Teatr Prób Miniatura - About Us
Teatr Prób “Miniatura” imienia Jerzego Szaniawskiego (The Polish Community Theatre „Miniature” after J. Szaniawski Inc.) is a Polish amateur theatre operating in Melbourne. It was founded in 2011 by Polish theatre director, playwright, songwriter and broadcaster Stefan Mrowiński.
Theatre "Miniature" presents Polish plays, poetry, cabaret shows and other forms of stage performance. It performs in Polish Community cultural centres, Polish Retirement Homes and other venues, as well as participating in events organised by other Polish organisations, like charitable concerts, the Polish Seniors Poetry Competition, the 2018 and 2019 sessions of the Polish National Reading Day (an initiative of the President of Poland), etc.
The purpose of the Theatre is to develop and maintain cultural activities for the Polish community, to create and present theatre productions based on original literary traditions of Polish culture, to provide opportunities for members of Polish community to participate in cultural activities, and to attract Polish youth in order to maintain involvement in Polish language and culture.
The membership of the Theatre is currently 26 people, half of whom are active actors, the rest invaluable supporters without whom we could not operate.
The story began in 2010, when distinguished Polish community activist Mrs Krystyna Mrozik assembled an amateur cast and persuaded Stefan to produce the play “Matka” (“The Mother”) by great 20th century Polish playwright Jerzy Szaniawski. After the success of that performance, Stefan decided to form a permanent ensemble and the Theatre “Miniature” was incorporated in 2011.
Initially, the Theatre organised cameral events with word and music, presenting works of the most prominent Polish poets, like Czesław Miłosz (Nobel Prize in Literature 1980 laureate), Agnieszka Osiecka, Rev. Jan Twardowski, and „Wieczernik polski” („A Paschal Soirée”), based on contemporary works. Several of these programs’ recordings were awarded prizes at Polish cultural festivals, which are open to entries from emigree organisations. As the Theatre was grew, it attempted more ambitious productions, such as the play “Koniec i początek” (“The End and the Beginning”) by Stefan Mrowiński in 2013, about the life and creativity of poet Wisława Szymborska (laureate of the 1996 Nobel Prize in Literature), and an unassuming one-act comedy “Wigilia” (“The Christmas Eve”) by Małgorzata Chaładus in 2015. In 2014 the main event was the celebration of 50 years of Stefan’s artistic career, with participation of both Polish and Australian performers, indebted to his tuition and guidance. One of the Australian actors kissed his hand in public!
In 2015 Stefan Mrowiński had to withdraw from running the Theatre due to health problems. His worthy successor as the Artistic Director was Maria Bukowska. She realised that our audiences desire mostly entertainment, humour and song, and she prepared a review of Polish cabaret “Uśmiechnij się” (“Smile!”) in 2016. After impressive requests for more came “Uśmiechnij się 2” in 2017.
Maria withdrew from the Theatre early in 2018, and Elżbieta Romanowska took over the role of Artistic Director. As it was 100 year anniversary of Poland regaining independence after 123 years of occupation, the Theatre produced a program entitled “Droga do Niepodległości” (“The Road to Independence”), presenting the history of the nation’s fight for independence, as documented in poetry and patriotic songs.
In 2019, the Theatre returned to the cabaret format, continuing the Independence theme with a program “Śmiech przez łzy” (“Laughter Through Tears”), presenting Polish humour and satire over the last 100 years in four distinctive segments: the period between the World Wars, the German occupation, the Communist regime, and the current post-1989 era after regaining independence.
The Theatre is always welcoming of new members. Some might have dreams of appearing on stage - do not be afraid, we are all amateurs, and we work together to improve ourselves. We perform in Polish, so fluency in the language is necessary, but an Australian accent is no problem as it just adds authenticity. However, we also need people who can provide support in backstage and front-of-house roles, such as operation of audio and light, filming performances, selling tickets and manning the doors, and help with setting up stage and audience spaces. In non-acting roles, language is not an issue – the sixth-generation Aussie husband of one of our actresses, who does not speak a word in Polish, helps us a lot as stage manager as well as, being a graphic designer, preparing our posters, leaflets and whatever we need on paper.
Welcome to the Theatre “Miniature”!