Oracle annual seminar in Gdańsk 2018

Gdansk 2018

Oracle 2018 meeting will take place in Gdańsk (Poland)


Freedo(o)m of culture


Event is organized as a project of the Fundation Theatrum Gedanense

in cooperation with Gdańsk institutions:

Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre

City Cultural Institure

European Silidarity Centre

Financial support: City of Gdańsk

Let’s talk about freedom!

Gdansk is called “The city of freedom” – due to its history (through centuries) and as a place of birth of the Solidarity movement. Poland struggles with issue of freedom for most of its history. But most important is here and now: looking at what is happening in national governments all around the world – were fear and need to simplify important issues with power, brings us back to the edges of totalitarism. In the world where mass media and Internet takes such a big role in creating artistic industry and educating new generations, that our actions have to be self-censored through experience and real expectations of the majority of the public. We – cultural managers – have the will and power to make a change. But we do operate under so many different conditions, that we are never truly free. Politics, open market, mass media, public opinion or our own conscience. It all affects us. So – let’s talk about that.


We propose few general ideas for the topics. And we ask you to respond with information, which one (maybe more than one?) is most important for you now?

We also encourage you to join the programming committee. By sending an e-mail to you can be a part of a group, that will do small research, meet at the on-line debate and decide who we will invite to the meeting, what kind of workshops, lectures, panels will be organized or presented.

  • Freedom of cultural sector and autonomy of it (including spaces of the sector where that autonomy can be raised)
  • Responsibility of the manager (Freedom of choice or responsibility towards – institution, country, other people)
  • Cultural policies as guaranties of freedom (Is it really working? How? Who is main beneficiary of those laws?)
  • Censorship – types and role in management reality (forced on the sector and accepted by the sector; including self-censorship)
  • Freedom of arts, artists and cultural managers in face of mass-culture, free market and big industries


Meeting will be organized in Gdansk called the maritime capital of Poland – a city with over a thousand year history. It enchants with the beauty of its renaissance tenement houses and Gothic churches, narrow medieval streets and the wealth of its museum collections. The hands of famous European architects and artists have given eternal life to the city. In’s not only the atmosphere of 1000 years of history. It is also a cultural, artistic and tourists (3rd best European Turistic Destination) centre for the whole Polerania region.

During our meeting we will try to explore the potential of the city, that for centuries was multicultural, where the Solidarity movement was born and in which cultural operators and artists are searching for the new ways of expression in cultural, social and political dialog.

At the time of our visit there will be a festival called The European Poet of Freedom. We will also take some part in it.



For now – let us introduce to you the main partner, that will host you during our meeting:


The Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre – 

The idea of having an Elizabethan-style theatre built in Gdańsk did not come out of the blue. The sixteenth and the seveteenth centuries mark the peak in the city’s cultur­al history, when Gdańsk had become the largest harbour and town on the Baltic. In this period, we witness the appearance of English professional actors who from around 1600 until 1660 come to Gdańsk almost ev­ery summer, bringing plays which were the highest achievements of dramatic poetry, bringing superb productions, enriched with their mastery of acting, with beautiful music and dances.

Thus, during Shakespeare’s own lifetime his plays were performed in Gdańsk. Following the first visits of these out-standing players, a public theatre was built, known as the Fencing-School (being a multipurpose build­ing), which in fact was the first public theatre in the whole of Poland, a playhouse strik­ingly similar to the London Fortune play-house.

In January 2005, the jury of the international architectural competition, of which Andrzej Wajda was a member, announced its decision: the winning design was the one by Renato Rizzi, an Italian architect from Venice. Renato Rizzi has taken an approach different from other reconstructions around the world: the theatre presents itself as a (post)modern cre­ation, which does not pretend to be ancient, yet has the ability to reflect the past and comment on it. For many reasons this is an extraordinary building. Due to the support of European Union, the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, City of Gdańsk and Pomorskie Regional Government the con­struction started in 2011 and was completed in September 2014.

Three types of stages have been included: the thrust stage, the box stage and the theatre-in-the-round. Thanks to modern technology, it is possible to draw aside the Elizabethan tiring-house façade, opening a space that makes the changes of scenery possible. The Elizabethan platform stage “sinks” into the ground, making thus possible for the rows of seats to be placed in the yard. Moreover, the entire ground level can become a flat surface, or it can be adjusted for the theatre-in-the-round.

The opening roof is yet another technical wonder: it takes only three minutes to open, in spite of its size (420 square meters) and weight (over 90 tons!), and makes performances at daylight possible, recalling a renaissance practice.

Thus, the Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre origi­nates in a long tradition, and at the same time makes use of the 21stC technology. It evokes past centuries, and at the same time “speaks” in the language of the present era and present aesthetics.

Gdansk Shakespeare Theatre – among many other activities – organizes an international Shakespeare Festival and is a founder of the European Shakespeare Festival Network.




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