Ark Theatre has been led by the actress and artistic director Renata Jasińska for ten years. She connects different worlds, seeking agreement over “languages”, seeing qualities in the richness of art. Her unlimited imagination, heart, willingness to help people, curiosity, and courage to experiment, provide magnificent results, not only artistically but also socially.
Many artists collaborate on making the work. They share in the artistic experience, and work with tolerance, mutual acceptance, respect, openness and humility.
Our theatre is an unusual phenomenon. It is a combination of different worlds. This combination can be seen as the intermingling of two realities: artistic and social. In terms of artistic activity it is the encounter of two different sensibilities, it is an opportunity to "tell the world" about the transfer of knowledge and experience, in a spirit of tolerance and sensitivity that is necessary in such theatre. In the social dimension it is an opening the doors for "Others".
The creators of Ark Theatre are inspired by Eastern theatre, the art of Artaud, but also Polish artists such as Miłobędzka, Kantor and Grotowski. The team consists of professional theatre actors, graduates from international art schools (France, United Kingdom, Poland) and their disabled students – actors with mental disorders who through their work with Ark have become professionals.
The subject of particular interest is the treatment of people with mental disabilities as representatives of a distinct culture – a naïve, folk culture. Ark is the only professional theatre in Poland that is based on a repertoire. In this theatre “healthy” people and people with disabilities have full-time jobs and a monthly wage. These people work in all positions: artistic, technical and administrative staff.
We perform regularly with 10 to 15 spectacles presented monthly and we create together five premières during a year – always with a full audience (over 7000 people a year). It is very important for us is to show our performances free of charge to social excluded groups, such as schizophrenics, disable people and prisoners.
Every performance is prepared both for a younger audience, as well as for adults.
We promote Wroclaw and Poland abroad – recently in Italy and France. During our artistic visits we have won awards at international festivals – most recently we won a prize at the International Festival Korczak 2012, in Warsaw. We collaborate with artists of world renown: in Italy with Lamberto Gianini; Denmark – Eugenio Barba and Robert Carrera with Odin Teatret; in the United States, Kazimierz Braun and Max Archimedes Levitt (University of Buffalo) as well as Megan Mongird (University of Arizona). In 2013 our theatre received the artistic award of the City of Wrocław and the European Citizen’s Prize – intended to reward, on an annual basis, individuals or groups who have particularly distinguished themselves in strengthening European integrations by the expression of European cooperation, openness to others and practical involvement in the development of mutual understanding.
We have developed collaborations with the Jewish community in Poland (TSK - Jews in Wroclaw and Warsaw, and representatives of the Synagogue in Wroclaw) and with the Roman Catholic Church in Poland.