In Kolektyw Kobietostan (Womenstate Collective) we aim to reach places of social exclusion, act for social inclusion and equality, and counteract discrimination on the basis of sex or social status using various tools of art, especially theatre.


Our organisation was born out of a protest against the sidelining of women from disadvantaged backgrounds, promoting equal rights and empowerment. The collective was initiated by theatre director and social activist Agnieszka Bresler and now is co-created by theatre artist Iwona Konecka, with strong support of Martyna Dębowska, Magdalena Mróz, Anna Skubik-Sigala and Urszula Andruszko.

Agnieszka Bresler
Iwona Konecka
Magdalena Mróz
Martyna Dębowska
Anna Skubik-Sigala
Urszula Andruszko


The first Womenstate project, implying direct contact and artistic dialogue with the most incapacitated groups of women: women suffering from depression, domestic violence victims, female prisoners and homeless women, was run in 2016/2017, and resulted in the theatre production of Womenstate. Chorus for One Actress.

Since 2017 we have been collaborating with the Penitentiary in Krzywaniec, running numerous cultural projects including theatre and creative writing workshops for female and male prisoners, theatre productions and collaborative projects. Agnieszka Bresler directed two theatrical productions with female inmates at the penitentiary: Maria K., tackling the transsexual topic of the life and works of a Polish poet Maria Komornicka/Piotr Włast and Wiera Gra, telling the tragic life story of a Jewish singer Wiera Gran. Both performances were widely presented outside the prison and awarded at festivals. We also ran two editions of the Summer in Theatre programme at the Penitentiary in Krzywaniec in the form of two-week theatre camps for female prisoners and their children, culminating in theatre productions/installations. In 2022 the third edition of the project took place at the high security female Correctional Facility and Shelter for Minors in Zawiercie. 

Since January 2022 we run at the Penitentiary in Krzywaniec the Inmates’ Art Centre – first nationwide centre for the exchange of experiences and the development of methods in the field of social rehabilitation through art co-created by inmates. The project is implemented in the years 2022–2023 thanks to the financing of the Active Citizens (EEA funds) programme.


The collective is also active in the city of Wrocław, its base. Since 2019 we have been running the Ophelie project in collaboration with the Wrocław branch of the Center for Women’s Rights. The performance of Ophelie premiered in 2021 at the Shakespeare Festival in Gdańsk where it received the Special Jury Award of ShakespeareOFF „for a moving performance that inscribes the story of Ophelia in the fate of contemporary Polish women, (…) teamwork and the originality of costumes”.

The newest performance created by Kobietostan is Boys. The right to voice, taking the topic and discussing stereotypes of masculinity, based on the experiences gained during theatrical work with male inmates. The performance was widely presented around Poland in 2021/2022.

In 2022 we successfully ran the first edition Theatre – meeting space project in the form of regular presentations of our awarded performances and series of workshops for women in danger of social exclusion, theatre educators and social workers.


The newest project co-created by Kobietostan is All HandsOnStage (AHOS) – Theatre as a toll for professionalisation of inmates in partnership with five other European organisations related to prison theatre. This three-year project involves the development of an innovative training and internship programme that will enable inmates to acquire acting, stage design, costume and technical skills. One of the effects of this international cooperation will be an innovative handbook of good practices and theatrical work in prisons. The project is implemented in the years 2023–2025 thanks to the financing of the Creative Europe programme.

We are also open to other international collaborations and are now actively searching for new European partnerships. As an organisation we are particularly interested in the following topics:

– socially engaged collective work

– working artistically with women from disadvantaged backgrounds

– working artistically with prisoners (social rehabilitation through art)

If you’re interested in collaborating with us please contact us at kontakt@kobietostan.pl



Our promo videos with English subtitles:

Womenstate’s first project (2016) with imprisoned and homeless women:

  Interview: theatre in prison as a tool of fighting gender stereotypes:

Summer camp at the Penitentiary of Krzywaniec (2020) for female prisoners and their children:

 Inmates’ Art Centrer – collaboration between Womenstate Collective and Penitentiary in Krzywaniec: