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Tomasz Kireńczuk

Tomasz Kireńczuk is the next artistic director of Santarcangelo Festival

The 37-year-old co-creator of the Dialog Festival in Wrocław and founder of Teatr Nowy in Krakow will guide the Festival for the 2022-2024 triennium

Curator, activist, dramaturge and theatre critic, Tomasz Kireńczuk, 37 years old from Poland, will be the new artistic director of Santarcangelo Festival for the 2022-2024 triennium. He was nominated by the Board of Directors of Santarcangelo dei Teatri, presided by Giovanni Boccia Artieri and including Ludovica Parmeggiani and Natalino Cappelli. The Board of Directors was supported in the selection process by the contribution of Roberto Naccari – General Manager of Santarcangelo dei Teatri, and by the precious guidance of Francesca Corona – artistic consultant for Teatro India / Teatro di Roma and Matthieu Goeury – artistic coordinator at Kunstencentrum Vooruit in Ghent, Belgium. Kireńczuk’s role as artistic director will become effective in August 2021, following the two years of the artistic direction of Daniela Nicolò and Enrico Casagrande / Motus, who guided the Festival during its celebrations of the 50th anniversary and who will do so until the next edition, from 8 to 18 July 2021. They expressed their congratulations for the nomination of a sensitive curator, careful of preserving independence in a country full of struggles and contradictions such as Poland: “May the transformations of this Festival keep opening new dialogues with citizens and the artistic community.”

Founder of the Teatr Nowy in Krakow in 2008, which quickly became one of the main centres of theatrical production in Poland, collaborator, programmer and curator from 2011 to 2019 at Dialog – Wrocław International Theatre Festival, one of the most significant events of the European scene, Tomasz has also studied and lived in Rome. During the years, he focused on working with young artists and companies, inaugurating in 2018 the Laboratory of New Theatre, a programme dedicated to education which commits to providing means of production and complete creative freedom to emerging groups.

“He is an operator who showed the ability to defend the artistic independence of his festival in the face of censorship and political pressure in his country of origin” – declared the Board of Directors of Santarcangelo dei Teatri – “Tomasz is capable of receiving the legacy of a Festival celebrating its first 50 years and which continues to evolve, remaining loyal only to its need of changing, thanks to the frequent rotation of the artistic direction, which allows it to explore new paths and embrace new visions. Resorting to an open international call forms part of the current statement of Santarcangelo dei Teatri, which bears witness to the will of the Festival to maintain a high international profile, together with the wish of strengthening its role as an internationalising platform for the Italian artistic scene, while also intensifying its scouting activity concerning young artists and groups, the activity to which the Association is continuatively dedicated during the rest of the year.”

“The figures of this call show how the consolidated process of public selection can make the Festival appealing for the best cultural operators, curators and artistic directors in Europe” stated Alice Parma, the Mayor of Santarcangelo. “I want to thank the Board of Directors of Santarcangelo dei Teatri and all those who collaborated in the selection process, and I also want to thank Motus for their project Santarcangelo 2050. We are now ready to start building the coming years without forgetting the devastating consequences of the pandemic. Once again – concluded the Mayor – the Festival is going to be Santarcangelo’s cultural response to the challenges of the present.”

“What does it mean to create a festival in a world so uncertain and unfair such as the one we live in?” – commented Tomasz Kireńczuk – “What does it mean to organise a theatre festival when we keep observing not just limitations of freedom but also the marginalisation of contemporary art, of its independence and its research? It is, first of all, a privilege, because the Festival allows us to focus on political and social issues which are marginal in the public debate. It is a great privilege also because the Festival gives us the opportunity to not only imagine a fairer, more equal future but above all, it provides us with the means to make this possible. This is how I see my work for Santarcangelo Festival, one of the most innovative events of the European scene and a home for many artists. I will do my best not only to preserve but also to strengthen its uniqueness, in order to create a meeting space for various sensibilities that will foster a dialogue among different ways of seeing and thinking our contemporaneity. I am aware that the management of an event such as Santarcangelo Festival is linked to a sense of responsibility towards the development of performing arts in Italy: I do believe that this commitment is especially important nowadays when the Italian artistic community is being brutally affected by the economic and social consequences of the pandemic. The experiences of this past year full of loneliness have radically reminded us of the power of community, of the need to be together and the meaning of hopes and dreams. I believe that in the triennium 2022-2024 Santarcangelo Festival will become a place where we will find these things again: community, proximity and hope.”

The process of identifying the new artistic direction of Santarcangelo dei Teatri has been particularly long and inevitably intertwined with the huge impact that the pandemic has had on the artistic and cultural scene, both in Italy and internationally, and also for the quality of the proposals received. The public call was launched in December 2019 and by the deadline of 10 February 2020 we had received 66 applications (37 from Italy and 29 from abroad). In the month of May, it was announced that, because of the pandemic, Motus’ project Santarcangelo 2050 would be extended until 2021, in order to allow for its full development and therefore the period of artistic direction concerned by the call would become 2022-2024. In the month of June, a shortlist of applications was selected and the candidates were asked to further develop their projects, keeping in mind the transformed sensibilities of the current times. In the month of November, 5 projects were chosen and discussed in online interviews that took place until 26 December 2020. Throughout this long journey of encounter and discussion, we have examined and got to know a particularly relevant projectual scene, both Italian and international, and on 7 January 2021 the Board of Directors of the Association Santarcangelo dei Teatri has identified in Tomasz Kireńczuk its new artistic director.

Born in Poland in 1983, Tomasz Kireńczuk is a dramaturge, theatre critic and curator. In 2008, together with a group of young artists, he founded the Teatr Nowy in Krakow, a place of theatrical research that in a few years transformed from a temporary organism into an independent centre of theatrical production. For a few years, he has been its project director, curating artistic, educational and social aspects of the theatre. In 2018, he inaugurated the Laboratory of New Theatre, a programme dedicated to the education of young artists, focusing on providing them with means of production and complete creative freedom. Its curatorial practice focused on socio-artistic work with various local communities. He is also the co-creator of Dialog – Wrocław International Theatre Festival, one of the most important theatre festivals in Poland, where he worked from 2011 to 2019. In 2017, facing financial blackmail, Tomasz fought to publicly defend the independence of the festival and its right to free artistic creation. Between 2005 and 2006 he lived in Rome, where he developed a research project dedicated to the Italian Futurist theatre. In 2008, he published an essay in Polish titled From art in action to action in art. Filippo Tommaso Marinetti and the theatre of Italian Futurists. He studied and taught at the Faculty of Performing Arts of Jagiellonian University in Krakow.