21-25 November 2018

Zbigniew Raszewski Theatre Institute

Warsaw, 1 Jazdów Street



Organized by:

Stowarzyszenie/Association Grupa Studnia O.

Media officer: Jarosław Kaczmarek: opowiadacz@wp.pl, +48 506 738 207



What is the landscape of the art of storytelling?

It would probably be a village. Possibly in a valley. As remote as possible. The women gather in the cottage to pluck feathers, the men at the inn. At both places an old man is active. The same one, local.

He has been telling the same stories since times immemorial. The generations pass, yet he never changes them. The ancient truth is revealed for everyone to see. Unchanged since the expulsion from paradise, since the times of the tower of Babel. They listen and listen to the same mythical story, and through its invariance the world is reconstituted.

Oh yes. Fancy that.

Through the village travel the prasoły (peddlers of salt from salines in Red Ruthenia), the czumacy (salt merchants from Dnieper country), small vendors from Scotland, known as the szoty, Magyars with tobacco, Nuremberg-manufactured articles, children’s toys, and devotional items, tinkers (often highlanders, including from Slovakia), sieve makers (mostly from Biłgoraj), travelling locksmiths, blacksmiths, forest dwellers selling wooden articles, tanners, basket weavers, picture vendors, jugglers and acrobats, bear tamers, vagrant women. Common fugitives from serfdom and escaped slaves. And then it goes: migrants going to America and Brazil in search of a better life, refugees from the first war, repatriates from the second one, masses of those who have forsaken the countryside for the pursuit of happiness in the city.

If anything is immutable, it is human mobility. If there are any constants in the space of tradition, it is perhaps the cultural trails. Paved roads, dirt roads, rocky trails of migrations and flights, invisible naval routes, courses traced on the map of the sky, all the trajectories of human mobility and curiosity. This year, we use the occasion of the festival meetings to explore and celebrate those hidden territories that reveal themselves when we begin to walk.

Come on, therefore.



21 November (Wednesday)

10.00 and 11.30 A Gourd Full of Magic – Agnieszka Ayşen Kaim and Gwidon Cybulski

19.00 Enarkhia. Stories about the Beginning of the World – Łukasz Szypkowski, Emilia Raiter, Olena Yeremenko

21.00 Stories with a Scent of Coffee – Walter Diaz Ovalle (Colombia) and Aneta Cruz-Kąciak

22 November (Thursday)

10.00 and 11.30 The Secret Garden – Beata Frankowska and Sebastian Krajewski

19.00 When You Don’t See the Road – Szymon Góralczyk and the Caravan of Stories

21.00 Salt of the Earth. Citizens 1918 – Małgorzata Litwinowicz and Jolanta Kossakowska

23 November (Friday)

10.00 The Jumpers. Secrets of the Champions – Jarosław Kaczmarek

11.30 The Frog Princess. A Quest for the Enchanted Egg – The Sycamore People (Katarzyna Żytomirska, Katarzyna Wińska, Katarzyna Szurman)

20.00 The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives – Maïmouna Jallow (Kenia)

24 November (Saturday)

12.30 The Jumpers. Secrets of the Champions – Jarosław Kaczmarek

17.00 My Pinocchio – Marie Prete (France)

19.00 Roots – 3Troubadours: Torgrim Mellum Stene (Norway), Markus Luukkonen (Finland), Tom van Outryve (Belgium)

22.00-3.00 STORYTELLING NIGHT: Festival guests x ROOMs Ensemble

25 November (Sunday)

10.30 and 11.30 Me voilà ! / Here’s Me! – Magda Lena Górska

13.00 The Singing Jug – Witold Vargas

17.00 At the Tip of the Tongue – Marie Prete and Magda Lena Górska

20.00 Twardowski & Johnson. At the Crossroads – feat. Twardowski & Johnson




A gourd that used to be a pumpkin – what can it be? A pumpkin that can become a gourd – what does it hide? A pumpkin has much more to offer than just its soft flesh and the seeds; it transforms not only into Cinderella’s carriage. Who would expect that inside a squat pumpkin there hide music and magical stories that you can listen, clap, and dance to? Join us for stories that cause rain, soothe anger, and incite passion.

