Catinca Drăgănescu (b. 1984) is a Romanian theatre director, playwright, and researcher with an international activity. Her studies include training in advertising and PR, as well as a BA and a MA in theatre directing (2012) and a PhD in theatre studies (2019). Since 2020 she works as a researcher at the National University of Theatre Arts and Cinematography in Bucharest, focusing on social design, innovation for social change, degrowth and applied research.
In 2013 she had an Erasmus Scholarship at the Athanor Akademie in Germany and in 2016 she had a residency at the Drama League New York. Since 2012 she worked both in repertoire theatres and independent venues, her shows being invited to important theatre festivals both in Romania and abroad.
Since 2020 she is the managing director of a cultural NGO called Idea77 and the initiator of Independent Exterior – a Romanian independent performance art showcase meant to connect local artists with the international scene.
Her artistic work evolved through an intense research project in something she now calls “theatre of consciousness”. She is interested in creating theatrical experiences that challenge the audience to perceive the reality of the other: might that be an ancestor, a foreigner, a future self or just another being. Her work is built on the common territory between collective and individual consciousness, in an exploration of “what might touch us today” and how can art disrupt our routine and inspire us to question and engage with sensitive contemporary topics. Catinca is preoccupied by themes like post-communist identity in the European context, migration, social inequality, the totalitarian experience, aiming to put theatre in the middle of hot debates, positioning art as a key player in raising awareness of the need of profound change our society faces.
Some of her most important works include Dystopia. Shakespeare.Remix (2014); Ibsen Incorporated (2015); iHamlet (2016); The Migration Trilogy: Rovegan (2016), Ready for export (2017), The Field of Struggle (2020); The Golden Dragon (2019); DISCO ’89: The 7 Deaths of Mihaela Runceanu (2021) and Here Moscow Calling (2021).
Her work has been presented live or online in festivals from Germany, Estonia, The Netherlands, Poland, Macedonia, Russia, The Czech Republic, USA.
I am fascinated by theatre because I think it is like alchemy, if the ingredients are mixed in the right proportion, it can become a transformative experience, both on an individual and collective level.
I define myself as a creator of experiences and I work in the arts field because I am a true believer in the idea that art can and more than that, should inspire a change in the world.
In an era of post truth, the artist has the privilege and the responsibility of saying the truth, of representing those who can’t, of tackling challenging topics and of fighting moral inertia.
Art is political. Art is the materialization of both social conscious and subconscious.
Art is not something to consume. Art is something to experience. Art is disruptive.
My identity, my history, my anxieties, the events around are my work material. I am in a constant debate with the world around. Everything that is social is a human invention, an act of creation, something moldable.
I create out of what I think, feel, perceive. I try to be open and connected to the now. I rebel through my work. I question this world to make people envision a better one.
Esthetics is ethics.
I call my work a theatre of consciousness. It’s meant to brake thinking patterns, to raise questions, to wake people up. I like to think of it as of a portal into the experience of the other.
No human process is mono-dimensional, we are intricate beings. My work uses textures, I overlay layers like in photoshop. It becomes a texture, an overlapping of codes, an algorithm, a game of perception.
Chapter 9. Feminist Theatre on Romanian Stages: Tools for Reimagining Twenty-First-Century Theatre: Catinca Drăgănescu, Ioana Păun, Carmen Lidia Vidu
Twenty-seven artists, including two participants from Romania: Catinca Drăgănescu and Valentina Zaaharia, will partake in the Drama League’s residency program. (ENG)
BOOK: Review of The End of Directing, The Beginning of Theatre-Making and Devising in European Theatre, (ed.) Iulia Popovici, Sibiu International Theatre Festival Book Collection, 2015
„The ego of the work, not the ego of the artist”. Interview Catinca Drăgănescu / Iulia Popovici