MacArthur Fellows Program

Jerzy Grotowski

Theater Director and Drama Theorist | Class of 1991

Theater Director and Drama Theorist
Pontedera, Italy
58 at time of award
January 14, 1999
Area of Focus
Theatrical Arts
Published July 1, 1991

About Jerzy's Work

Jerzy Grotowski was a director, a drama theorist, and a teacher of performing arts, whose work has profoundly influenced ways of perceiving theater and acting.

Grotowski, who emigrated from Poland in 1982 and became a permanent resident of the United States, has directed and taught in Poland, Western Europe, and America.  His creation of the Laboratory Theater (1959-82) and such productions as The Constant Prince (1965) stimulated a reevaluation of classical texts in theater, and of established notions of the art of acting.  He examined, in practice, the connection between performing and ritual.  He is the author of Towards a Poor Theater (1968), Le Jour Saint (1974), Tecniche originarie dell’attore (1983), and Teksty and Performer (1990).


Grotowski served as the director of the Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski International in Pontedera, Italy.  He received the Drama Desk Award (1970), the Commandeur dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (1989) from the French government, and was an Honorary Foreign Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Grotowski received Master degrees in acting (1955) and stage directing (1960) from the National Theatrical Academy in Krakow, Poland.  

Last updated January 1, 2005

Select News Coverage of Jerzy Grotowski
January 15, 1999
"Jerzy Grotowski, Director, Is Dead at 65"
The New York Times
Jerzy Grotowski , 1991 MacArthur Fellow
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