After studying at Wroclaw Pantomime Theatre and apprenticing with renowned puppet theatre artist Andrzej Dziedziul at Jelenia Gora Theatre of Animation, Dream Tale Puppets founder and theatre artist, Jacek Zuzanski earned his MFA from The Ludwik Solski’s State Theatre School and his Stage Directing Certificate from Poland’s Ministry for Art and Culture. He studied drawing at The Academy of Fine Arts (Poland) and served as assistant director for Jan Dorman’s production of King Roger at Lublin Puppet Theatre,
Significant part of his formative, theatrical experience comprised of participation in workshops and seminars led by world renowned theatre artists, among them the actors of celebrated avant-garde companies Theatre Laboratory of Jerzy Grotowski and Eugenio Barba’s Odin Teatret.
Mr. Zuzanski initiated his professional life by producing and performing solo puppet shows and by facilitating acting training for youth at the culture center in Wroclaw. He propelled his career by directing outdoor and street puppet shows, site-specific spectacles, and actions with Group of Theatrical Actions, a Wroclaw-based troupe he founded in 1984.
Pictures by: Pawel Syposz, Marek Stanielewicz, Radosław Pietraga, Michal Jezierski, Pawel Pawlik
He soon after directed five productions at the Wroclaw Puppet Theatre and Walbrzych Puppet Theatre.
A co-founder of TEART Association – Program of Theatrical Actions in 1995, Mr. Zuzanski directed its indoor and outdoor puppet shows, spectacles, parades, and other theatrical actions.
Pictures by: Mirek Koch, Marzena Zawal, Jacek Zuzanski, Izabela Rogowska
Interdisciplinary and collaborative teaching methods are fundamental to Mr. Zuzanski’s work. In his practice, artmaking, research, scholarship, and teaching are often inseparable. In addition to directing student productions, where youth are both performers and devising partners in his creative work, he’s led trainings in acting, acting with puppets, puppet building, and projects where professionals and experienced practitioners explore creative techniques and work processes alongside youth and children.
Mr. Zuzanski spearheaded TEART’s Spells. Within five years of the evolution of the program designed for Wroclaw residents of economically disadvantaged neighborhoods TEART’s artists produced and presented shows, conducted outdoor and indoor workshops for children, parades, spectacles, and concerts.
Pictures by: Andrzej Łuc, Jacek Zuzanski
Jacek’s undergraduate teaching includes position of Assistant Professor at the State Drama School, Puppetry Department, Krakow, Poland and the Studio of Puppetry at Children of Zaglebie Theatre, Bedzin, Poland.
His after school teaching for youth and young adults at the time when he lived in Wroclaw, Poland included the positions of a theatre instructor at culture centers, leading Actor’s Training courses in high schools, and ongoing acting trainings by TEART Association, teaching at TEART’s summer camps and theatrical retreats and series of professional development curses for German actors and theatre teachers.
Pictures by: Maciej Bury, Marek Stanielewicz, Jacek Zuzanski
Through Association TEART’s partnerships with cultural organizations including International Youth Meeting Center (Oswiecim/Auschwitz); Krzyzowa Foundation (Poland); Theater und Spielberatung Baden-Wurttemberg E.V., Heilderberg; and European Theater Institute Theater School (Berlin), he directed ensembles of artists and theatre teachers in leading workshop projects and developing productions with international groups of youth and young adults in academic and informal settings.
Once Jacek moved to Massachusetts in 2001, he focused on fusing his directing and teaching practices through partnerships with Island Theatre Workshop, Cape Cod Conservatory, Falmouth High School, and Falmouth Academy. He led dozens of after school classes and projects for children in cooperation with several cultural centers and schools among them: Cape Cod Children’s Museum, John Wesley United Methodist Church, Falmouth, MA; Puppet Showplace Theater, Brookline, MA; Polish Theatre Institute NYC.
Pictures by: Marty Tulloch, Clyde Tyndale, and Susan Moffat
He’s directed every Dream Tale Puppets production since the company’s founding and developed Dream Tale Puppets’ signature approach: connecting creative work with research, experimentation, and teaching.
Mr. Zuzanski designed puppets and sets of his early solo shows, as well as for most of the shows, spectacles, and actions he directed with Group of Theatrical Action, Wroclaw Puppet Theatre, Association TEART, Wroclaw, Poland, Art-I-Gras Inc., Cape Cod Children’s Museum, and Dream Tale Puppets. He built puppets for his solo shows and Dream Tale Puppets and directed and joined teams of builders for shows produced by Group of Theatrical Actions and Association TEART.
Writing is a cornerstone of Jacek’s work. He wrote stage adaptations for his productions and scenarios for parades, actions, and spectacles in Poland. He co-writes adaptations for Dream Tale Puppets, and he enjoys adapting folktales, fairytales, classic and contemporary children’s literature and writing original plays for youth productions, and workshops.
Jacek started his theatrical career as a performer, both in solo and independent productions, as well as in all Group of Theatrical Actions events. After decades of exclusive focus on directing, designing, and teaching, he began performing again when founding Dream Tale Puppets in 2005.