Biography EN

GRZEGORZ ZIÓŁKOWSKI – Professor at the Faculty of Polish and Classical Philology of the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland, affiliated at the Institute of Film, Media and Audiovisual Arts. He is a scholar, teacher, theatre director, publisher, translator, editor and co-editor of books and journal special issues.


Profile at the Adam Mickiewicz University Research Portal.

Until academic year 2019–20, Prof. Ziółkowski was a staff member of the Institute of Theatre and Media Art of the AMU.

Grzegorz Ziółkowski, fot. Adam Wykrota, 2020
Grzegorz Ziółkowski, photo: Adam Wykrota, 2020

In 2018, Prof. Ziółkowski authored a monograph on protest self-burnings Okrutny teatr samospaleń. Protesty samobójcze w ogniu i ich echa w kulturze współczesnej (Poznań: Wydawnictwo Naukowe UAM) which summarised his research project supported by the grant from the Polish National Centre for Science’s OPUS programme. In 2019, the book was granted The Prof. Tadeusz Kotarbiński’s Award by The Łódź University, the most prestigious of the humanities awards in Poland.

An abridged and updated edition of this volume, titled A Cruel Theatre of Self-Immolations: Contemporary Suicide Protests by Fire and Their Resonances in Culture, was published by Routledge in February 2020 (translation by Jan Szelągiewicz).

Prof. Ziółkowski co-edited special issues of Polish Theatre Perspectives (Voices from Within: Grotowski’s Polish Collaborators, 2015; with Prof. Paul Allain); Performance Research (On Performatics, vol. 13, no. 2, 2008; with Prof. Richard Gough); and Contemporary Theatre Review (Polish Theatre after 1989: Beyond Borders, vol. 15, no. 1, 2005; with Allain).

He wrote monographs in Polish on Peter Brook (Teatr Bezpośredni Petera Brooka [The Immediate Theatre of Peter Brook], Gdańsk: słowo/obraz terytoria, 2000) and Jerzy Grotowski (Guślarz i eremita. Jerzy Grotowski: od wykładów rzymskich (1982) do paryskich (1997–1998) [Sorcerer and Hermit: Jerzy Grotowski from Rome (1982) to Paris (1997–98) lectures], Wrocław: The Grotowski Institute, 2007). The former was granted The Theatre Book of the Year Award by the Polish Section of the International Theatre Institute (ITI), Warsaw in 2001. He translated Peter Brook’s Shifting Point and Jerzy Grotowski’s Towards a Poor Theatre into Polish. He co-edited (with Allain and Prof. Georges Banu) Peter Brook’s anthology With Grotowski: Theatre is Just a Form (Wrocław: The Grotowski Institute, 2009), published also in Farsi, French and Polish.

Prof. Ziółkowski has received awards and scholarships from the British Council (1994–95), the City of Poznań (1996), the Foundation for Polish Science (1998), the Fulbright Foundation (2002–03), and the President of Adam Mickiewicz University (2009, 2013, 2019).

From 2004–09 he worked as Programme Director of the Grotowski Centre and later the Grotowski Institute in Wrocław where he developed, among others, its publication activities, co-created the artisanal course for actors Atelier (2007–09), and co-programmed the Grotowski UNESCO Year 2009.

He carried out theatre explorations in the framework of Bureau for Theatre Research (1991–2001) and Theatre Rosa (2009–11) in Poznań and directed and led acting work sessions internationally (in Armenia, Austria, Catalonia, Chile, China, England, Iran, Malta, Romania, and South Korea).

From 2012–17, he directed the Studio (later Study) ROSA and the Acting Techniques Intensive Seminar ATIS in Poznań. In 2015–16, he directed the Study ROSA’s theatre exploration Feeling THE PULSE and in its frame he published his artistic travelogue Dwugłos O CISZY ([Duet ON SILENCE], Wrocław, 2016) and reflections Texts FROM THE HEART (in Polish and in English, Wrocław, 2016; new, revised and expanded, edition 2021, PDF). In Study ROSA, he directed two theatre performances: TAZM Silence of Light (2012–16) and HEART Silence of Polygon (2015–16). The first of them referred to Tahar Ben Jelloun’s fact-based novel This Blinding Absence of Light about a cruel Moroccan prison of Tazmamart. The second was based on the motifs from Scorched, a play by Wajdi Mouwad about the destructive impact of war on individual human lives.

He co-created and consulted works by theatre artists from Catalonia, Chile, Iran, and Romania.