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Instytut im. Jerzego Grotowskiego
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Chronology of life and work
Jerzy Grotowski (1933-1999)
1982 During the period of martial law in Poland, Grotowski lectures in Rome, at the initiative of Ferruccio Marotti; emigrates to the USA where he teaches at Columbia University (1982–1983) and receives political asylum in 1983

1983–1986 With organisational assistance from Robert Cohen, he realises the Objective Drama Project at the University of California, Irvine, collaborating with technical specialists: I Wayan Lendra, Du Yee Chang, Wei Chen Cheng and Jairo Cuesta; speaks at conferences in Volterra, Rome, Florence (Italy), New York, Los Angeles (USA), and Liège (Belgium); receives an honorary degree from De Paul University of Chicago (1985); the Laboratory Theatre disbands in 1984.

1986 In August, Grotowski moves to Pontedera (Italy) at the invitation of the Centro per la Sperimentazione e la Ricerca Teatrale (now Fondazione Pontedera Teatro), and its director Roberto Bacci and Carla Pollastrelli; in Vallicelle, near Pontedera, creates The Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski; enters into the final phase of his life’s work; Thomas Richards arrives in Pontedera with Grotowski at the founding of the Workcenter; at first, Richards works as an assistant to Grotowski and shortly after begins to lead one of the work groups; Richards becomes the primary practitioner and Grotowski’s essential collaborator in the line of research at the Workcenter known as ‘Art as vehicle’; Mario Biagini, who eventually becomes a key member of the Art as vehicle research, begins work at the Workcenter; James Slowiak works as an assistant of Grotowski at the Workcenter from August 1986 until the end of 1988, Jimenez from August 1986 to September 1989, and Robart is a group leader at the Workcenter from September 1987 to December 1993.

1987–1992 Grotowski continues his teaching at UCLA-Irvine for sessions of approximately two weeks each year, assisted primarily by Slowiak and at times by Robart, Cuesta and Jimenez; Grotowski describes this work as principally focused on lessons in theatre craft ‘in the old noble sense, as in the remote times of Stanislavski’

1989 The film Art as vehicle is made by Mercedes Gregory, which documents Downstairs Action (with Richards, Biagini, Piotr Borowski, Nitinchandra Ganatra, and Nitaya Singsengsouvanh), a performative opus created at the Workcenter by Richards under the guidance of Grotowski; Grotowski takes part in the conferences: Grotowski aujourd’hui (Grotowski Today) in Paris (organised by Academie Experimentale des Theatres led by Georges Banu and Michelle Kokosowski), and Grotowski, la presenza assente (Grotowski, The Absent Presence) in Modena (Italy); a volume of his selected texts is published in Polish for the first time by Janusz Degler and Zbigniew Osinski