Pohulanka is our home— 100th anniversary of the Pohulanka Theatre

@ DELFI

A great celebration was held to mark 100th anniversary of the Pohulanka Theatre. It commenced with the premier of the play “Kreacja” (dir. Lilia Kiejzik) staged by the Polish Theatre Studio in Vilnius and with the play “Pułapki miłości” (dir. Inka Dowlasz) performed by the Polish Theatre in Vilnius. The event takes place under the patronage of Valdemar Tomaševsky, the MP of the European Parliament and the leader of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania. 

Lilia Kiejzik, a director in the Polish Theatre Studio in Vilnius and the event organizer, opened the celebration with her speech. “I am truly grateful for such high turnout. I lament the fact that we could not find enough space to fit in all the guests,” she said.

Valdemar Tomaševsky, the EAPL leader, remained optimistic: “We managed to collect the funds for the organization of this event that is of great importance to the Polish community. It was the theatre founder’s will that the building is to be used by the Polish community and to some extend it indeed is. Unfortunately, we are no longer the owners of this theatre due to some dramatic past events. But who knows what the future holds in store for us.” The politician also stressed that the recent victories of Poles prove the fact that impossible is nothing.

“We did perform at 90th anniversary of the theatre and we do today. I hope that the theatre will be ours during the performance marking its next anniversary.”, underlined Irena Litwinowicz, the director of the Polish Theatre in Vilnius.

Main celebration is scheduled for the fall. Both theatre directors have ambitious visions of the programmes.

“Theatre festival will take place in Vilnius. Especially for this occasion, the theatres from abroad prepare the plays that were staged during the first years of the Pohulanka Theatre’s existence. Our theatre is going to perform three plays, namely “Emigranci” by Sławomir Mrożek; “Lalki—moje ciche sistry”—a monodrama by Agnieszka Rawdo; and “Kreacja” by Ireneusz Iredyński. Additionally, we have been getting ready for performing a cabaret. We already have a script and I hope the preparations will be finished by the fall.”, said Kiejzik to PL DELFI.

Litwinowicz shared her idea for main celebration with PL DELFI: “The first play staged in the Pohulanka Theatre in October, 12th 1913 was “Lilie” by Hieronim Morstin and it is the play we would like to perform on its anniversary.”

Pohulanka is our home 

Kiejzik expounded upon a significance of the Pohulanka Theatre: “It was in 1990 when we started performing there. We celebrated 30th anniversary of our theatre back then and we liked this one so much that ever since we have tried our best to perform on this stage few times a year. The theatrical atmosphere permeates the building of Pohulanka. Professional theatres from Poland visit Vilnius for the festivals just to stage a play in there. To my mind (and not only mine), this theatre is the 8th Wonder of the World. During the rehearsals, only after taking off his coat and a hat, did Mirosław Szejbak, an actor of the Polish Theatre in Vilnius, enter the stage of the Pohulanka. The young debuting actors also feel differently, like great professionals, on this stage. The most important is for this theatre to keep existing, not to crumble.”

“At the darkest hour of our theatre, after the eviction from Dom Kultury Kolejarza in 1993, the Pohulanka Theatre has taken us in until 2011. A symbolic pay was collected for the lease. The administration found even a full-time job for me. At that time, our theatre operated in the Pohulanka.”, Litwinowicz remembered.

The Pohulanka Theatre was built in years 1912-1914 on the initiative of Hipolit Korwin-Milewski and due to the donations made by the Polish community of Vilnius. Aleksander Parczewski and Wacław Michniewicz were the architects working on the project. The building was passed over to the authorities on the condition that the Polish theatres only would perform there.

During the Russian Partition, the theatre played an important role in the cultural and artistic life. The Reduta theatre, an acting group of Juliusz Osterwa, has been performing on its stage from 1925 to 1929. Over the next years, the greatest Polish artists have debuted or performed in the Pohulanka. Their greatest inflow could be observed during the occupation.

Well-known Polish actors performed on this stage, such as Irena Eichlerówna, Nina Andrycz, Henryk Borowski, Hanka Ordonówna, Aleksander Zelwerowicz, Zygmunt Bończa-Tomaszewski, Zdzisław Mrożewski, Danuta Szaflarska, Jerzy Duszyński, Igor Przegrodzki and Hanka Bielicka.

The theatre was closed in June, 23th  1940. After the Second World War, the building’s ownership was transferred to the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre against the will of its benefactors. Than the Youth Theatre had its quarters in the building. Currently, it is the seat of the Lithuanian Russian Drama Theatre.

Source: http://pl.delfi.lt/kultura/kultura/swiatlo-nad-betlejem-zebrano-27-tys-litow.d?id=60370421

Tłumaczenie Karolina Jasińska w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Karolina Jasińska the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu. 

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