The Living Room


Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards

Directed by Thomas Richards


24th Oct. 2018, 19:00

25th Oct. 2018, 17:00

26th Oct. 2018, 17:00

27th Oct. 2018, 17:00

WHERE: Shen Estate Teahouse Theatre 

Duration: 105 minutes (without intermission)

Performed with actions, ancient songs of tradition and texts, without subtitles 


It is a fluid river, this Living Room, a direct filiation and enrichment of the "Action," in which even the uncorking of a bottle of champagne takes place exactly at the right moment. Here: the opportune time, the Kairos, that eternal instant in which everything seems to align in harmony […] Then, when the ritual-show ends and fades, an absolute silence remains suspended, an intimacy created between performers and spectators: one "awakens," with a whisper, a soft whisper, a heart that beats light and constant.

— Andrea Pocheddu, gli Stati Generali

…The creators take us to their home, making it ours. We are guests, who through community and self-exploration become members of a household participating in a great feast and ritual that constitutes an affirmation of life. Everyone is welcome. Just accept the invitation.

— Natalia Brajner, Didaskalia

Striking solos, duets and trios perform gesturally and vocally, without any music or sound effects. The level of investment of the performers is stunning and their joyous and emotive storytelling is special. In addition to the songs there are brief words of dialog or meaningful poetic abstracts spoken by the actors in English. This is a cross between going to someone’s home for a gathering and visual and aural storytelling, but much better! There is depth and humanity in everything they do, so the theme of the performance has a range of emotion and touches the fibers of the soul.

— Jo Tomalin, “Outstanding Show” in Edinburgh Fringe Review

The Living Room is a sublime work, full of songs, an impeccable setting, and supernatural performances in which one is guaranteed to be moved. We could write rivers of ink on this incomparable performance, but I prefer silence. If ever, dear reader, you happen to cross this performance on your way, cancel what you have to do… If we never really knew what the mystery of Grotowski was, Richards’ work answers our curiosity completely…

— Sandro Romero, Kiosko Teatral Bogota

Listening, watching, receiving... The Living Room is a room that makes one move from one age to another, from small to large, from youth to adulthood, from a living room to the world, from solitude to community. It is right, and it is quite rare, a trial where the forms of fear and joy, of questioning and answers... are called upon by the breath and vibration.

— Yannick Butel, L’insensé

About The Living Room

The Living Room, an opus in the domain of Art as vehicle, takes us home, to a place in which we welcome an other. By starting from this fundamental action that can take place in a living room, we enter an investigation into how the potentialities of performance craft can both enrich and be enriched by daily interpersonal relations and realities. How can our room come alive? How can one be with another in such a way that the quotidian slides seamlessly into the non-quotidian? Here the witness has a chance to shed his anonymity, being an individual, a guest. Within our meeting a performative event unfolds, structured and precise, a living stream of actions based on work with songs of tradition, as well as texts exploring what it takes to awaken ourselves faced with ourselves, the other, and the world.

About Thomas Richards

Thomas Richards, Artistic Director of Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards, began his apprenticeship with Grotowski in 1985, and their work together developed until Grotowski’s passing in 1999. “The nature of my work with Richards has the character of ‘transmission’; to transmit to him that to which I have arrived in my life: the inner aspect of the work,” stated Grotowski. In 1996, as the direction of the practical work already concentrated itself in Richards’ hands, Grotowski changed the name of the Workcenter to include that of Richards. In 2008, at the Workcenter, Mr. Richards founded the Focused Research Team in Art as Vehicle, which has three performances under his direction currently performed throughout the world, The Living Room, The Underground: A Response to Dostoevsky and L’Heure Fugitive. Since 2016, Richards also leads the Workcenter Studio in Residence, which has two new performances under his direction, Sin Fronteras and Gravedad. Richards is author of At Work with Grotowski on Physical Actions and Heart of Practice (Routledge), published in numerous languages throughout the world.


Director: Thomas Oliver Richards

Technician: Antonin Chambon

Performers: Antonin Chambon, Benoit Chevelle, Guilherme Kirchheim, 

                    Jessica Losilla- Hébrail, Sara Montoya, Tara Ostiguy, Thomas Richards

About Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards

Considered one of the most important theatre practitioners of the 20th century, Jerzy Grotowski revolutionized contemporary theatre. He changed the way Western theatre practitioners and performance theorists conceive of the audience--actor relationship, theatre staging and the craft of acting. Perhaps best known for his notion of “poor theatre,” Grotowski’s practice extends beyond the confines of conventional theatre assuming a long-term and systematic exploration of the possibilities of the human being in a performance context.

The Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski was founded in 1986 at the invitation of the Centro per la Sperimentazione e la Ricerca Teatrale of Pontedera, Italy. At the Workcenter, Grotowski developed a line of performance research known as “Art as Vehicle” for 13 years until his death in 1999. Within this creative investigation, he worked very closely with Thomas Richards whom he called his “essential collaborator,” eventually changing the name of the Workcenter to include that of Richards. During those years of intense practical work, Grotowski transmitted to Richards the fruit of his lifetime research, what he called “the inner aspect of the work.” Since Grotowski’ s passing in 1999, Richards and his colleagues have continued to develop the essence of the Workcenter’s performing arts research, while at the same time exploring new creative directions.

The Workcenter now includes three performing teams with 25 artists hailing from Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, France, Spain, Chile, Italy, Lebanon, Poland and the USA. The teams are currently engaged in a wide variety of creative explorations, practical and theoretical, which embody their vocation and their conscious intention to function as a catalyst for personal and interpersonal transformations. Today, Workcenter performing events take place in a variety of places: theatres, industrial buildings, churches, concert halls, bars, cafés, and private houses and dwellings, within different social and cultural contexts.