Ours is an International theatre festival devoted to William Shakespeare– the only such festival in Poland and one of the biggest in Europe. The festival has taken place regularly since 1997, at the end of July and beginning of August, but its beginnings date back to 1993 and the first Gdańsk Shakespeare Days initiated by the Theatrum Gedanense Foundation. Since 2008, the festival has been organized by the Gdańsk Shakespeare Festival and the Theatrum Gedanense Foundation and has presented more than two hundred theatre groups from Poland and abroad – Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Russia, Iceland, Georgia, South Korea, United States, Israel, Japan, Iran and Argentina to name a few. Festival guests have included the most acknowledged interpreters of Shakespeare such as: Peter Brook, Luk Perceval, Romeo Castellucci, Elizabeth LeCompte, Lev Dodin,
Oskaras Koršunovas, Robert Sturua, Silviu Purcarete, Declan Donellan and Eimuntas Nekrošius.
The event is accompanied by the prestigious national competition for the Best Shakespeare Production with the Golden Yorick as the main prize. ShakespeareOFF is a festival strand of alternative theatre and fringe presentations inspired by Shakespeare from Poland and abroad. Since 2017 it also includes a competition.
Our festival is a place to experience actors, animators and critics from around the globe. From 2014 the Festival has had its own main venue in the Gdańsk Shakespeare Theatre, a brand new building giving unusual possibilities for creating theatre productions. The theatre has an opening roof which allows for performances in daylight, while an adaptable stage and auditorium means that the theatre can be configured as a traditional Italian ‘box’ stage, Elizabethan thrust stage, in the round, or even as a room with a 400 m2 of a flat surface as needed. These features provide many inspirations and new opportunities for artists, directors, and designers. The festival organizers have been developing their cultural ties with organisations from around the world through the creation of international projects and co-productions. The festival also initiated the European Shakespeare Festivals Network (ESFN) which was founded in Gdańsk and has its headquarters there.
Gdańsk Shakespeare Festival is the only festival in Poland, and one of just five in Europe, to receive the prestigious EFFE Award – Europe for Festivals, Festivals for Europe – which is the European Festivals Association’s mark of recognition for Europe’s most exciting arts festivals and which is given by European Festivals Association with the support of European Commission and European Parliament .