Theater directors and organizations from Germany, Austria and Switzerland have written a joint letter expressing solidarity with Gluchowski and protesting against his planned removal as artistic and managing director of the Juliusz Slowacki Theatre in Cracow: “We, the undersigned colleagues, strongly support Krzysztof Głuchowski, the Juliusz Słowacki Theatre in Kraków, and the right to artistic freedom in Poland which has repeatedly been threatened or suspended in similar cases since 2016. We demand from the Board of the Małopolska Region to not remove Krzysztof Głuchowski from his office as Artistic Director, and from the Polish Ministry of Culture to not withdraw its financial contribution previously designated to the Juliusz Słowacki Theatre.”
The letter has been sent to the Marshal of Malopolska Voivodeship last night. ITI Germany as one of the signatories as well as the European Festivals Association (EFA) and the European Theatre Convention (ETC) have distributed the letter in their networks. Several European ITI centres, among them Sweden, Czech Republic, Macedonia, Swiss, have already sent signs of support.
In recent days, #teatrjestnasz (Theater is ours) has dominated the Polish theater world. The now openly stated dismissal of the director of the theater Juliusz Slowacki in Krakow, Krzysztof Głuchowski, has rised a public wave of solidarity. Across Poland, actors read out statements of solidarity with the Slowacki Theater after performances, and the responsible politicians are overwhelmed by petitions. Krzysztof Głuchowski is in the middle of his second term. According to the Polish constitution and legislation, cultural institutions are independent and not bound by the instructions of their employers. Despite this, representatives of both the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Culture in Warsaw, as well as the regional government, publicly criticized his work, accusing it of “anti-Polish tendencies” and calling for the banning and cancellation of several productions. At the same time, economic censorship set in. In December, the planned transformation of the theater into the status of a national theater was stopped. As a result, as of now the theater is short 3000000 zloty (about 662 000 euros). The result is an immediate halt to premieres for 2022, a lack of money to pay electricity and gas bills, and the theater’s inability to act. But it does not give in: money is collected via crowdfunding. The theatre employees have declared in an open letter: “We, the employees of the Teatr im. Juliusz Słowacki in Krakow, we express our full support to Krzysztof Głuchowski, General and Artistic Director, both in terms of the artistic program and the overall management of our Theater.”