Roman Polák

After the graduation from high school in Nové Mesto nad Váhom, where he did active work in amateur theatre, Polák started his studies at the Academy of Performing Arts where he majored in theatre direction in Miloš Pietor’s class. After the completion of his studies in 1982, Polák worked for the drama department at the State Theatre Košice and later, from 1984 for the Slovak National Uprising Theatre in Martin. In Martin, where he worked as a full-time director, he produced a great number of productions owing to which he was – in the 1980s – included in the list of the most important Slovak directors. With the Martin ensemble, Polák staged Touches and Connection (1988) and Baal (1989) which would later represent Czechoslovak theatre at European and international festivals (Wroclaw, Torun, Moscow, Belgrade). The pinnacle of success of both productions was a wave of positive reactions from European critics in Edinburgh. The Guardian daily even awarded Touches and Connections its prestigious Guardian’s Critic’s Choice prize.

Between 1990 and 1996 Polák had no permanent contract. In this period, however, he cooperated mostly with ASTORKA Korzo ’90 Theatre, the Slovak National Theatre and Andrej Bagar Theatre in Nitra. In 1996–2000, Polák worked as a full-time director in ASTORKA Korzo ’90 Theatre. In 2000, he became the artistic director at the State Theatre Košice where he remained until 2002, only to return to ASTORKA Korzo ’90 in 2005 to take the position of the artistic director and theatre director. As a well-established director, he started to collaborate with international theatres – in 1992, he produced Macbeth with the Shakespeare Repertory Theatre (Chicago, USA) and worked diligently for Czech theatres in Brno and Prague. In April 2006, he became the director of the Drama Department of the Slovak National Theatre where he stayed until May 2008. In the period 2013–2017, he worked as the director the Drama Department of the Slovak National Theatre again. In this position, he has initiated the establishment of an international theatre festival called that presents the works of theatres from the Visegrad countries as well as work by selected partners from the European Theatre Convention (ETC).

In addition to theatre direction, Roman Polák also works as a film director. He contributed to several domestic and co-production film and television projects (Amina’s Memory, New Suffering of Anton, The Devil). He has won several nominations and awards for his direction of drama and opera productions in various surveys and at all kinds of festivals. Polák is also active as a pedagogue: from 1994 to 1996, he taught part-time at Janáček Academy of Performing Arts in Brno, and in 2007 at the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava. He became a full-time teacher at the Theatre Faculty of the Academy of Performing Arts in 2011 and has since taught at its Department of Direction and Dramaturgy.