On the occasion of the 10th jubilee edition of the International Theater Festival DIALOG – WROCŁAW 2021, we would like to recall the message of Krystyna Meissner from the first edition of MFT DIALOG – WROCŁAW in 2001.

The Message of Krystyna Meissner

A new festival appears… What is its purpose? What needs does it want to fulfil? How will it distinguish itself from many other festivals of Europe? Isn’t the mere fact of it coming into being an unsettling proof of an attempt to reanimate a dying domain of art? Or perhaps, on the contrary, it is an indication of an effort to meet the social need to experience a powerful dose of theatre, an attempt to create a celebration of that art? More and more often, such and other questions appear in private conversations, conferences, symposia and publications devoted to the condition of contemporary theatre.

The world changes faster and faster and theatre, that delicate instrument receiving human emotions and thoughts, should express the anxieties of our hearts and minds. But does it really do it?

It’s been over ten years since the shock Europe experienced after the destruction of the Berlin wall, dividing the continent for almost half a century. The eruption of euphoria and high hopes, which accompanied that event, was after a time replaced with the feeling of disappointment, caused by the awkward confrontation of different experiences of the two parts of Europe. More and more often, we observe symptoms of lack of mutual interest. And we feel the growth of new divisions – not only those caused by economic and civilisational differences. Regardless of the official policy aiming at a unification of Europe, unofficially, slowly we turn our backs on each other. It appears that out that mutual cognition and understanding are difficult. They demand going beyond the circle of our own habits and tastes, they force us to abandon stereotypes in thinking and the perception of the world. Are such changes possible at all?

This festival is an answer to exactly this situation. It is a festival of difficult dialogue, a festival of searching for answers to questions which haunt us. It does so both through the programme, which during the first edition was a confrontation of the most interesting evens in Polish theatre with the most interesting phenomena in European theatre, but also through the accompanying meetings, debates and conversations with all the creators of the presented performances, as well as an international discussion on the condition of the contemporary theatre.

It’s no coincidence that the DIALOG – WROCŁAW festival was established in the place where, historically, many influences overlapped: Czech, Polish, German, and Jewish, in a city which was called, among others: Wratislavia, Breslau, Wrocław. This city has always been friendly to artistic experiments, open to what’s new, tolerant towards what’s different.

Krystyna Meissner