Text culled from excerpts from Grotowski's classic Towards a Poor Theatre and comments by Ryszard Cieslak in 'Workshop with Cieslak', Performing Arts Journal, 1977 and Peter Rose.

I began this work in 1977. It was and continues to be clearly defined as a search around the human being. We want the experience to become evident - everything is created through the presence of those people who participate. There are no spectators. There is no separation between the creative process and the creative outcome. This is Active Culture. It comes from all the participants and is shared by all of them. There is no result or product of Active Culture: There is the direct experience of it, which can never be repeated and is different each time.

I work with the group as a living organism and create conditions for mutual sharing. What can happen is the simplest and most elementary: Recognizing someone, sharing substances, sharing as a space is shared, as water is shared, as fire is shared, as earth is shared, as touch is shared.

Contact is the essential thing. Contact is not staring; it is to see. Now I am in contact with you. I see which of you is against me. Contact is not only physical. Rhythm can be a deeper contact with somebody. Contact is to carry on a conversation with another without sticking to them or disturbing the flow of another's associations. In order to make contact, do something for somebody. There has to be an exchange. "I am with you", means sharing. Sharing is contact. Give and you will receive. There is nothing to understand - do and react. Something stimulates you and you react: Stimulations - Impulses - Reactions.

Work with your whole self. The question is only, which actions get in the way of creativity. We cannot hide our personal lives from the work. If we do any creativity will fail. The work is a practical meditation as a service to the meeting of one's life. One has the possibility to leave the confines of self-interest and fear. When there is contact, when one is no longer afraid of anything - it is as if one has been released from bondage, as if everything were joy, as if we ourselves were joy, as if we ourselves were the circulation of life.



The training is offered with the understanding that each human's creativity and craft is a life process of development.
Barefoot (in the studio). On the back. Beginning again for the first time. Rhythm and circulation of breathing. Emptying the cackling head in the body. Engaged relaxation, meeting the floor, eyes open, waking in time and over time, seeing the work space, seeing the others.

The body meets itself through engaged relaxation, self-awareness without self-involvement. The dynamic of give and take begins. The body meets itself by establishing its presence in the workspace and direct contact with others.

See them. Feel them with and without touching. Full circulating breath and freedom to explore through physical contact, serious play. Give and take.




Performer with a Capital letter is a man of action. He is not somebody who plays another. He is a doer, a priest, a warrior. He is outside aesthetic genres. Ritual is performance, an accomplished action, an act. Performer is a state of being. To performer, knowledge stands as duty and knowledge is a matter of doing.

Jerzy Grotowski, 1990



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Contact: practicalworks@test-traveler.de