Zofia Kalinska: 1931 - 2018

Sadly we share the news that Zofia Kalinska from Krakow passed away on April 19th.




Zofia was the Grande Dame of the Magdalena Project. She brought her wonderful production of Genet’s The Maids to the inaugural festival in 1986, which we staged, at her bequest, in a dank cellar.  At that same festival, Zofia led a workshop collaboration called The Magic Circle with a group of young international performers. The newly born devotees of this work fought to find a way to continue the work and a fully formed production – Nominatae Filiae  - finally emerged in 1988 and toured to the UK, Denmark, Poland, and Belgium.

In 1990 Zofia directed The Sale of The Demonic Women together with Magdalena colleagues and Meeting Ground Theatre - forming lifelong creative friendships, always stretching herself and us beyond our comfort zones and continuing to inspire future generations around the world with her challenging workshops and artistic rigor.

Zofia was a passionate and powerful performer who worked for 25 years with Tadeusz Kantor (in many of his most famous productions including Dead Class) and she continued to make her own challenging and exciting performances well into her 80s. Zofia was an artistic force to be reckoned with throughout her life. In recent years we saw a deep happiness emerge - in her roles as great-grandmother and solo performer - improvising into her final weeks, relishing the power of performance 'being in the moment' - even when memory was not so reliable! I last saw her at the Magdalena Transit Festival in Denmark where she had been invited as a special guest by Julia Varley. She delighted in her status and in reconnecting with many of the women artists who knew her. 

 The Funeral is in Krakow on April 30th at the Holly Mass in Rakowice Cemetery Chapel at Rakowicka Street (where Kantor also lies). She will be buried at the place number 1 in the new honorable alley which was just founded in the new part of the cemetery. She will be the first person at the new alley for honorable persons of Krakow.

She would have approved. 

Jill Greenhalgh and Tanya Myers