Click for gallery

In 1972, Boleslaw Taborski attended Steven's production of Byron's The Deformed Transformed at the Roundhouse in London. The first of the night's proceeds were for The Greek Committee Against Dictatorship and was attended by members of the Greek Diplomatic Corp. including Lady Fleming. This was fitting, considering Byron's love of Greek freedom. Steven was busy shaking hands with VIPs, so he welcomed the interruption when Bolek came and introduced himself as Grotowski's translator. He loved the show and invited Steven to bring Triple Action to Poland because he felt there was a deep connection between the two companies.

Bolek was much more than Grotowski's translator he was a Poet, a BBC Radio Correspondent, a famous Polish freedom fighter, Jan Kott's translator and a leading light at the Wroclaw Festival. He was later to become Pope John Paul's biographer and Steven's son's Godfather. Steven happily agreed as he had been originally pointed towards Grotowski's work by Royal Shakespeare Company member Morgan Sheppard when Steven was worked there in 1968.

Triple Action went to Poland for the first time in 1973 and returned there every year until the declaration of Martial Law in 1981. They fell in love with Polish theatre and worked on six collaborations with Grotowski's Laboratorium in Poland, Italy, Canada and the UK. The first collaboration was with Laboratorium Actor and then director, Zbiszek Cynkutis on his Dostoyevski Project. Later, they continued with workshop leaders on collaborations in the UK with the likes of Theo Spychalski, Malgorzata Swiatec and the wonderful Jacek Zmyslowski. The company participated in the sharing of information with several theatres who collaborated with Grotowski at the Centre for Theatre Research in Milan. These other theatres included Eugenio Barba's Odin Theatre, Andre Gregory of Manhattan Project (My Dinner with Andre) and wonderful actors like Yoshi Oida who worked primarily with Brook in Paris.


The Polish connection also evolved into other fruitful collaborations with The Kalambur and the Wroclaw Festival. The largest project of these was when Steven took 80 people from 20 different cultures up a mountain in OleĊ›nica (see video below). This was to run a cross cultural project that would end up as a street spectacle on the streets of Wroclaw. The spectacle was anti-communist and ended in a street battle between communists and non-communists. Steven was warned by Russian authorities that if he ever did anything similar again the Wroclaw Festival of Open Theatres would be closed. Period.

Tadeusz Lomnicki and Steven connected in England when Lomnicki came to visit Steven at Triple Action after he'd seen a film screening of King Lear. Lomnicki had been hailed as the Olivier of Poland. They worked on a production of Faustus together when Lominicki was with Theatr Polski but the production was doomed never to happen due to the intervention of Martial Law in 1981.


Those strange days saw art beyond politics. While Steven was working with Lomnicki, who was an elected member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party, Triple Action was performing to audiences of tens of thousands of Solidarity members in the Northern Shipyards of Poland. Even the Laboratorium was now being run by Ludwig Flaszen (Grotowski's Dramaturge) who was Solidarity because Grotowski was a committed member of the Communist Party.

Anti-Communist Activities

Several times Steven had smuggled papers, letters and in certain situations even people out of Poland in an attempt to help artists who were living in such an oppressive environment. This included members of Osmego Dnia, Kalambur and Laboratorium.