Storytelling and music: Agnieszka Ayşen Kaim and Gwidon Cybulski

Wednesday, 21 November, 10.00 and 11.30

Suitable for viewers from age 7



I could not speak,

and my eyes failed, I was neither

living nor dead, and I knew nothing,

looking into the heart of light, the silence.

Here is a story about how everything was in a state of suspension, quiet and silent; everything was still, emitting no sound, and the celestial space was empty. There was neither man nor animal, no birds, fishes, crabs, trees, rocks, caves, ravines, herbs nor forests. Here we will reveal, announce, and narrate. What was hidden we will bring to light. It will be a wonderful account and a wonderful story.

But how to reach words about the beginning of the world that lie in the silence of a distant time and space and their end? We will call in many languages, in world-begetting words that carry in themselves distant horizons, shreds of prospects, of distant lands, glittering new universes. We will enchant the world. Let it originate! As once from the chaos of the elements, let it now become between words.

The performance will include creation-myth narratives from Central America, Russia, Japan, China, Poland, and other countries.

Storytelling, songs, music: Łukasz Szypkowski, Emilia Raiter, Olena Yeremenko

Illustration: Czarli Bajka

Wednesday, 21 November, 19.00

Suitable for viewers from age 12



Walter Diaz Ovalle (Colombia) has been telling stories for over twenty years: to kids, youths, and adults. His stories disclose for the viewer the beauty of spoken word, the joy of encounter, the unique Latino rhythm and temperament. In Mexico, where he has been based for a few years now, Diaz Ovalle co-organizes one of Latin America’s leading storytelling festivals, Palabras al Viento [Words in the Wind]. This time however we won’t stop in Mexico but go straight to Colombia where, at her small café, Madame Conchita hears gossip, jokes, and confessions, and words veiled in the scent of coffee arrange themselves into stories.

“Sugar?” Madame Conchita asks her customers.

“None for me, how else can you drink coffee!” says one.

“Make mine sweet as love, it’ll warm up the body and the soul,” replies another.

This place is like Macondo: mysterious, charming, and magical, it brings together traditional Columbian folk tales and contemporary stories, told with tenderness and wit.

Spanish-language performance

Translation: Aneta Cruz-Kąciak, www.trzypomarancze.pl

Photo: Daniel Miranda

Wednesday, 21 November, 21.00

Suitable for viewers from age 12



Here’s the sad Mary, the obnoxious “young rajah” Colin, and the gentle Dickon who has a way with plants and animals. Like them, we dream about a garden that will heal us. We will search for the lost key together and open the gate. We will experience the magic of bursting seeds, of opening buds, the joy of contact with the earth and of storytelling. Among the stories will be those that Mary may have heard from her Indian nurse, Ajah, and those that wind sings to this day in the moorlands of Yorkshire.

Performance with original musical arrangement, based on Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic novel, The Secret Garden, and stories from Georgiana Keable’s collection, The Natural Storyteller. Wildlife Tales for Telling.

Storytelling: Beata Frankowska

Music and songs: Sebastian Krajewski (guitar, kantele, hurdy-gurdy, pipes, drum)

Thursday, 22 November, 10.00 and 11.30

Suitable for viewers from age 7



Travels can be dangerous and risky. Everything we encounter on the road changes us and return is never guaranteed. For safety’s sake we choose well-trodden paths or, as caravans used to do it in the past, we hire local guides who will show us safe passages. We can also rely on technology and drive straight to the place as instructed by the car navi.

But what to do when you don’t see the road? When there are no beaten paths, no guides, no navigation? What to be guided by and what happens then? Will the stars offer guidance to us? Or will we discover our inner compass? That is what our stories will be about. As they say, “the first step is seldom backwards.” Let’s go, then, and let’s be looking about.

