In Memoriam: Izabela Cywińska-Michałowska (1935-2023)

    Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

    Remembering Izabela Cywińska-Michałowska, a trailblazing figure in Polish theater and former Minister of Culture, who left an indelible mark on the artistic landscape.


    Izabela Cywińska, a luminary in Polish theater, passed away on December 23, 2023. Born in Lviv on March 22, 1935, she earned degrees in ethnography from the University of Warsaw and in directing from the State Theatre School in Warsaw.

    Known for directing plays in Białystok, Warsaw, and Nowa Huta, she served as the director of the Wojciech Bogusławski Theatre in Kalisz from 1970 to 1973. Notably, she revived the New Theatre in Poznań in 1973, leading it until 1989. Despite being interned during martial law for staging “Oskarżony: czerwiec pięćdziesiąt sześć” in 1981, her commitment to artistic expression endured.

    From September 12, 1989, to January 12, 1991, Cywińska-Michałowska served as the Minister of Culture and Arts in Tadeusz Mazowiecki’s cabinet. Her impact extended to the Ateneum Theatre in Warsaw, where she assumed the role of artistic director from March 2008 to July 2011.

    A recipient of the Officer’s Order of Polonia Restituta (2011) and the Gold Medal “Zasłużony Kulturze Gloria Artis” (2005), Cywińska-Michałowska leaves behind a legacy enriched by her contributions to theater and film.

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