30 th ULICA International Street Theatre Festival Fahrenheit 451


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  • Wednesday, July 5, 2017, 12:01 AM - Sunday, July 9, 2017

Manuscripts Don’t Burn

Kraków’s streets and squares once again fill with extraordinary, dazzling figures enchanting us with circus acrobatics, juggling tricks and incredible performances. The 30th ULICA festival is here!

Literature and art have a huge power and influence over the lives of entire societies. No-one understands this better than Jerzy Zoń, director of KTO Theatre which has spent the last forty years using the universal language of theatre to stress humankind’s boundless need to be able to think, feel and understand freely. 

This year’s 40th anniversary of the KTO Theatre coincides with the 30th jubilee ULICA International Street Theatre Festival Fahrenheit 451 (5-9 July). The theatre has been the organiser of the festival since its inception. “The first official festival was held in 1988, straight away hosting acclaimed theatre groups from Poland and abroad. Communism was still rife and the artists barely got paid at all – we had to organise petrol vouchers to help them get home after the event,” recalls Jerzy Zoń. Ever since then, the July festival has been attracting crowds from all corners of the globe, becoming a true celebration of theatre of form.

City without books

The leading motif of this year’s event recalls Ray Bradbury’s SF novel from 1953. Fahrenheit 451 describes a dystopian world in which books are banned: all are incinerated (the title denoted the temperature at which paper catches fire) and anyone caught reading is imprisoned. Spectacles presented during this year’s festival serve as a warning against such a horrifying vision. “Books stir the imagination, and people who have imagination strive for more and become irrepressible. We aim to show a frightening vision of humankind without books,” promises Zoń. Let’s see what we (hopefully haven’t!) got in store.

Raise the anchor, hoist the sails!

To start with, we can expect live music, choral songs, daring circus acts and expressive acting! The grand parade An Odyssey Towards New Shores sails through the Main Market Squere with ensembles from France, Germany and Poland.

One of ULICA’s strengths is bringing together artists from all over the globe. The Main Market Squere hosts the lyrical interactive play Moonsters by the Mr Pejo’s Wandering Dolls from Russia, taking viewers on a journey to a land of dreams. The Delrevés Vertical Dance ensemble from Barcelona presents its breakneck spectacle One. The provocative production 451 by the English collective Periplum and Corn Exchange Newbury combines immersive sound and sensory theatre with pyrotechnics. Fahrenheit – Ara Pacis by the Spanish Xarxa Teatre reveals a tragic dichotomy of the desire for peace and the instinct of aggression, both accompanying humankind since our earliest days.

Make sure you also head to the Small Market Square to meet two mysterious bodyguards from the spectacle The Tonys by Compagnie Albedo from France. FrutillasConCrema from Chile take us on a journey to a world filled with dreams, carpets and trunks with Petit. The enchanted clock forming a part of stage settings of Carilló by Cia La Tal releases pure magic, while Daniel Burley’s tricks show water pouring out of newspapers and books spontaneously catching fire!

For the second year running, ULICA visits the Podgórski Market Square which hosts the KTO Theatre with its legendary Peregrinus. Szczepański Square hosts a feast of theatre for kids with plenty of delicious fun. Freaky Birds is a clever tale of freedom and tolerance, while The Yelling Kitchen Prince shows the youngest viewers how to make music and pancakes at the same time.

The heat is on!

Of course the festival also hosts theatres from across Poland. Theatre of the Eighth Day presents a monumental outdoor spectacle Summit_2.0 using video projections to depict a degenerate, violent world of politicians and celebrities and their impact on the world. The Drunken Bedroom Theatre recalls the story of The Lighthouse Keeper from the novel by Henryk Sienkiewicz, while Wokół Centrum Group presents a dance spectacle Mourners revealing different aspects of mourning. The dystopian vision of Fahrenheit 451 by the Wybrzeże Theatre, directed by Marcin Libera, comes to the Łaźnia Nowa Theatre in Nowa Huta.

The festival culminates during the 24-hour spectacle F451 held at the Main Market Square. “Recalling Ray Bradbury’s novel, we create a model city where books are banned and anyone caught reading is jailed. We will close all surrounding streets, only allowing trams to pass. The ten-minute spectacle will be performed every hour,” reveals Jerzy Zoń. The play features over 200 performers including many famous Cracovian artists and journalists.

The programme also includes accompanying events such as a photography exhibition, screenings of films about the history of street art and interactive games for kids and teenagers.


“In our digital reality, filled with electronics and with the internet replacing literature as our window on the world, Ray Bradbury’s novel Fahrenheit 451 has become uncomfortably pertinent. Today it’s easier to engage with a screen than another person. We struggle with our emotions, we are manipulated by the media to lose track of what’s real and what’s fake,” say festival organisers. They also recall that without literature and art, humankind loses its soul. Still, another great novel tells us that “manuscripts don’t burn” and true art surpasses all. Let’s lose ourselves in it during the 30th ULICA!

(Justyna Skalska, "Karnet")



  • Organiser: KTO Theatre
Kraków Travel
Kids in Kraków
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