Performers: The Storytelling Caravan (Mirella Gliwińska, Ewelina Jarnutowska, Katarzyna Płocińska, Basia Songin, Szymon Góralczyk)

Thursday, 22 November, 19.00

Suitable for viewers from age 12



The story revolves around the history, borrowed from Józef Wittlin’s novel Sól ziemi [Salt of the earth], of Piotr Niewiadomski, a Hutsul who became a First World War soldier. In it we include, on a frame-tale basis, several other stories that have at their centre the “peasant body in travel”: sent to a war, travelling by foot and train to Bremen or Hamburg, squeezed between the decks on a sea journey to America, carried to Brazil, fleeing eastwards from the front in 1915.

We use selected fragments from the letters of Polish migrants to the United States and Brazil, from Martin Pollack’s The Emperor of America, from Aneta Prymaka’s book Zapomniani uchodźcy. Bieżeństwo 1915 [Forgotten refugees], and from peasant diaries published in the 1930s by the Social Economy Institute. In all of these we seek an answer to the question of how an ordinary person can lead a life when great history with its vast machinery keeps interfering.

Scenario and storytelling: Małgorzata Litwinowicz (www.opowiadam.org)

Music: Jolanta Kossakowska

Thursday, 22 November, 21.00

Suitable for viewers from age 12



A story about ski jumping and ski jumpers that inspires flights of the imagination. Who are the extraordinary athletes practicing the not-for-the-timid sport? Can you befriend fear? What does it mean that you need to be “light-headed” to jump well? How is the smile of fortune manifested in ski jumping? Who made the actual “jump for life”? Did Harry Potter and Baron Munchausen ski jump? And what did the Vikings have to do with it?

Questions, puzzles, mysteries, secrets… In a moment we will stand together on the threshold of their solution. Then we will jump into the story! Are you ready? Take off! Green light! Let us begin! The role of the storyteller and sports commentator will be performed by Jarosław Kaczmarek. The story is based on his upcoming book, Skoczkowie. Tajemnice mistrzów [The jumpers. Secrets of the masters].

 Friday, 23 November, 10.00

Saturday, 24 November, 12.30

Suitable for viewers from age 7



The program includes folk tales recorded by Oskar Kolberg, originating from various parts of Poland: from Wielkopolska, through Mazowsze and Małopolska, to Podkarpacie, as well as from the neighbouring countries. Rediscovered, animated with the sound of the accordion, the fiddle, the hurdy-gurdy, and other instruments, they enchant again.

You are invited on a journey trough extraordinary lands where we will be guided by by wise animals: smart, cunning, and vested with magical powers. We will find out that appearances can be misleading for no one is really who they seem to be at first sight, and anyone can become anyone they want (even a queen or king), provided they truly want it. We will see that sometimes it is worth stopping and listening to someone modest and inconspicuous for they can reveal to us a mystery that will change our life…

Performed by The Sycamore People: Katarzyna Żytomirska (storytelling, songs), Katarzyna Szurman (accordion, fiddle, other instruments), Katarzyna Wińska (songs, hurdy-gurdy, percussions)

Friday, 23 November, 11.30

Suitable for viewers from age 6



Based on the novel by Lola Shoneyin, ‘The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives’ is an endearing and powerful tale of deception, betrayal, love, and friendship. It chronicles the life of Baba Segi, the ultimate patriarch, as he tries to unravel the mystery behind his fourth wife’s infertility.

Through his quest, we explore the burdens that society places on women and the cunning ways these women escape from the confines of poverty and patriarchy. Be ready to laugh, cry and connect with five amazing characters, all performed by storyteller Maimouna Jallow.

Maimouna about herself:

I believe that, Words Matter! They help shape our world – how we conceive it and understand it.

