Of hooligan actors, football and voices

Konstantinos Thomaidis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Centre for Theatre Practices ‘Gardzienice’ has spanned over three decades of devising, performing and teaching. The discoveries of this journey have attracted scholarly interest, first in the company's motherland, and, by the end of the first decade of their work, outside Poland too. A training activity which has been a major focus of the relevant discussion, and which bears evident relation to the world of sports, is ‘night-running’ (see Allain 1997, pp. 64–67; Hodge 2010, pp. 278–280). Building on the training principles foregrounded in this activity, this paper assesses the importance of a more recent development in the company's pedagogy: a training practice called ‘woodball’. From the football matches organised between Gardzienice and university campus teams during their USA tour in 1998 to the regular group's summer Intensives, Staniewski has showcased an increased interest in establishing a version of football as central to his activities. Considering the entirety of Gardzienice's activities as choral encounters, a concept that showcases the continuity in their principles and practices, ‘woodball’ is used as a lens through which strategies of ensemble-making and voice training can be examined. The analysis benefits from fieldwork with the company in Poland (2008) and interviews conducted with Gardzienice actors, associate artists, previous company members as well as students of the Academy and workshop trainees, in an attempt to disinter Staniewski's notion of the actor as sprawca, or ‘a minor hooligan’ (Staniewski and Hodge 2004, p. 73).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-256
JournalTheatre, Dance and Performance Training
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012


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