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Alumni of the month – January 2015

Cristina Catalina
MA Creative Media Arts, 2011

Robert Humphreys

Cristina Catalina is the Creative Producer behind All Change, a festival that explores new horizons of the performance landscape, uniting local and global creativity through live and digital performance. Now working to deliver its third instalment, Cristina is also an actor and has led a versatile career in theatre, television, radio and film.

The idea of the first All Change Festival, founded in 2013 at Theatre 503, was to feature work in London that explores European theatre practices. Born in Romania, raised in Germany and living in UK for over a decade, Cristina certainly has the outlook to execute such a project: “I think theatre productions in this country have a literary rather than a visual arts tradition, unlike perhaps Germany or Romania. I was inspired, together with my collaborators, by these different practices to bring something unique to London’s creative arts scene."

Reaction to All Change was immediately positive and the following year, when the festival partnered with the Lyric in Hammersmith, it expanded to include more varying and daring performances: “We felt as though our ideas were warmly welcomed by the creative community, that we were speaking about something in which people were genuinely interested. In 2014, we wanted to be more playful in our programming, particularly because we teamed up with the nationwide celebration of Fun Palaces, and we were chuffed to include improvisation, illusionism, music gigs, punk-storytelling, immersive and outdoor performance, parkour, philosophical conversations and a spinning boat of hammocks all in one fest.”

It was LSBU’s personal touch that convinced Catalina to pursue the MA Creative Media Arts, which tested her talent for creative production: “Before studying at LSBU, I felt slightly at the mercy of the acting industry. I spoke with one of the tutors and they suggested I put on my own play as part of the course, which enabled me to learn how to produce and have more control over the creative process.”

This freedom and trust afforded to Catalina meant she could fully express her creativity: “I was spurred into action by this course, it really made me think. The self-directed nature of teaching meant I could make of it whatever I wanted. I was so motivated and passionate to make my play work.” Her play proved to be a resounding success, running for three weeks at the New Diorama Theatre whilst attracting rave reviews from the general public and press including Time Out.

As an actor and producer, Catalina enjoys working on different projects at the same time: “I work best when I have lots of plans on the horizon, feeding off a carousel of ideas.” When asked which qualities are needed to survive in the often fierce world of performing arts, she believes it all comes down to motivation: “If you’re going to do anything in a creative field, then it’s your passion that will carry you through the obstacles. All my hard work is driven by my love of what I do.”

Find out more about the All Change Festival