I've been secretly a fan of creative mornings for a long time, so I was thrilled to find out that a new chapter of CM was launching in Warsaw. The news got even better when it turned out I would be able to attend the 3rd CM gathering with a speaker whom I've admired for a long long time - Michal Zebrowski - a talented actor and theatre director.
Creative mornings is a great initiative started by a designer and bloger that doesn't need introduction - swiss miss based in New York. As a freelancer she felt she'd like to connect with like minded creatives and started a free monthly lecture series; to meet people, create an environment nurturing real relationships and creativity, all of this over a free breakfast in her studio in Dumbo, Brooklyn. Now creative mornings have grown to a global not-for-profit organisation with over 50 chapters, sharing the same simple concept. It's awesome.
This morning I made my way to the Palace of Knowledge and Culture with my sister (a building dominating the skyline of Warsaw). The event was hosted by an independent theatre Szoste Pietro (the Sixth Level, as it is located on that level of the building). We were looking forward to seeing the theatre as a friend from our childhood was an actress there and we've never had a chance to be see it before.
The theme of the talk this month was "Connect". Michal talked about his inspiration to start an independent theatre, including their struggles and victories, and then focused on discussing all the elements that need to interact and interconnect to produce a great play. He mentioned a concept of theatre as a brand, aiming to develop a range of cultural products that will appeal to the consumers - the audience. It was interesting to hear about the creative world that is in fact rather foreign to me: while I can appreciate theatre it's not a form of entertainment I enjoy very often.
On reflection, I think a part of the success of Szoste Pietro theatre is due to the struggles they faced as a new commercial venture, independent of the public funding. As in other forms of art, constraints fuel creativity, as Michal said, the next year's budget is not guaranteed and has to be earnt by approval and attendance of the audience. It that way it is art that has to be created with the consumer in mind. A tricky balance to strike especially when working with some of the best and most ambitious actors of the Polish theatre scene, yet Szoste Pietro must be doing it well, as they've recently celebrated their 3rd birthday and sold thousands of tickets.
Congratulations to the organisers, the hosts and the speaker of course. It was a very creative morning and I can't wait for the next gathering. Here's to many more CM meetings!
There's no CM chapter in Scotland yet... (which is too tempting...)
More information:About Creative Mornings
About the mind behind the idea for CM
Creative Mornings has two chapters in Poland: Warsaw and Krakow
Here are some pictures from the event (please excuse the poor picture quality, I only have a small digital camera with me)
Top picture: copyrights of Creative Mornings, illustration by Tom Froese