PHILIP ARNOULT, founder & director


Project:     LINKAGES: Poland

Partners:  Howard Shalwitz (US Program Director)
                       Malgorzata Semil (Polish Consultant)
Dates:         2020-2024

Place:         Poland / US


Photo by Bartha Máté

LINKAGES: Poland is a multi-year initiative designed to forge long-term, artist-to-artist connections between Poland and the US. The initiative was conceived in 2018 in response to a sea change in theatre leadership in both countries, particularly a shift toward more women, artists of color, and young leaders who grew up in the post-Communist era. Working with Polish scholar Malgorzata Semil, we invited eight of the most exciting new theatre leaders in Poland for extended Zoom conversations with American counterparts during the pandemic.

Topics discussed included the most pressing themes affecting theatre in both countries: the challenge of making theatre in polarized societies, new demands for fairness & representation, new artistic processes and forms of expression, survival strategies in the face of funding cuts, and most recently, efforts to support Ukrainian artists. Poles and



Howard Shalwitz, LINKAGES: Poland US Director

Americans were eager to learn from one another and discovered that they faced many of the same challenges.


In June 2022, with the pandemic finally in retreat, we sent Project Director Howard Shalwitz, Project Manager Brandice Thompson, and our very first program participant, Julieanne Ehre of PivotArts in  Chicago to Poland for nine days of meetings with our zoom partners and other artists.On a side trip from Warsaw to Kraków they met at length with Bartosz Szydlowski, director of the renowned Divine Comedy Festival, the premiere annual showcase for the most significant new work from across Poland.


CITD is sending a delegation of five diverse and influential American theatre leaders and a noted theatre journalist to attend the 15th edition of the Divine Comedy Festival in Kraków. The premiere annual festival of new Polish theatre, Divine Comedy is attended by theatre artists and producers from around the world.  Our delegation will lay a foundation for further CITD-sponsored visits to Poland over the coming years, as well as invitations for Polish artists to visit the US.


Three possible future projects have already emerged from LINKAGES: Poland and more will emerge in Kraków. They will entail bringing Polish artists to the US to work with American companies and universities, and vice versa. CITD will facilitate these conversations and serve as a conduit to producers, agents, and funding sources to help these plans come to fruition.  CITD’s experience over many years has proven that when creative artistic leaders get to know one another, they find ways to engage and collaborate over time. By building substantive relationships based on shared goals and challenges, we expect our project to have a long-term impact in both countries.