A CELEBRATION of Polish culture takes place in Stratford this weekend.
The Shakespeare and Poland Festival, taking place on Saturday and Sunday (June 24 and 25) will mark the first anniversary of the unveiling of a statue of Jan Kochanowski, a Renaissance Polish poet and contemporary of Shakespeare, in the sculpture garden at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage and also the 400th anniversary of the publication of Shakespeare’s First Folio.
Kochanowski’s statue represents the strong cultural links which exist between Britain and Poland and is also an expression of the friendship and cooperation existing between the two countries’ cultural communities.
The festival kicks off with an event in collaboration with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust entitled ShakesPEERS Picnic: Celebrating Jan Kochanowski, Shakespeare, and the Natural World.
The family-friendly picnic will be held at the Yew Tree Circle by Anne Hathaway’s Cottage on Saturday, bfrom 10am to 4pm,, and will feature an array of interactive nature-themed activities inspired by the shared love of the natural world by both Kochanowski and Shakespeare.
They will include storytelling, a beekeeper’s demonstration, herbalist workshops, poetry workshops, a treasure hunt and folk music and dance provided by Birmingham-based Polish folk song and dance ensemble Wiesniacy.
It will be followed on Saturday evening with a reading, in English, of ‘The Dismissal of the Greek Envoys’, the first-ever drama written in the Polish language, written in 1578, taking place at The Bear Pit Theatre.
Directed by Jason Morell, renowned for his work at Shakespeare’s Globe, the play has influenced Polish theatre for over 400 years.
Translator Charles Kraszewski will deliver a talk on the background of the play before the performance, and the play will be followed by a Q&A session.
Sunday will see a Fundraising Concert for Ukraine in Support of Ambulance Aid and Medical Aid Ukraine, showcasing work by Polish composer Chopin together with Ukrainian music.
The concert, at Stratford Town Hall, will feature the talented pianist Lucas Krupinski, a Steinway artists and winner of numerous international Piano competitions, and the captivating performance of Ukrainian soprano Inna Husieva, who will present a selection of pieces by Ukrainian composers.
The concert will be preceded by an introductory talk by Professor Tony Howard on literary links between Poland, Britain and Stratford.
Click here for full details.