The Jewish Drama Competition


Estera Rachel and Ida Kamińskie Jewish Theater in Warsaw has the pleasure to announce the Szymon Szurmiej Contemporary Jewish Drama International Competition.

Jewish Drama Competition - logo

The competition is open to the public. We welcome all authors who write in Polish and any other language, however, for the work to be accepted in the Competition, it must be translated into one of the following five languages: Polish, Yiddish, English, Russian, Hebrew.

The work submitted to the Competition may not be an adaptation, but must be the author's original work that has not been previously published or staged. One author may submit one work to the Competition.

The Competition aims to find new, valuable dramatic works inspired by broadly defined Jewish-related topics and to promote contemporary theatrical literature that fosters the development of dialog and understanding regardless of the differences between people due to race, gender, religion, and social situation.

The idea of the Competition - the contemporary Jewish drama - is part of the artistic quest conducted by the Jewish Theater. A theatre that remembers and is not cut off from the present time: it is not a museum. A theater that is a living place cultivating social and intergenerational dialog between cultures, a dialog with history, taking up not only subjects dedicated to the Holocaust and the memory thereof but also identity in general, searching for one's place in the world, dealing with religion and customs, enslavement and freedom, emancipation, violence (also domestic violence), orphans, rejected, travelers, migrants, and speaks about it using a rich, modern language of the contemporary stage.

The Jewish Theater (the place and the ensemble) is a symbol of a contemporary fate of the Jewish community, it is inseparably tied to Poland’s history and its activity could be acknowledged as a kaddish, the prayer for those who are no longer with us.

The works signed with an emblem should be sent to the address of the Jewish Theater by September 15th, 2021. Any works sent after the expiry of the deadline (the proof confirming that the submission was sent before the deadline expired is the postmark) will not be considered by the Jury. By December 6th, 2021 the Jury will award the Grand Prize (30,000 Polish zloty) and three distinctions (each 5,000 Polish zloty).

The composition of the jury, organizational and technical details connected with the Competition as well as submission form have been published on the website of the Jewish Theater.

Full of hope and eager, we are waiting for your Works.

Gołda Tencer
Director of Estera Rachel and Ida Kamińskie Jewish Theater

Jury composition


Jury composition:

  • Tomasz Miłkowski (chairman, theatre critic),
  • Gołda Tencer (director of the Jewish Theatre, actress, directior),
  • Małgorzata Sikorska-Miszczuk (playwright),
  • Jacek Cieślak (theatre critic),
  • Remigiusz Grzela (literary director of the Jewish Theater, playwright),
  • Marzena Dobosz (secretary of the chapter, theatre critic).

On behalf of the Jewish Theater, the coordinator is Roksana Szmigiero.

Organizer: Estera Rachel and Idy Kamińske Jewish Theater.

Partner: Stowarzyszenie Autorów ZAiKS.

Date: 12 April 2021 – 15 September 2021.

The prizes will be announced on December 6th, 2021.


Szymon Szurmiej. The Competition's Patron

A stage and film, radio and television actor and director, Jewish community activist, theater director, and member of the Polish Parliament.

He was born on 18 June 1923 in Łuck in Volhynia. He died on 16 July 2014 in Warsaw.
During the 2nd World War, after 1941, he was sent to the labor camp in Kolyma and then, after three years, even further to Taraz in Kazakhstan. During his time in exile, he had his first experience on stage, playing in a theater in, among others, Almaty, where he graduated from the actors’ school. In 1946, forced to leave his homeland, he moved to new Poland and settled in Wrocław.

Having started his directing career on 30 October 1951 in the Polish Theater in Wrocław and acting career one year later also in the same theater, in 1967 he became a director in the Jewish Theater in Warsaw and as of September 1st, 1969 until his death, he was also its manager and director. He created an Actors’ Studio in the Jewish Theater; it was supposed to help to complete the shattered ensemble because forced by antisemitic witch hunt driven by the communistic authorities after March 1968, many citizens with Jewish origins had to emigrate. With the help of the Actors’ Studio, Szymon Szurmiej saved the theater from collapse and prevented closing down.

During his term, the Jewish Theater had around sixty premieres, including: “Zielone pola” by Peretz Hirszbejn (1969), “Tewje the Milkman” by Sholem Aleichem (1970), “Wielka wygrana” by Sholem Aleichem (1972), “Pieśń mojego narodu” (1974), “Zmierzch” by Izaak Babel (1976), “Planet Ro” by Ryszard Marek Groński (1978), “Ballada o ślubnym welonie” by Peretz Hirszbejn (1990), “We, the Polish Jews” by Julian Tuwim and Itzhak Katzenelson (1993), “Magic Night” by Sholem Aleichem (1996), “Walizka” by Małgorzata Sikorska-Miszczuk (2011).

