In spring 2016, a series of research events were held at Rose Bruford College to debate and reflect upon the mechanisms that best transmit Kantor’s legacy, and in what ways his rich body of work informs contemporary performance-making. The contributors included Professor Michal Kobilaka from the University of Minnesota and author of A Journey Through Other Spaces: Essays and Manifestos 1944-1990; Richard Demarco, who first invited Kantor to the UK in the 1970s; Noel Witts, author of Tadeusz Kantor and Professor of Performing Arts at Central Saint Martins; and the visual artist Sarah Jones.
Students have studied Kantor’s legacy in theory and practice since the European Theatre Arts: Training the Contemporary Performer programme began at Rose Bruford in 2000. The artistic directors of Cricot2 Theatre, Teresa Welminska and Andrzej Welminski, regularly collaborate with the third year undergraduates to produce performances and workshops based on Kantor’s work. As artists who worked with Kantor on such seminal pieces as The Dead Class and Today is my Birthday, Teresa and Andrzej bestow embodied knowledge to our students, who in turn advance Kantor’s practice as artists in their own right by continuously experimenting with his theories of theatre and art in the studio.
The legacy of the Polish theatre director Tadeusz Kantor is maintained by its continued transmission through pedagogy, in archives, in libraries, in films, in photographs, and in memories.Kantor Is Here aims to provoke discussions and experiments as a way to create new approaches to teaching Kantor’s theatre. By treating traces of his work as ‘live’ materials, we ask how theory and practice exist as a historiographical continuum manifesting in/as bodies and documents.