Thomas Richards (B.A. Yale University, M.A. the University of Bologna, Ph.D. University of Paris VIII) is Artistic Director and leader of the research of Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards. He began his apprenticeship with Grotowski in 1985, and their work together developed until Grotowski's death in 1999. Thomas Richards arrived in Italy in 1986 with Jerzy Grotowski from the University of California, Irvine, where he had participated in Grotowski's Focused Research Program in Objective Drama. In Italy, at first Mr. Richards worked as Grotowski's assistant, but soon he became the leader of one of the work teams, and then Grotowski's essential collaborator. Eventually, Mr. Richards became Director of the Research Program on Performing Arts at the Workcenter. Richards was a fundamental driving force in the research developed at the Workcenter that has come to be known as art as vehicle. In 1996, Grotowski decided to change the name of the Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski to Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski and Thomas Richards, because, as he specified, the direction of the practical work already concentrated itself in the hands of Thomas Richards.
Concerning Richards, Grotowski stated, "The nature of my work with Thomas Richards has the character of transmission; to transmit to him that to which I have arrived in my life: the inner aspect of the work." Today, the direction of the Workcenter, and its artistic drive toward the future is in the hands of Mr. Richards, who is deepening and developing the research and the Workcenter's creative exploration. Richards was main creator and doer of the performative opus within the Workcenter research art as vehicle entitled Downstairs Action (filmed by Mercedes Gregory in 1989); he is the creator, director and main doer of Action, and also the director, guide in action and doer in The Twin: an Action in creation, two present opuses at the Workcenter in the domain of art as vehicle. He was co-director of One breath left and is presently of Dies Iræ: My Preposterous Theatrum Interioris Show, two performative opuses created at the Workcenter inside Project The Bridge: Developing Theatre Arts. Thomas Richards is the author of At Work with Grotowski on Physical Actions (Routledge, 1995), first published in Italy (Ubulibri, 1993), published also in French (Actes Sud, 1995), German (Alexander Verlag Berlin, 1996), Greek (Ekdoseis "Dodone", 1998), Spanish (Alba Editorial, 2004) and Polish (Wydawnictwo Homini SC, 2003), with an upcoming publication in Korean, and The Edge-Point of Performance, published in English (Documentation Series of the Workcenter of Jerzy Grotowski, 1997), published also in Italian (Fondazione Pontedera Teatro, 2000), German (IKO - Verlag für Interkulturelle Kommunikation, 2000), Polish (in Dialog year XLIV, nr. 6 (511), nr. 7 (512), nr. 8 (513), 2000; and in The Centre for Study of Jerzy Grotowski's Work and for Cultural and Theatrical Research, 2004), and Greek (Ekdoseis Gabrielides, Athens 2001).