Professor Jerzy Limon

He was an extraordinary visionary, brilliant scholar, and absolutely charming diplomat. The world is a great deal poorer without him.

Thankfully, two years on, Professor Jerzy Limon’s legacy is stronger than ever.

For his many friends, family, and lovers of theatre, it is hard to believe that it is two years since we lost Professor Jerzy Limon to complications arising from Covid. It is unspeakably cruel that the world of theatre has been robbed of Professor Limon’s insight, generosity, leadership, and deep love of Shakespeare.

Jerzy Limon was born in May 1950 in the Polish town of Malbork. In 1962, when he was just 12 years old, he travelled to the United States on an ocean liner to stay with his uncle in North Carolina for a year. Here, Limon became fluent in English.

At the University of Poznan he excelled as a scholar, culminating in his monography in London theatre, and its links to the politics of the day, between 1623 and 1624.  His work was subsequently published by Cambridge University Press as Dangerous Matter. English Drama and Politics in 1623/24, thanks to the support from the British Council.

In the following years, Limon made his name as a leading international scholar of Shakespeare, being a fellow at the Folger Library in Washington, teaching at New York’s Hunter College, at the University of Delaware and the University of Colorado, as well as the University of Gdansk in his native Poland. In his time, he played many parts.

At Gdansk, he unearthed the history of Shakespearean theatre in Eastern Europe, and the presence of visiting English actors in Poland and Eastern Europe. His book on this subject ” Gentlemen of a Company. English players in Central and Eastern Europe 1590-1660 was published by Cambridge Univeristy Press and was the first book of its kind in English. Inspired by this study, Limon established the Theatrum Gedanense Foundation which received the patronage from HRH Prince Charles in 1990. For the next twenty-four years prof. Limon drove forward the creation of the Gdansk Shakespeare Theatre which opened in 2014 with a performance of Hamlet. In 2017, Limon hosted Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge at the theatre. He was awarded an OBE in 2014 for services to the theatre and Polish-English relations.

In the two years since his death, Limon’s work and legacy have been celebrated and continued. His extensive library of books was donated by his wife Justyna Limon to a new Library at the Gdansk Shakespeare Theatre, opened on the day of the Bard’s birth, 23 April. A two-day international festival of his life and work was held in May 2022. The Shakespeare Festival, which Limon established and loved so much, has continued, bringing Shakespeare to fans young and old. Limon’s works on Shakespearean theatre continued to be read and studied. His last book ” Shakespeare; seven deadly sins” was published a year after his death.

SEE also IN PRAISE OF MADNESS – Nonsuch Theatre

It has been two years since Jerzy Limon’s life was rounded with a sleep. Yet his legacy continues to inspire, educate, and entertain, in the best tradition of the theatre he so loved it.