme by Maja Brzozowska and Elżbieta Niewiadomska has moved to Wieniawski and Moniuszko parks and as every year, it offers a series of activities, games and education for the youngest festival participants. Yet again, children will become citizens. In a series of workshops which engage them directly, give them the right to speak, to be present and to act, children will focus their eyes and hands on soil, trees, life among the blades of grass and under stones. The programme is a response to this year’s theme of Generator Malta – Ground Possesed. There will be sensory classes (Warsztaty Agaty – twice) and construction workshops by Michalina Radomska as well as Magdalena Garczarczyk and Tomek Kaszany. Together with VOX, the partner of the children zone and the festival’s main partner, the youngest festival goers will create houses for insects. Children will experiment with paints, creating paintings with light (Fotonika) and get to know the fabric dying techniques (Tkanki Twórcze). Elżbieta Niewiadomska will reveal the secrets of the ubiquitous mushrooms. The youngest children will have an opportunity to learn about their relationship with the earth during creative and practical workshops (Kobalt Migrating Platform, Magdalena Garczarczyk’s workshop). There will also be plenty of opportunities to climb (Bush Doctor), ride down the hill (Maja Brzozowska, Elżbieta Niewiadomska) or take part in improvisation classes (Agnieszka Rogaczewska-Foryś).