The Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre
opened in September 2014, is a cultural institution presenting new trends in performing arts, music and visual art, combined with a strong educational focus. It creates artistic events, promotes emerging artists, fosters creativity and audience development by diversified educational programmes. Artistic programme is based on presentations of leading theatres and artists from Europe and beyond. The GST co-organizes the Gdansk Shakespeare Festival - an international annual event founded in 1997 - the winner of EFFE Award 2017-2018 for best European festivals. Hosting more than a hundred theatrical and educational events a year, the Theatre has proven its role as a thought-provoking artistic and educational centre.
The origins of the Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre building go back to the 17th century and to the first public theatre in Poland, the Gdańsk Fencing School. In this playhouse the professional English actors performed and staged William Shakespeare’s plays during his own lifetime. The original playhouse was a remarkable example of the Gdańsk city’s culture in the period of its highest development. The idea of reconstructing the Elizabethan theatre in Gdańsk was born at the beginning of the 1990’s under the patronage of HRH The Prince of Wales. The contemporary design created by Professor Renato Rizzi from Venice, constitutes a real revolution in historical reconstructions – it enters into a dialogue with the past, while anticipating the future with its new technologies. The auditorium is a reconstruction of the former Elizabethan-in-style theatre but due to modern technology, the stage is fully adaptable and enables various settings, including classical Italian stage, Elizabethan and arena stage. The facilities assure independence and freedom to arrange the space depending on the character of the play or show.
The goal of the Gdansk Shakespeare Theatre is also to promote young artists, to support creativity and theatrical talents, and educate children, young people and teachers in the field of dramatic arts. The activities are also targeted at people with disabilities and seniors to immerse them into a creative process. The Education Department led by Anna Ratkiewicz and Marta Nowicka developed a range of educational projects focused on art and theatre as well as social inclusion. They managed to create a thought-sharing platform for an exchange of ideas and tools devoted to education targeted at various age groups in order to connect people, generations and cultures.