25.06.2022 - 26.06.2022 Events, Literature, Theatre

ShakesPEERS

Celebrating Jan Kochanowski and Poetry.

Arts festival and Jan Kochanowski’s statue unveiling in the gardens of Anne Hathaway’s Cottage.

25-26.06.2022, Anne Hathaway’s Cottage, Stratford-upon-Avon

In partnership with the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, we will unveil a new statue of Renaissance Polish Poet and Shakespeare contemporary Jan Kochanowski in the sculpture garden at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage in Stratford-upon-Avon on Saturday 25 June 2022.

The statue sculpted by Wycombe artist Andrew Lilley is due to be unveiled at an official ceremony accompanied by free family activities running across the weekend.

Attending the unveiling will be, among others: Chair of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Peter Kyle, Mayor of Stratford, Gill Cleeve, His Excellency Ambassador of the Republic of Poland, Piotr Wilczek, and Director of the Polish Cultural Institute in London, Marta de Zuniga,.

Despite a substantial geographical distance, Britain and Poland have enjoyed deep historical ties, built on shared values and a common heritage, with both countries drawing abundantly on the achievements of classical antiquity and later periods in European history. This expressed itself on many levels, including literature and arts in general.

Much like Shakespeare for Britain, Jan Kochanowski came to be regarded as one of the greatest poets and playwrights of Poland and even the whole Slavic part of Europe. His robust language not only enriched but also laid the cornerstone for Polish literature. Kochanowski’s role in developing Polish literary standards and impact on the region cannot be underestimated.

To mark the occasion the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust together with the Polish Cultural Institute planned a weekend filled with celebrations under the label ShakesPEERS: Celebrating Jan Kochanowski and Poetry, aimed at the visitors of all ages. Outdoor Tudor music concert, miniature bust-making, creative writing workshops and community-led sculpture making workshops are among many other, specially-curated activities taking place at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage’s gardens across the weekend.

Additionally, anyone interested in grasping the knowledge about the life and work of Jan Kochanowski will have an opportunity to attend a free event at the Guild Chapel (Chapel Lane, Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 6EP) on Saturday’s evening, where renown Slavicist and translator Charles Kraszewski will give an informative lecture on the connections between Kochanowski and Shakespeare’s work and actors Caroline Faber and Aidan Kelly, led by Jason Morell who previously directed this for the Shakespeare’s Globe as a part of Shakespeare & Poland Festival in 2019, will perform the dramatic readings of Kochanowski’s most praised work “The Laments”. The event will be concluded with a Renaissance music concert performed by Despina Homatidou (harpsichord) and Matthew Nisbet (lute).

The programme of events:

25 June 2022

Anne Hathaway’s Cottage
Cottage Ln, Shottery, Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 9HH

10 am- 2.30 pm – Free Workshops and Activities for Everyone

• Workshops running throughout the day: includes Jan Kochanowski miniature bust making, creative writing, Renaissance dance workshop, badge making, Shakespeare and Kochanowski sculpture making from recycled materials.
• Ground Tour Through the Poetry of Renaissance Period – immersive experience tour (Graham Tyrer and actors from The Bear Pit Theatre)
• Live Music Performance

4 pm-5 pm – Jan Kochanowski Sculpture Unveiling

The Guild Chapel – Book in advance
Chapel Lane, Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 6EP

6pm—7.30pm
• Lecture „Jan Kochanowski: Poland’s Shakespeare … and Marlowe, and Jonson, and Donne…” by Prof. Charles Kraszewski (US)
• The performance of ‘Laments’ by Jan Kochanowski directed by Jason Morell
• Renaissance music concert (harpsichord Despina Homatidou and lute Matthew Nisbet)

Register here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/shakespeers-celebrating-jan-kochanowski-and-poetry-tickets-354644470157

26 June 2022

Anne Hathaway’s Cottage
Cottage Ln, Shottery, Stratford-upon-Avon CV37 9HH
10am–4pm Free Workshops and Activities for Everyone

• Free Workshops: Jan Kochanowski miniature bust making, creative writing, Renaissance dance workshop, Badge making, Shakespeare and Kochanowski sculpture making from recycled materials.
• Live Music Performance

Born into nobility, Jan Kochanowski studied at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, and

later, between 1552 and 1559, at the University of Padua in Italy. Besides his achievements in versification, he employed with great artistry a number of literary forms, such as hymns, lyrical songs, epigrams, satires, translations of the Bible, and more. Kochanowski’s place was also unique in Slavic literature generally, and he is considered to have had no equals until

the 19th century. A true humanist, he was the best representative of the Renaissance period in Central and Eastern Europe.

Kochanowski’s deeply moving ‘Laments’, written following the death of Kochanowski’s 2-year-old daughter Ursula, are regarded as the poet’s most famous work. Nobel Prize winner and translator Seamus Heaney wrote that ‘Laments’ hold ‘as foundational a place in Polish literature as Shakespeare’s sonnets in English.’

The statue has been fully funded by the Polish Cultural Institute in London and supported by the Polish community in Warwickshire, and was offered to Shakespeare Birthplace Trust.

The rich history of Polish institutions and individuals living in Warwickshire manifests through decades of contributions to the cultural mosaic of the region. They have enriched the local community by both embracing its customs and traditions, but at the same time bringing in their own cultural heritage. In that sense, this statue also represents the blending and bonding of cultures, wishing for the unity and understanding, which both playwrights’ works so often addressed.

The statue will represent the strong cultural links which exist between Britain and Poland. It is also an expression of the friendship and cooperation that exists between the countries’ cultural communities.

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