Festiwal Boska Komedia

Held this year for the 16th time already, the Boska Komedia / Divine Comedy Festival is centred on the “Landscape after the Battle”. The theme reflects developments in Poland in the recent years. We’ve fought battles, incessant and continuing, for independent courts, free media, women’s rights, minority rights, and independence of cultural institutions. The fighting continued in parliamentary benches and churches, in the courts of law and in the streets, but also on theatre stages and backstages.

The productions we have selected on the one hand reflect the intensity of these developments, and on the other are a testimony to the time and strategies for survival in country where a cultural war is unleashed by ideology-driven politicians. As artists, we have passed this difficult test. No one has succeeded in preventing us from tackling subjects uncomfortable for the powers-that-be, and attempts at gagging our mouths made our voice heard even louder and clearer, to remind how important role culture plays at akk times.

Designing the programme of Boska Komedia / Divine Comedy, I have a somewhat diabolical satisfaction in it providing a particular looking glass in which we can all see ourselves. And when I say “we”, I mean both artists and the festival audience. Together, we drop into the satanic mills of highly diverse, often provocative, subjects that jolt us out from comfort zones. Defiance of exclusion, rebellion against hate speech and intolerance, the trauma of losing a child or parent, indifference of the church, fossilisation of the healthcare system, isolation and harassment, the history of Poland and the new myth are only a handful of the subjects making appearances on our festival stage.

The programme consists of over 20 plays, of which seven vie in the main competition. The decision to award prizes rests with critics, curators, and selectors from the US, Chile, Turkey, India, Italy, and Switzerland.

In her magnificent book, Hope in the Dark, Rebecca Solnit wrote: „Hope is not prognostication. It is an orientation of the spirit, an orientation of the heart; it transcends the world that is immediately experienced, and is anchored somewhere beyond its horizons”. This is the hope I wish us all. Inviting you to the theatre, I wish you plenty of memorable experiences.

Bartosz Szydłowski, Artistic Director of the Boska Komedia / Divine Comedy International Theatre Festival