The Artistic Archive and Library of the Juliusz Słowacki Theatre in Krakow
Scope of activity:
Documenting the Theatre's artistic activity, accumulating and substantive analysis of the collections, sharing, providing academic information.
Plac Św. Ducha 4, ground floor
Reading room: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays, 10.00 a.m. - 3.00 p.m.
tel. +48 12 424 45 18
Please contact us in advance to schedule your search query.
THE ARTISTIC ARCHIVE IN THE LIVING THEATRE IS NOT A SEALED TIME CAPSULE. IT IS A DATA CARRIER CONSTANTLY CONNECTED TO THE PRESENT, A MEDIUM OF MEMORY CONCERNING NOT ONLY THE THEATRE OF THE PAST, BUT ALSO OF THE PRESENT, AN INSTRUMENT FOR EXPLORING EXPERIENCES, EMOTIONS AND TALENTS THAT CREATE THE PAST AND THE PRESENT OF EVERY STAGE.
WHEN THIS VEHICLE STOPS, WHEN IT DISAPPEARS, OR BECOMES DAMAGED, DISMANTLED, THE FUNCTION OF THEATRE'S IDENTITY WILL BE INSTANTLY DEACTIVATED.
The Artistic Archive and the Library of the J. Słowacki Theatre in Krakow feature:
- Manuscripts and copies of plays staged in Krakow between 1838 and 1893;
- Manuscripts, typescripts, copies of plays staged at the Juliusz Słowacki Theatre (formerly the Municipal Theatre) after 1893;
- Music illustration scores for plays after 1893;
- Playbills of the Krakow Theatre from the periods 1865-1870 and 1874-1893 as well as playbills and posters of the Municipal Theatre (the Juliusz Słowacki Theatre) after 1893;
- Programmes of the J. Słowacki Theatre after 1911;
- Press cuttings since 1893 (cuttings from after 1921 are made available);
- Photographic documentation of plays after 1893;
- Stage designs after 1911;
- Theatre periodicals after 1945;
- Audiovisual documentation of productions after 2001;
- Theatre correspondence, private photographs of actors, etc;
- Theatrical reference library.
Objects are made available on-site only; scans, xerocopies, photocopies are not made.
The unique collection of the Juliusz Słowacki Theatre is analysed and supervised by Dr Diana Poskuta-Włodek, a graduate of Theatre Studies at the Jagiellonian University, theatre historian, academic teacher, author of numerous publications in Pamiętnik Teatralny and Didaskalia and other periodicals. She published the following books: Sprawozdania Krakowskiej komisji teatralnej z lat 1893-1908 (1992), Co dzień powtarza się gra… Teatr im. J. Słowackiego 1893-1993 (1993), Rozmowy o radiu (1997), Trzy dekady z dziejów sceny. Teatr im. Juliusza Słowackiego w Krakowie w latach 1918-1945 (2001), Dzieje teatru w Krakowie. Zawodowe teatry dramatyczne (2012), Byrscy – etos teatru (2017) and others.
The History of the Collection
The collection of the Artistic Archive and Library of the Juliusz Słowacki Theatre constitutes the oldest and most valuable resource gathered and stored in Polish theatres. Its history dates back to the 1930s. The oldest part of the collection is a set of printed copies of plays staged between 1836 and 1893 at the Krakow theatre, collected by successive artistic directors. It was named the Koźmianowska Library after the most eminent among them – Kazimierz Koźmian. In 1893, after the opening of the Municipal Theatre (since 1909 bearing the name the Juliusz Słowacki Theatre), its first director Tadeusz Pawlikowski purchased the collections from the last director of the Krakow Theatre in Jagiellońska Street – Jakub Glikson. In 1902, an organization was established called the Reading Room for Artists of the Municipal Theatre, operating initially in a rented place near the theatre – at no. 9 Niecała Street (today L. Zamenhofa Str.). The founding committee was composed of: Adolf Walewski, Michał Tarasiewicz, Michał Przybyłowicz, Aleksander Zelwerowicz. Almost all the actors of the Theatre registered at the Reading Room. It also had numerous supporters, including Helena Modrzejewska and the excellent bacteriologist Odo Bujwid. Apart from offering broadly defined assistance, the committee also purchased and obtained books for the theatre library as part of its self-study programme. In 1905, Michał Przybyłowicz moved the collections to the theatre building, where in 1906 it was placed in a separate room dedicated to the holdings of the theatre library and the book collection of the Reading Room of the Municipal Theatre. The magazines were made available on the spot, and the books were lent to the members of the association. Posters, press clippings, scores, stage designs, photographs, and other materials documenting the artistic activities of the Theatre were also collected. The function of librarians was performed by actors: first by Ada Kosmowska, then by Michał Przybyłowicz and Leonard Bończa-Stępiński, who was particularly meritorious for the library. In the first period of its activity, the Reading Room of the Municipal Theatre managed to collect several hundred books – i n 1908, it boasted 616 titles in 817 volumes. In 1913, thanks to Tadeusz Pawlikowski, the collection was expanded by a set of copies from the Lviv theatre. Between 1916 and 1929, the library and the archives were rearranged and catalogued by Eugeniusz Majdrowicz – a former director, theatre manager, and the authorising officer of the Juliusz Słowacki Theatre. In the 1917/18 season, Majdrowicz created an inventory of the library, which consisted of 17,344 copies with a value of 52,181 crowns.
