After '89

Polish theatre and the political

By Bryce Lease

After '89


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  • Paperback

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-7849-9295-8
  • Pages: 240
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £80.00
  • Published Date: August 2016
  • BIC Category: The arts / Theatre studies, Literature, Theatre studies, Television, PERFORMING ARTS / Television / General, PERFORMING ARTS / Theater / History & Criticism
  • Series: Theatre: Theory – Practice – Performance


After '89 takes as its subject the dynamic new range of performance practices that have been developed since the demise of communism in the flourishing theatrical landscape of Poland. After 1989, the theatre has retained its historical role as the crucial space for debating and interrogating cultural and political identities. Providing access to scholarship and criticism not readily accessible to an English-speaking readership, this study surveys the rebirth of the theatre as a site of public intervention and social criticism since the establishment of democracy and the proliferation of theatre makers that have flaunted cultural commonplaces and begged new questions of Polish culture. Lease argues that the most significant change in performance practice after 1989 has been from opposition to the state to a more pluralistic practice that engages with marginalised identities purposefully left out of the rhetoric of freedom and independence.


'Lease shows with great effectiveness how diverse and inventive Polish theater is today. Theater scholars in general should find much to like about Lease's work, and for them it will be an excellent introduction to contemporary Polish theater. For scholars in Polish studies who are unfamiliar with the theater, it will also provide a helpful narrative foundation. For those already familiar with contemporary Polish theater, the book will still offer creative interpretations of some of the more radical works.'
Daniel W. Pratt, Ohio State University, The Polish Review, Vol. 63, No. 3 (2018)


Bryce Lease is Senior Lecturer in Drama and Theatre at Royal Holloway, University of London.


Introduction: really existing democracy
1. The move to neoliberalism
2. No more heroes
3. Beyond a teatr kobiecy
4. Gay emancipation and queer counterpublics
5. Rethinking Polish/Jewish relations
6. Equivalencies of exclusion

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