On the Jewish Theatre's stage, the audience knew him as an excellent, characteristic actor, who was able to skillfully combine dramatic expression with a sense of humor. His favorite roles include Willy Loman in “Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller, Hocmach in “Wondering Stars” by Sholem Aleichem, Tzaddik in “The Dybbuk” by S. Ansky, Mendel Krzyk in Isaak Babel’s “Sunset.”

On November 9th, 2012, the last premiere he directed took place. It was “The Night of the Whole Life” telling the story about the last night of Jerzy Korczak.

As an actor, he was featured in many movies, such as “Wniebowstąpienie” (1968), “Sanatorium pod Klepsydrą” (1973), “Śmierć prezydenta” (1977), “Dybuk” (1979), “Austeria” (1982), “Wenn alle Deutschen schlafen” (1994) and the famous American TV show “The Winds of War” directed by Dan Curtis.

Szymon Szurmiej fought for the revival of the Jewish life in Poland, the return to the Jewish culture, the memory of the murdered world of shtetls, and big-city Jewish communes. Under his management, the Jewish Theater cared about preserving and developing the Yiddish language.

He was a devoted member and activist of Polish and international Jewish organizations. He was engaged in initiating and developing good neighborly relations between Poland and all countries in Europe and around the world. His dedication was recognized with the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. As an artist and social activist, he was awarded the highest distinctions, such as Order of Polonia Restituta Third Class, Krzyż Komandorski, the Commander's Cross (1993), National Order of the Legion of Honor (France, 2001), Order of Polonia Restituta First Class, Krzyż Wielki, the Grand Cross (2003), Golden Medal Gloria Artis (2005).

In 1986, he was appointed the Chairman of the Main Board of the Social and Cultural Society of Jews in Poland.

Szymon Szurmiej came from a long line of actors.


We are pleased to announce that the jury consisting of Tomasz Miłkowski (chairman), Gołda Tencer, Małgorzata Sikorska-Miszczuk, Jacek Cieślak, Remigiusz Grzela and Marzena Dobosz (secretary) after long and stormy deliberations chose the winners of the Szymon Szurmiej Contemporary Jewish Drama International Competition.

The winner of the 1st PRIZE is Elżbieta Łapczyńska for the play "Utopia Ship"

THE MINISTER OF CULTURE AND NATIONAL HERITAGE AWARD goes to Marta Szamani Yacoub for the play "Has Anyone Seen Hedwig Klein?"

THE PRIZE OF THE CITY OF WARSAW PRESIDENT was awarded to Iddo Natanyahu (Israel) for the play "Don Samuel Abravanel"

AWARD FOR POLISH ART AWARDED BY TVP KULTURA - for Ewa Sułek for "Jakob's Paddle"

WARSAW GHETTO MUSEUM AWARD - for Jarosław Wójcik for the play "A Room with a View"

THE THEATER INSTITUTE AWARD for Haim Watzman (Israel) for a play "Chair" 

Jury of The Szymon Szurmiej Contemporary Jewish Drama International Competition has granted also THREE AWARDS OF THE JEWISH THEATER IN WARSAW:

Special award FOR MARCH '68 DRAMA to Paweł Mossakowski for the play "Travelers"

Special award for Rich Rubin (US) for the play "Kafka's Joke"

Special award for YIDDISH LANGUAGE PLAY: for an Anthology of Dramas by Michael Felzenbaum (Israel)

Congratulations to all Winners!



General partner


Media patrons

Submission to participate

Submission to participate

Participants deliver their submissions (hereinafter referred to as the “Submission”) in person in the Jewish Theater or send them by post to the following address: Teatr Żydowski im. Estery Rachel i Idy Kamińskich w Warszawie, ul. Senatorska 35, 00-099 Warszawa, with a note “Konkurs im. Szymona Szurmieja”.

Each Submission should include:

  1. one sealed envelope including the Work signed with an emblem (a name consisting of any letters, other than a graphic form) in the form of a computer printout (2 copies, A4 format) and an electronic copy on a CD or pen drive (Word doc/docx file or PDF file; the pages of the printout should be stapled or bound),
  2. the second sealed envelope that includes: the completed Submission form downloaded from the Organizer’s website, containing personal data of the Participant (name, surname, date of birth, telephone number, postal address, e-mail) and a short biographical note (education, occupation, achievements, etc.) as well as the following statement:
    “I declare that I have read the Regulations of the Szymon Szurmiej International Competition. I consent to the processing of my personal data for the purposes of the Competition to the extent and under the Regulations as set out by the policy regulating the processing of personal data defined in Article 10 of the Competition Regulations and I confirm that I have read the said policy.”


  • The Work should be written in one of these laguages: Polish, Jidish, English, Russian or Hebrew. 

  • Deadline of submissions: 15 September 2021, 11.59 PM (the postmark date is decisive)
  • Each Work should be signed with an emblem (a name consisting of any letters, other than a graphic form) 


Contact for organizational matters related to the competition:
Roksana Szmigiero, e-mail:

Contact for media:
Edyta Bach, e-mail:, mobile: +48 501 23 23 02