The interwar years constituted a period of an enormous inflow of new plays, posters, photographs, press clippings, scores and publications of the J. Słowacki Theatre – the excellent Listy z teatru [Letters from Theatre] and programmes compiled by Tadeusz Świątek (literary director in 1924-1929), as well as programmes and occasional publications edited by Bolesław Pochmarski, a literary director under Juliusz Osterwa. The collection perfectly reflects the intense artistic activity of the J. Słowacki Theatre in the interwar period. The interwar iconography – photographs from performances (several hundred files) and set designs – is particularly valuable. Apart from the original typescripts, some copies of plays inspired by the great avant-garde wave of the 1920s have also been preserved.
During the Nazi occupation, the Library of the J. Słowacki Theatre managed to avoid destruction. The Polish technicians hid the most valuable part of the collections in the boiler room. After the war, the collections were stored in the main building of the Theatre on the first floor. In the 1950s, the holdings were moved to the Theatre's administration building at 4 Pl. Św. Ducha – right next to the main building. Resources continued to be expanded systematically, mainly through the documentation of artistic work: copies of the directors, stage managers, prompters, as well as music, photographs, posters, programmes, press clippings, scores, stage designs, etc.
After the war, the collections were supervised by several excellent archivists, three of whom deserve a special mention. Władysław Żychowicz, a lawyer by education, one of the organizers of the musical movement before the war, an activist of the TUR Workers' Theatre, a member of the Theatre Committee of the City Council, worked as a librarian from 1949 to 1964, until he was 76 years old. Żychowicz rearranged the collection and began to make it available on a larger scale. His ambition was to create an 'academic workshop' – as he called it – in the theatre library and archive. Later, in the years 1945-1971, the collection was looked after by Alfred Woycicki – a long-term literary secretary, theatrologist, columnist, researcher into theatre history, member of the ITI international association, and the son of the first director of the theatre – Tadeusz Pawlikowski. It was a function he carried out throughout his work at the theatre. He was an expert in the library and archives of the J. Słowacki Theatre, whose resources he used while working as a young literary clerk employed by Trzciński between 1929 and 1932. After the war, he worked on the archival materials, on the basis of which he drew up the cast lists and authored numerous publications. From 1963 until his death in 1983, the library and archive were supervised by his wife, Jadwiga Woycicka. She ensured the full documentation of performances, catalogued and compiled collections; in the seventies she prepared catalogues of manuscripts, prints and photographic documentation for printing (partly assisted by Kazimierz Nowacki).
Selection of the Theater's publications:
- Teatr im. Juliusza Słowackiego w Krakowie 1893-1963, Kraków 1963;
- A. Woycicki, 75 lat Teatru im. Juliusza Słowackiego w Krakowie, [Kraków 1968];
- Teatr im. J. Słowackiego w Krakowie, 90 lat teatru [Kraków 1983];
- ....dwadzieścia kroków wszerz i wzdłuż... Wspomnienia w 100-lecie Teatru im. Juliusza Słowackiego . Opracowanie i redakcja K. Zbijewska, Kraków 1993;
- D. Poskuta-Włodek, Co dzień powtarza się gra... Teatr im. Juliusza Słowackiego w Krakowie 1893-1993, Kraków 1993;
- D. Poskuta-Włodek, Trzy dekady z dziejów sceny. Teatr im. Juliusza Słowackiego w Krakowie w latach 1914-1945, Kraków 2001;
- R. Węgrzyniak, Encyklopedia WESELA Stanisława Wyspiańskiego, Kraków 2001;
- Teatr im. Juliusza Słowackiego w Krakowie 1893-2003 . Teksty i redakcja D. Poskuta-Włodek, opracowanie graficzne W. Pluta, Kraków 2003, 2013;
- The JuliuszSłowacki Theatre of Cracow . Writen and edited by D. Poskuta-Włodek, graphic design W. Pluta, english translation T. Bałuk-Ulewiczowa, Cracow 2003, 2013;
- Krakowski Salon Poezji w Teatrze im. Juliusza Słowackiego, tomy 1-4 pod red. D. Poskuty-Włodek, tom 5 pod red. Ewy Ziencikiewicz, Kraków 2005-2016.
- A. Bar, Dzieje teatrów krakowskich, Kraków 1932;
- S. Marczak-Oborski, Teatr w Polsce 1918-1939. Wielkie ośrodki, Warszawa 1984;
- S. Marczak-Oborski S., Teatr polski w latach 1918-1965. Teatry dramatyczne, Warszawa 1985;
- J. Michalik, Dzieje teatru w Krakowie w latach 1893-1915, cz. I, wol. 1-2, Teatr Miejski, Kraków-Wrocław 1985;
- J. Michalik, Dzieje teatru w Krakowie w latach 1893-1915, t. 5, cz. II, W cieniu Teatru Miejskiego, Kraków 1987;
- K. Nowacki, Architektura teatrów krakowskich, Kraków 1982;
- J. Purchla, Teatr i jego architekt, Kraków 1993;
- J. Purchla, Jan Zawiejski, architekt przełomu XIX i XX wieku, Warszawa 1986;
- Sprawozdania Komisji Teatralnej w Krakowie 1893-1911. Napisali Karol Estreicher i Józef Flach. Wstęp, opracowanie, przypisy D. Poskuta-Włodek, Warszawa 1992;
- D. Poskuta-Włodek, Dzieje teatru w Krakowie. Zawodowe teatry dramatyczne, Kraków 2012;
- Teatr polski w latach 1890-1918. Zabór austriacki i pruski, redakcja T. Sivert, R. Taborski, Warszawa 1987.
We encourage you to watch antique theater posters from 1865-1945 in the tab of the Juliusz Słowacki Theatre in Krakow on the website: www.kultura.malopolska.pl - the posters were digitized as part of the "Digital Cultural Heritage" project.