Ewa Wojciak, director of Poland’s Theatre of the Eighth Day, was fired by Poznan mayor Ryszard Grobelny on 28 July 2014. His administration oversees culture and arts in the city, including Wojciak’s subversive and anti-establishment theatre group.
The official reason given was that she did not ask for permission to leave the city between 18 and 28 February, when she visited Yale and Princeton universities, performing her touring duties as director and actress with the theatre. However, these trips were not sponsored by the local government, so it is hard to see why she would need permission from authorities.
Wojciak’s career with the theatre began in 1970 when she was a dissident artist under the communist regime. After the end of communism, she turned the theatre into a welcoming space for refugees, minorities, anti-facists, feminists, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and emerging theatre-makers. She has become a “new dissident”, confronting the realities of life after communism. During her tenure, the theatre, known for its artistic experimentation and politically subversive productions, has drawn the fire of Grobelny, known for his ultraconservative views.
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