Tadeusz Kantor: Umarła Klasa · The Dead Class & The Theatre of Death, 1975


artist's book
Warszawa, Poland
Galeria Foksal, Galeria Krzysztofory

In stock

Set of publications relating to the pinnacle of Kantor’s carreer with the production of Umarła Klasa and the publication of his thesis / manifesto The Theatre of Death.
1. Umarła Klasa · The Dead Class
Kraków: Galeria Krzysztofory, 1975 (11), 30×21 cm. Softcover. Stapled. Unpaginated. Polish; English. Artist book / theatre programme for the premiere of Kantor’s work by teatr cricot2
2. The Theatre of Death
Kraków: Galeria Foksal, 1975 (11), 29×20,5 cm. Softcover. Stapled. Unpaginated. English. Artist book / thesis / manifesto published in conjunction with the production of Umarła Klasa.


The Theatre of Death was a watershed in Kantor’s theatre. It began with the production of “The Dead Class”, made in 1975. It is widely considered a masterpiece of the theatrical art of the 20th century. With this production, Kantor embarked on the last stage of his theatrical oeuvre. Kantor used the concept of death in order that the theatre could once more evoke feelings. “Death or even thinking about death has more emotional impact than those stemming from the awareness of life”, Isabel Tejeda observed in the catalogue of the exhibition of “The Dead Class”. This is how, in his text “School Class”, Tadeusz Kantor described the moment that the idea of the production came to him: “The year is 1971 or 72. Seaside. In a small village. Almost a hamlet. A single street. Small, poor, single-storey buildings. One is probably  the most shabby of all: the school. It was summer and the summer holidays. The school was empty and abandoned. It had just one classroom. You could look inside through the dusty panes of the two abject windows, placed low down, just above the level of the pavement. This gave the impression that the school had sunk below the street level. I glued my face to the window pane. I stared for a long time into the dark, murky depths of my memory. Once more, I was a small boy, with my inky fingers, wetted with spit, turning the pages of the reading primer; the grain of the floor had been worn away with constant scrubbing and the bare feet of the country lads suited the floor very well. Whitewashed walls, render crumbling at the bottom, on the wall – a black cross.”

Theatre Institute in Warsaw

On 11th September [1975] a public rehearsal of Dead Class took place at the Krzysztofory Gallery, accompanied by a book, Dead Class Manifesto. Dead Class had its premiere on 15th November at the Krzysztofory Gallery, and was performed in Cracow until early December and in Łódź in mid-December. Simultaneously Foksal Gallery published the Theatre of Death manifesto, in which Kantor proclaimed a new stage of development of Cricot 2 Theatre.

Tadeusz Kantor Foundation

condition: Inoffensive, mild handling wear due to size and thin paper stock used. In Excellent overall condition.