Grotowski was a Polish theater director and a leading figure of theatrical avant garde of the 20th century.In 1955 Grotowski graduated from the High Theatrical School in Cracow with a degree in acting. Soon after graduation he went on to Moscow to study directing at the Lunacharsky Institute of Theatre Arts (GITIS). During his stay in Moscow, until 1956, he learned about new trends in theatre pioneered by leading Russian figures such as Stanislavsky, Vakhtangov, Meyerhold and Tairov.After returning to Poland Grotowski expanded his studies in directing at the same theatrical school as before (1956-1960). During that period he moved to Opole where he took over the post of director in a local theatre.In 1965 he moved to Wroclaw where he established and led a theatrical company - Laboratorium - which was in itself very innovative but under the overwhelming influence of Grotowski's personality.Grotowski revolutionarized theatre, and, along with his pupil, Eugenio Barba, leader and founder of Odin Teatret, is considered a father of contemporary theatre.Work in Laboratorium produced the Grotowski Technique, a method of education and training for actors. It consisted of many exercises that emphasized control of body and voice.He was the author of Towards a Poor Theatre (1968), where he declared that theatre should not, because it could not, compete against the overwhelming spectacle of film and should instead focus on the very root of the act of theatre: actors in front of spectators.Grotowski, as he wrote and published his work, became renowned and received numerous invitations to work in the most prominent drama schools, theatre companies and universities in Europe and America. Most of these he declined, preferring instead to stay with his actors in his small 'laboratory', in relative obscurity.He was doctor honoris causa of University of Chicago and College de France professor in France.Grotowski, was one of Peter Brook's major influences, was an advocate of stripping away the surface trappings, thus creating a ritualistic, "bare-bones" theatre.Since 1982 he has lived in the USA. He died in January 14, 1999 in Pontedera, Italy.