I am a Nairobi-based writer, journalist and media trainer who uses poetry, prose and radio to explore questions around modernity & identity and all that exists in the cracks in between.

I have worked as a radio producer for the BBC World Service; as a correspondent in the island nation of São Tomé and Principe; and managed Regional Communications for Medécins Sans Frontières (MSF) in the Horn of Africa region. With twelve years experience in media, I specialise in political, developmental and socio-cultural affairs across the continent and have sat on various panels about media and development.

I am currently working on several creative projects, including Re-Imagined! An online contest inviting African writers to imagine the traditional folktale for today’s youth. I also contribute to several magazines and websites, including The Africa Report magazine and What’s On Africa website.

For money (and some love J!), I give media training to journalists and NGO staff on – messaging; interview skills; pitching to the media; communications strategy and more. I also organise media and arts events.


English-language performance

Friday, 23 November, 20.00

Suitable for viewers from age 16



At the beginning, Pinocchio is nothing. Just a piece of kindling wood. In the tender hands of the woodcarver Gepetto, it will turn into a marionette. But Pinocchio will experience many adventures before he truly becomes someone. The world that he discovers when he first leaves his father’s workshop – as soon as he has carved his feet – is hard and cruel, whereas Pinocchio is fragile, weak, and incomplete…

Carlo Collodi’s story was originally published as a serial in the 1880s. Its protagonists are enacted by Marie Prete, a French storyteller with Italian roots, in a commedia dell’arte style. The wooden marionette passes from hands to hands, rebels, escapes, wanders, searching, stubbornly and indefatigably, for its human element.

Marie Prete is an Italian-French storyteller who specializes in the family repertoire, promoting storytelling as a multigenerational art. A co-founder of the La Vache bleue (“Blue Cow”) collective in Lille in northern France, with which she has organized the Les Minuscules festival since 2009. She has been storytelling since 1996 and from the beginning has attached great significance to the artistic initiation of the youngest. A collector of counting rhymes, lullabies, and children’s games. She builds multilevel narratives, making her performances accessible for small children, infants even, while at the same time addressing their parents or tutors.

French-language performance

Translation: Magda Lena Górska

Saturday, 24 November, 17.00

Suitable for viewers from age 8



3Troubadours, a trio of performance storytellers from Norway, Finland and Belgium, will develop a new multilingual performance titled «Roots». Through a string of residencies in different countries, the performers will explore the interconnected roots of Europe and themselves as individuals.

3Troubadours consists of Markus Luukkonen (Finland), Torgrim Mellum Stene (Norway) and Tom van Outryve (Belgium).

During 2018, The European Year of Cultural Heritage, the group has developed Roots through a series of residencies, workshops and research trips. The theme of the piece is background, belonging and the interconnected roots of Nordic and European heritage. The material for the show is extracted from different Nordic/European legends and myths and the family histories and DNA of the performers themselves. The performers have also looked for inspiration in new research concerning the language of trees and the interconnectedness of forest ecologies. What is our common heritage, how are we different and what is the new European heritage with the long history of immigration? How do we build our roots together – what does it mean?

Roots is the premiere prepared for the Warsaw International Storytelling Festival.

English-language performance.

Saturday, November 24 listopada, 19.00



As every year – a festive night performed by the Festival guests. Stories about cultural pathways in many languages and styles.

Accompanied by the band ROOMs.

Saturday, 24 November, 22.00-3.00

 “ROOMs is comprised of musicians from Sweden, Ukraine, Poland, and Moldova. We have been brought together by the passion for music through a grant from the Swedish organization Statens Musikverk. We have already recorded and performed in Sweden. The repertoire consists of adaptations of traditional music from our countries. We want to cross borders with our music, reaching people in various parts of Europe.”

Isak Bergström – accordion

Accordionist, graduate of the Stockholm College of Music. Many times artist-in-residence, including in India and Nepal. He has played traditional music for many years as well as participating in numerous European theatre projects for children and adults.

