How can creative disruption shape the future?

View Schedule

How Muzeum 1939 and Pixel Artworks brought Poland’s WW2 story to life 80 years on

Pixel Artworks shared the ‘Event Technology of the Year’ category at The Drum Experience Awards 2019 with its ‘Poland: First to Fight’ campaign for Muzeum 1939. Here, the agency reveals the challenges faced and the strategies used to deliver this moving project.

The challenge

Muzeum 1939 (Museum of the Second World War) in Gdańsk approached us to help commemorate the 80th Anniversary of World War II in a way which would engage all generations.

The strategy

The Projection Artworks team scripted, storyboarded, choreographed and produced “Poland: First to Fight”.

The 20-minute live sensory experience integrated archive footage, animation, projection mapping, live action, music performance, narration and sound effects in an unflinchingly honest retelling of the deeply tragic history of Poland in WWII.

The story is of great cultural significance and the show was of educational importance as it provided access to younger generations and a wider audience.

Collaborating with renowned theatre and dance artist, Rhiannon Faith, an interpretive dance was choreographed and woven through the show, with dancers and actors interacting with the projection in real-time.

The Museum’s dynamic external architecture transformed into a skyline canvas, as the museum façades are manipulated using 3D mapping illusions; their surfaces forming a flexible extension of the show.

The campaign

The show ran for 3 nights, with 3 shows being performed each evening to an audience of 850 spectators. In attendance for the closing show was the Major of Gdansk. The turnout of 6000 people, along with the audience’s reactions to the show are testament to the final and overall success of the show.

The results

The resulting show was an ambitious outdoor live immersive experience. By using new and multiple technologies, we were able to show the full extent of the museums substantial and impressive research in a way that was both engaging and accessible to audiences.

“I wish to express my thanks to all of the PA team for their involvement and dedication during the proces of bringing the 'Poland: First To Fight' project to life. The last several months were hard work, and the path to the final completion of the project was not without many difficulties that both we here at the Museum and Projection Artworks team had to overcome.

“I am extremely happy that we have managed to bring this unique project to a good end and with great success! The turnout of 5.000-6.000 people along with the audience’s reactions to the show are a testimony to the final sucess of this show. For the PA team, owing to its historical complexity, this must have been one of the most ambitious projects PA has executed, I believe.” - Karol Szekjo,Project Coordinator

“Thank you for bringing to life the spectacular outdoor light show as part of the national celebrations to commemorate the 80th Anniversary of the outbreak of WWII. The show’s historical substance, its graphic content, and the theatrical live-cast act, all came together in an inspirational story that the viewers could relate to and feel emotional about.” - Prof. Grzegorz Berendt, Deputy Director, Museum of the Second World War

"It is with great pleasure that I present a publication that in an accessible way will bring closer to you the fate of the Polish nation during the most tragic conflict in world history." - Dr. Karol Nawrocki, Director, The Museum of the Second World War

“It was a very strong experience for me, incredible. I was not expecting that it would make such an impression on me. I am very moved as these are the facts that we used to speak about in the past and now it has been portrayed in a very accessible way for all of us and I think this is very valuable.” - Maria Szagżdowicz, spectator

Join us, it's free.

Become a member to get access to:

  • Exclusive Content
  • Daily and specialised newsletters
  • Research and analysis

Join us, it’s free.

Want to read this article and others just like it? All you need to do is become a member of The Drum. Basic membership is quick, free and you will be able to receive daily news updates.