In 1904 Lucjan Rydel wrote a nativity play called Polish Bethlehem (Betlejem polskie), and staged its production in two suburbs of Kraków, Tonie and Bronowice, with local villagers as actors. It was an expression of his profound respect for rural Poland as well as the result of his flair for theatrical experimentation. Rydel left the third and the final act of his play open. In the course of history, new characters, including contemporary Polish politicians and celebrities, were added to it by various producers in order to make the play appeal to new audiences.
An open end play like Betlejem polskie is a tradition originating with the Kraków's only Szopka (pron. shopka, The Nativity Scene or Christmas Crib) to which new characters are being added every year.
Rydel became the director of the renowned Juliusz Słowacki Theatre in Kraków for one season during 1915-1916.
The marriage of Lucjan Rydel to a peasant daughter from Bronowice took place at the Rydlówka Manor on Tetmajera Street. The event inspired Rydel's pen pal and friend Stanisław Wyspiański to write what became known as the defining Polish independence drama called Wesele (The Wedding, or The Wedding Reception).
- Zaczarowane koło (1900)
- Betlejem polskie (1904)
- Ferenike i Pejsidoros (1909)
- Zygmunt August – trylogia dramatyczna (1912)
- About Lucjan Rydel at www.slowtrav.com
- Lucjan Rydel and the Old Kleparz market
- Rydel and the tradition of Kraków's Christmas Cribs
- Lucjan Rydel mentioned alongside Juliusz Słowacki Theatre in Kraków