Musical theatre in Poland

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In Poland, unlike in the West (especially the United States), musical theatre has always stood on the sidelines - treated as entertainment at rather low level, ignored not only by the political world but also by the theatre makers. Most of the Polish theatres, until 1989, led a policy of filling the room to the highest capacity at the lowest cost. Not to mention that the aim of most of the productions was not to shape the tastes but to flatter people who watched the musical productions presented in that period of time. It was a consequence of the wrong management system in the theatre, where the artistic value of the work wasn’t valuable at all. The only important thing was to get positive opinion from the political committee, which decided whether one will remain on the director's chair. Nowadays, the situation has slightly changed but the only difference is that the role of political influences was replaced by the inexorable power of industry mechanisms. Finances, or rather lack of them, are the new reasons of the problems which are solved by lowering the standards and adapting to what the audience want to watch rather than what the artists, directors have to show.

Musical theatre in Poland is strongly connected with the history of operetta as most of today's musical theatre scenes started in the fifties from this particular genre. There is one place especially worth mentioning with its huge cultural impact on the whole musical theatre scene in Poland - formed in 1958 Musical Theatre in Gdynia, which was founded by Danuta Baduszkowa. She developed an extremely well-thought vision of the theatre and since the beginning she prioritised the musical theatre as a form of higher art. The operetta began to fade thanks to the actions l...

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...from their current level, the ones that count in terms of artistic taste are devoid of a strong financial support. This determines their defeat at the beginning of the fight for not only about the expansion of the audience but for the level of artistic craftsmanship or the best team of performers.

The current actions of the musical theatre in Poland lead to the conclusion that, despite the growing interest in this entertaining version of the theatre, problem of the quality of the theatre will continue to exist. 'You cannot talk about crossing artistic boundaries, shocking with novel visions, when we cannot cope with the tradition and the basic canon of that art' (A. Schimscheiner, 22/04/2014). As long as those will be the biggest problems, musical theatre in Poland will still be entertainment and only entertainment, overlooked in serious discourse about the theatre.
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