Sunday, 17 October 2010

Kielce Conquers Shanghai

Kielce (Key-el-tse) is pretty much a "Where?" place, for Poles as well as foreigners. A Polish person I knew laughed when I said I was going to work there. However, both the city itself and its region, Świętokrzyskie (Shvi-ento-Kshi-ski-eh - the Holy Cross Voivodeship), were a great place to live and work.

So, a Kielce Gazeta news item about the Kubuś Theatre immediately got my attention. I knew the place and some of the people who worked there. The photos here are from a 2003 regional conference, held in the theatre.

From 2003 06 Kielce Twinning Closing Conference

Kielce's Kubuś Theatre Conquers China

The Kubuś Puppet and Actor Theatre will perform at the International Theatrical Festival in China - the only participant from Poland. [Kubuś - Koo-boosh, is Pooh Bear, shortened to 'The Bear'.]

Li-Chao-Wei's 'The Daughter of the Dragon King', directed by Irena Dragan, is an old Chinese love story. The actors will first perform on October 11 (2010). The performance will be preceded by seven hours of rehearsal and a few minute's display, prepared especially for the opening entertainment. Theatres from Turkey, Russia, Great Britain, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia and Portugal will also perform during the festival. Kubuś is the only Polish representative. The performance will be seen by people attending the Expo 2010 world fair from 16 to 18 October. "We are going at the invitation of the Chinese, who were in Kielce in October last year and saw our performance. The Director of the Shanghai Puppet Theatre was among the visitors. Our play greatly appealed to them, especially by its combination of tradition and modern delivery forms. We will try not only to represent Kielce appropriately, but the whole country", promised Dragan, director of the theatre, just before departure.

12 people flew out to China - the director, actors and support staff. The scenery has been packed in special containers previously used for a performance at a festival in Iran. The performance will be in Polish, but spectators will have an English translation. "The language of the theatre is an international language. It is not necessary to understand the words. The energy of performance, the method of acting, these are what come across. It is by this that the performance is accepted by a foreign audience - through their senses", explained Dragan. The Theatre was also asked to provide one of the dolls for the museum organized in the foyer of the Shanghai Theatre. Dragan will additionally give a lecture during a symposium on 'Theatre and the Public'.

I heard of the theatre's international reputation back in 2002/2003, so this visit is not particularly surprising. The people in the theatre knew even then that they were amongst the best in the world. The man second from left below was one of the actors.

The conference was a Holy Cross region celebration of their work in preparing for the EU, giving due acknowledgement to the foreign support given to their work. I chose the theatre as providing a more relaxed communal atmosphere for participants compared to the normal formality of conference rooms (and it was cost-effective). It seemed to work - you can see that people enjoyed themselves. The pictures are not mine, but those of a photographer hired for the occasion.

The theatre also hosts concerts given by the Kielce Jazz Club, which organised an entertainment and regional promotion for conference participants, friends and passers-by.

The Deputy Major of Busko Zdrój on the right, with the Director of the business incubator at Starachowice next to her.

The band below played regularly in the Jazz Club bar, whilst the paintings on the right are by Antoszewski - one of Poland's greatest artists.

Jazz Club members and regular attendees of its bar.

Plus the barmaid.

Was there ever another EU sponsored business conference like this? Szczryk is a different story, which may never be told - "even Adam danced".

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