Olena Yeremenko – fiddle, nyckelharpa

A multi-instrumentalist, she plays the fiddle, the Swedish moraharpa, and the nyckelharpa. Fellow and laureate of international competitions, she has collaborated with many artists in musical projects. She plays early music, classical music, traditional music, and balfolk.

Martin Neaga – cello

A cellist, in the last two decades he has participated in numerous projects all over the world. He feels at ease in a repertoire ranging from classic Argentine tango, through reconstructions of Renaissance music, balfolk, to studio recordings of film music

Emilia Raiter – harp

A harpist and storyteller. She plays the gothic, baroque, pedal, and electroacoustic harps. She has collaborated with many artists in musical and storytelling projects.





From inside to outside, from darkness to light… In a winter garden, under the ground, there sleeps a small tulip. Neither rain nor shine can wake it. And finally one day its home becomes too tight and the tulip feels that it’s now, that its time has come. And soon its first cry will resound in the garden: here’s me! Magda Lena Górska usually tells this story in French with Polish counting rhymes. This time it will be the other way round. For whether we come to this world here or there, birth is a whole story.

Storytelling and music: Magda Lena Górska

Directed by: Marie Prete

Sunday, 25 November, 10.30 and 11.30

Suitable for viewers aged 1.5-5 and their custodians



This performance is a story about a great journey, about animals, about music, about earth, kings, and sorceresses, about struggle, about friendship, and about a small grey TV. And, well, about a singing jug, of course. The Singing Jug is a journey in itself, where the author’s illustrations serve as a map, the instruments as a vehicle, and laughter, song, and amusement as fuel.

Witold Vargas is half-Polish and half-Bolivian. Born and raised in La Paz, he listened to many traditional stories told by his Bolivian grandmother and other seniors. His mother, Hanna Przerwa-Tetmajer, instilled in him a family love for Polish immaterial culture. Co-author and illustrator of the Legendarz [Legendary] book series, including Bestiariusz słowiański [Slavic bestiary], which popularize Slavic legends, folk tales, and stories. As a storyteller, his repertoire melds both of his cultural legacies. In his free time, Vargas writes feuilletons devoted to folk fantasy as well as teaching, mountain hiking, and bike riding.

Sunday, 25 November, 13.00

Suitable for viewers from age 5



Marie Prete, born in France, is the daughter of Italian immigrants from Apulia. Magda Lena Górska, born in Poland, has been based in France for over a decade. Somewhere between Lille and Orléans their paths converged – and so did their tastes. We will be treated, therefore, to an Italo Calvino polenta and a Grimm brothers consommé. A goose stuffed with pearls, and poppy-seeds. And what’s for dessert? That we don’t know yet because this crazy Italian-French-Polish cooking experience has never happened before and will never happen again. Buon appetito!

Polish- and French-language performance

Sunday, 25 November, 17.00

Suitable for viewers from age 10



The legendary heroes: the alchemist Twardowski from Poland and the bluesman Robert Johnson from the Mississippi Delta. What is it that they have in common? And what can result from their meeting at the crossroads? The show will be both bluesy and existential. Dark and lyrical. Old-school and contemporary. Terrible and funny.

Listen to highly emotional story-songs such as At the Crossroads, Where Are You Going on Such a Day, Peter? (A Long Weekend Before Us), The Soul Has Left the Body, Lady Midday in Town, Whip’n’Roll, or Nothing Can Stop Us (I Know!).

There Twardowski sits at the bar,

Around the room his gaze a-flies

And if it hits anyone

He jokes and tricks and terrifies…

Performers: Twardowski & Johnson – voices and guitars

 Sunday, 25 November, 20.00

Suitable for viewers from age 12




Stowarzyszenie Grupa Studnia O. is Poland’s first storytelling association, founded in 1997. We source our stories from the rich and diverse tradition of oral literature: folk tales, fairy tales, myths and epic poems from various cultures, as well as spoken history, literary texts, and author’s stories.