The Aleksander Zelwerowicz National Academy of Dramatic Art in Warsaw, situated right in the heart of Warsaw and in Białystok, is, by global standards, a relatively small college, with no more than 400 students. It is an autonomous state school, offering Masters programmes for students of acting, puppetry, directing and theatrology. We consider our institution a place where teaching craft is paired with humanistic reflection. Apart from its artistic events, the Academy organises conferences and holds publishing and scientific activities. Drawing from more than two hundred years of artistic education in Warsaw, we are trying to stay open to the latest trends and phenomena occurring in the European and world art. Our graduates are prepared to work not only in repertory and independent theatres, but also TV and film. The Academy is a hotbed for talents, space for experiments, artistic risk and debates on contemporary problems. We cooperate with numerous foreign schools, organise students and teachers’ exchange, participate in festivals both in Poland and abroad, and hold membership in organisations associating artistic schools. Moreover, every second year we host the International Theatre School Festival ITSelF and the International Festival of Puppet Schools LALKANIELALKA.
Our students and professors’ works can be seen worldwide – from Lima to Saint-Petersburg, Beijing to the London Globe, from New Delhi to Mexico. We promote Polish culture abroad in close cooperation with such institutions and organisations as the Adam Mickiewicz Institute, the National Theatre, the European Union of Theatre Schools and Academies, the Platform for European Theatre Academies, Polish Culture Institutes, the Zbigniew Raszewski Theatre Institute, Erasmus Plus programme.
In 1754 the Collegium Nobilium school of Piarist monks was founded here, which educated magnates’ sons and wealthy gentry. In those days the theatre was supposed to not only provide entertainment, but also to educate the society. Many Polish premieres of plays by Corneille, Molière, Racine and Voltaire were staged here. It turned out to be the school’s success – much was said and written about ‘common contentment of manifold spectators’.