Krzysztof Warlikowski was born in Szczecin, Poland in 1962. After studying history and philosophy at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, he went on to study the history of theatre at the École pratique des Hautes études in the Sorbonne in Paris.
In 1989 he returned to Krakow to study directing at the Theatre Academy there and in 1992 directed his first plays: White Nights by Dostoevsky and Autodafè by Elias Canetti.
In the years that followed, he collaborated with some of Europe’s leading theatre directors: in 1992-93 he assisted Peter Brook in the production of Impressions de Pelleas presented at the Bouffes du Nord in Paris and in workshops organized by Wiener Festwohen in Austria. In 1992, he also worked as assistant to Krystian Lupa in a production of Malte Laurids Brigge by Rainer Maria Rilke at the Stary Teatr in Krakow. In 1994, Giorgio Strehler oversaw his adaptation and production of Recherche by Proust at the Piccolo Teatro in Milan.
He directed numerous works by Shakespeare, including The Merchant of Venice (1994), A Winter’s Tale (1997), Hamlet (1997 and 1999), The Taming of the Shrew (1998), Twelfth Night (1999), and The Tempest (2003), in addition to Electra by Sophocles (1996) and Cyclops (1998) and The Bacchae (2001) by Euripides.
His modern and contemporary productions include The Trial by Kafka (1995), Roberto Zucco (1995) and Quai West by Bernard-Marie Koltes (1998) as well as plays by Matéi Visniec and Witold Gombrowicz. In 2001, he tackled the work of Sarah Kane for the first time, directing a production of Cleansed.
He has also directed many operas, such as The Music Programme by Roxanna Panufnik, Don Carlos by Verdi (2000), L’Ignorant et le fou by Pawel Mykietyn adapted from Thomas Bernhard (2001), Ubu Roi by Krzysztof Penderecki (2003), Wozzeck by Alban Berg (2005), Iphigenie en Tauride by Christoph Willibald Gluck (2006), The Makropoulos Affair by Leos Janacek (2007), and Eugene Onegin by Tchaikovsky (2007).
Krzysztof Warlikowski has worked in a number of different cities in Poland and theatres throughout Europe, including the Bouffes du Nord in Paris, the Piccolo in Milan, the Kammerspiele in Hamburg, and the Staatstheater in Stockholm, and in Zagabria (Croatia) and Israel. In 2003, with a company of French actors, he directed A Midsummer’s Night Dream at the Centre dramatique national in Nice and Le Dibbouk at the Dialog Festival in Wroclaw. Later he staged Speaking in Tongues by Andrew Bovell in Amsterdam, and Macbeth by Shakespeare at the Schauspiel in Hanover.
At the Avignon Festival, Krzysztof Warlikowsky presented Hamlet in 2001, Cleansed by Sarah Kane in 2002, Krum by Hanokh Levin in 2005 and Angels in America by Tony Kushner in 2007.