A group of young, but already with a certain track record, directors are evaluated by a jury consisting of experienced artists in various ways associated with theater. This is the main idea of the National Festival of Directing Art INTERPRETATIONS, which has been held in Katowice since 1998.

Its author is Jacek Sieradzki, a recognized theater critic, long-time editor-in-chief of Dialog magazine, and two-time artistic director of this festival in the past. Kazimierz Kutz, a respected film and theater director, politician and publicist from Katowice, was also entrusted with this function twice.

Young directors, invited to the competition, could have made their debut in the theater no earlier than fifteen years before the given edition. It is also worth mentioning that during the first editions, directors of Television Theater also competed for the main prize on an equal footing with live theater. The struggles of the young are accompanied by screenings of performances by masters – prominent and recognized directors, and they are judged by a jury that includes representatives of artistic professions, not only directors, but also composers, actors, stage designers, curators or writers.

Since 2014, for three consecutive years, the artistic director was the journalist Katarzyna Janowska, who invited to the competition performances selected by the selectors, disregarding the criterion of directors’ professional seniority, and the festival program was subordinated to the slogan – the keynote chosen for a given edition of the festival (in 2014 it was FREEDOM, in 2015 questions of identity: WHO ARE YOU? WHO AM I?, and in 2016 the slogan, which is still relevant today, was PRZEMOCIE. STOP!). The program also featured side events and social projects, hosted performances and jurors from abroad.

Since 2018, the National Festival of Directing Art INTERPRETATIONS in Katowice has been held in the biennial formula, i.e. every two years.

This year it returned to its original program formula: the presentation of the work of the youngest generation of Polish theater directors, who compete for the Konrad Swinarski Laurel. The performances of directors up to ten years after their debut were considered. For three consecutive editions, Ingmar Villqist – a playwright, director and art curator from Chorzow – was the artistic director. He established two additional competitions – for the best direction of television plays and radio plays. The program also included side events dedicated to the art of directing, including in film, or the new language of theater. It is worth noting that the 20th edition was held online, as it fell during the coronavirus pandemic.

Since the beginning, the patron of INTERPRETATION has been Konrad Swinarski – theater, television, film and opera director, stage designer and set designer. He created his own style, thanks to which he is considered one of the most original and outstanding artists in the history of Polish theater. It is in his honor that the festival’s main award, the Konrad Laurel, is named after the director. It is given to the director who receives the majority of the jury’s votes, and the jury justifies its choice individually, live, in front of the audience and young directors, during the final gala of INTERPRETATION. For years, the jury has been composed of five members.

Among the winners of the festival are Anna Augustynowicz, Grzegorz Jarzyna, Krzysztof Warlikowski, Maja Kleczewska, Remigiusz Brzyk, Jan Klata, Iwona Kempa, Przemysław Wojcieszek, Monika Strzępka, Radosław Rychcik, Katarzyna Szyngiera, Jakub Skrzywanek.

These are, without a doubt, the first names of Polish theater today.

Preparations are currently underway for the XXII edition of INTERPRETATIONS. It will take place in Katowice from November 18 to 24, 2024. The Festival Office with Dariusz Wiktorowicz as its coordinator is working on the program.

Starting this year, a selection committee consisting of: Dorota Buchwald, Michal Centkowski and Katarzyna Niedurny.

The office and members of the committee, together with the festival’s management, have decided that the Konrad Laurel competition will consider performances by directors who debuted no more than 15 years back.

The festival will also be accompanied by two other competitions for directors, initiated during INTERPRETATION in 2018 – a competition for the best direction of a radio play and a competition for the best direction of a television play. The former will be curated by Janusz Kukuła, the latter by Wojciech Majcherek.

It is also planned to present at least one master performance.

The organizer and sponsor of the festival is the City of Katowice, the performer: Katowice City of Gardens – Krystyna Bochenek Institution of Culture. The director of INTERPRETATION is Piotr Zaczkowski, director of Katowice Miasto Ogrodów.

The XXII edition of the festival received funding from the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage in the amount of PLN 100,000.

We invite you to come to Katowice in November 2024.