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2016 Fringe exhibitions – to be announced April 2016



2015 exhibition was

Ryszard Piotrowski

Sensuality in Marble and Bronze


marble and bronze sculptures by the renowned Polish artist, accompanied by an exhibition of drawings


Piotrowski studied at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts and his work has been presented in group exhibitions in Poland, Italy, France and Holland. His work is sold internationally. This was his first solo exhibition outside Warsaw.


An exhibition catalogue is still available as a 2016 calendar.




+ archive, articles and on-line exhibition:


I will always vote against – a tribute to Michael Almaz »


Boguslaw Schaeffer exhibition (archive) »


Online Archive Exhibition

BOGUSLAW SCHAEFFER: Music and Graphics




“I always vote AGAINST!”


Tomek Borkowy – Artistic Director of Universal Arts – pays tribute to the writer of Cut! the visionary dramatist and director Michael Almaz (1922-2012)


Michael Almaz was born in Tel-Aviv and studied theatre in New York. Back in his native city he founded a Zira (Arena) theatre that specialised in controversial and experimental shows. His play Across the Border was the first to deal with Palestinian refugees following the establishment of Israel.  It was followed by a landmark production of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, which he staged in 1953, immediately after the Paris premiere and well before the London and New York openings.  In the same decade he produced and directed number of plays by Antonin Artaud and Eugene Ionesco.  Almaz also wrote more than 50 plays and a number of short stories and articles.


I met Michael at the beginning of 1983, about six months after I escaped from Poland, which was then under Martial Law.  Despite my very poor English he gave me a job as an Assistant Stage Manager in his Cafe Theatre Upstairs, a fringe venue on top of the Bear & Staff pub, opposite Wyndham’s Theatre in London’s West End.  A month later I became Stage Manager.  Four weeks later, Michael went to Israel to cover a story for the BBC World Service and he left me with the task of running rehearsals.  It was another re-casting of Intimacy, based on a story by Jean-Paul Sartre and with Marina Sirtis (later Deanna Troi in Star Trek TNG).  When Michael came back after four days of rehearsals, we showed him the progress we had made.  He was a bit puzzled and said “Tomek I didn’t direct… this …?!”  I answered with more than a little fright: “Of course not, I did. But I cannot direct like you”.  So Michael looked at me for a moment and told me to finish the job.  It went under my name as the director.  After the opening he bought me a beer and invited me to join him as co-director of The Cafe Theatre Upstairs. He was a visionary thinker and producer who sensed that I could be an asset to his theatre not only as a SM or a stage director.


Almaz called himself an Anarchist-Pacifist, which was reflected in all his writing.  His knowledge of history was fantastic and we had a lot of historical and political discussions.  I remember the UK election of 9 June 1983, during which I was directing his play The Underground Man, based on Dostoyevsky’s Notes From Underground.  Michael came to the theatre to check on how we were doing.  After seeing that we were working hard he said “OK, you carry on and I am going to go to vote”.  I looked at him in disbelief – “Michael you are an Anarchist!  Who you are going to vote for?” He answered very calmly  “I always vote against.”



In 1983 we decided that the Artaud Theatre Company would bring my production of Michael’s Dialogue With a Dying Man, adapted from The Death of the Marquis de Sade by the man himself, to the Edinburgh Fringe. 


We performed at the Little Lyceum, situated in “the hole in the ground” where the new Traverse has since been built.  This was when I fell in love with Edinburgh and the Festival.  And then in 1990 I came back to Edinburgh with my own Ab Ovo Theatre Company presenting Almaz’s The Underground Man.  I performed in it alongside Sophie Aldred, the last Dr Who assistant from the early era.  The press branded us “Dostoyevsky-ian characters that could not be bettered”. That is how my relationship with Hill Street Theatre started, and really all thanks to Michael.  Cut! is the first of Michael’s plays that I am going to revive in the next couple of years, as his writing deserves more recognition.


I owe Michael a lot as will a large number of theatre practitioners who worked with him including Simon Callow and Muriel Romanes. I will always cherish my memories of the time I spent talking and working with him.


Tomek Borkowy







Online Archive Exhibition


Music and Graphics


In 2010 Aure Porta & Universal Arts presented an event to celebrate the 80th Birthday of Poland's most prolific composer and playwright Boguslaw Schaeffer in the form of 'Era Schaeffera' at the EICC in Edinburgh. 


Now Universal Arts is presenting a permanent online exhibition of Schaeffer's graphics and music here.