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At the beginning of February the Wrocław Mime Theatre is debuting Historia brzydoty [History of Ugliness], directed and choreographed by Anna Piotrowska. The piece draws inspiration from Umberto Eco’s On Ugliness, a canonical literary work exploring aesthetic theory and presenting the reader with a series of different, often surprising, facets of ugliness. Here Eco’s opus inspires questions on the contemporary perception of female beauty. The production juxtaposes two conventions – dance and miming. The premiere is taking place on 7 February (7 pm) at the Polski Theatre in Wrocław (Scena na Świebodzkim, pl. Orląt Lwowskich 20c), and will be followed with performances on 8 and 9 February (7 pm).

About the piece:

Contemporary concepts of beauty and ugliness, along with the process of aestheticisation of life’s every aspect, trigger an increasing willingness to conform to the model of female attractiveness and femininity that is promoted in the media and that is bound up in slender figure, long legs, large breasts and lips. The outer package has become more important than anything we have to offer as human beings. Intelligence and emotionality have become uncomfortable features, as getting to know them requires involvement and effort. To make our relations with other people easier, we become superficial, focusing solely on external displays of beauty/ugliness. The contemporary model of femininity has become flat, like the pictures published in women’s magazines. Working on the piece we have been asking ourselves: Is this model real? Is it possible to implement it in real life or is it just an illusion created by airbrushing? Most importantly we have been asking if today’s relation between beauty and ugliness makes it possible to build lasting relationships between people and if it may provide us with a real sense of self-worth?

Historia brzydoty [History of Ugliness]
direction, choreography, stage and lighting design: Anna Piotrowska
music: Michał Mackiewicz
costume design: Anna Piotrowska/Adam Królikowski

Anaza – Izabela Cześniewicz
Anaszka – Agnieszka Dziewa
Anaria – Maria Grzegorowska
Anagi – Agnieszka Kulińska
Anakha – Monika Rostecka

Historia brzydotywas produced in association with the Laboratory of Movement, a project affiliated with the European Capital of Culture 2016.

Partners: Impart 2016Festival Office, Institute of Music and Dance


Photo competition

Linking to the piece, the Wrocław Mime Theatre has launched a photography competition for the best picture “capturing the fine line between beauty and ugliness. A line that is subtle, evasive, oblique, or perhaps verges on caricature. They may display something ugly and beautiful at the same time, or portray a thing that could actually fit the beauty canon if it wasn’t for a small ‘but’. Three photographs which will surprise the jury the most will be awarded prizes.”

You may submit your photos on 28 January at the latest (each participant may submit an unlimited number of photos). Submitting a picture to the competition is considered as a consent for their publication on the theatre’s Facebook page with an indication of the author’s name. Results will be published on 4 February 2014 at the latest.


First Prize – invitation for two persons to the premiere of Historia brzydoty; dinner voucher for two persons at the restaurant Pieprz i Wanilia worth PLN 100.

Two equivalent distinctions – assorted invitations (invitation for two persons to a post-premiere performance of Historia brzydotyand invitation for two persons to a chosen performance of the Wrocław Mime Theatre*)

*excluding premieres, festival showcases and special events

Submit your photos

For more information, go

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