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Gender-Sensitive Biography of the Polish Actress Irena Solska (1877-1958) (Solska)
End date: Sep 1, 2013 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The project’s aim is to write a gender-sensitive biography of Irena Solska (1877-1958) who was an outstanding actress of the 20th century theatre in Poland. Due to extensive library and archive research, this project will propose new readings of many empirical facts and data; its objective is also to introduce documents that by the moment unknown or known only in fragments and/or by description. Beside it, this biography will have ambition to become an exemplary case study as for the theatre processes that took part at the beginning of the 20th century (marked by the change from the performer-centred theatre model to the director-centred one); to revise the legends and stereotypical views that have been functioning about Irena Solska in Polish society and internationally and to introduce her name to broader European public. The life and work of Irena Solska will be explored in the context of the European theatre that at the begining from the turn of the centuries was involved in the common process of transtion from a performer-centred model to a director-centred one. The investigation of the gender implications of this process is the main innovation of this project. Above it, the project will address many different aspects of Solska’s biography that at the moment are highly understudied. The research will be conducted in the vein of gendering theatre history, and at the intersection with many other disciplines – such as history of women, visual culture studies, studies of women’s autobiographical writings, Holocaust studies, memory studies. By addressing some key problems in theatre history of the 20th century theatre, the project aims at creating long term collaboration between specialists interested in gendering of theatre studies in Europe and Russia that will be mutually beneficial. As for the knowledge transfer to Europe, the experience of Russian theatre historiography in exploration of the turn to the director-centred perspective will of primary importance.

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