Acting the Manager and Managing the Act - a conversation with Constantin Chiriac

3rd February 2011

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Acting the Manager and Managing the Act

Behind the scenes with Constantin Chiriac, in an open discussion with Dr Mike Phillips OBE Followed by a Q&A session Thursday 3 February 2011, 19.00-21.00, The Ratiu Foundation / Romanian Cultural Centre, Manchester Square, 18 Fitzhardinge Street, London W1H 6EQ; Tel. 020 7486 0295, ext 108; e-mail:; Entry is free but booking is essential. For more than seventeen years, Constantin Chiriac has been running the extremely successful SIBFEST, the annual international theatre festival in the Transylvanian city of Sibiu, Romania. He has also been a star of the Romanian stage and screen and an important influence in East-European theatre management, running the ‘Radu Stanca’ National Theatre of Sibiu since 2000, and teaching at the Theatre Studies department of the University of Sibiu. For the last six years Constantin Chiriac has, in addition, been engaged in the cultural operations of the European Union. In 2007 the town of Sibiu was appointed European Capital of Culture, a year before Liverpool, and Constantin was a major influence in the successful bid. Since then, he has been involved in choosing the new European Capitals of Culture, as well as in many other cultural issues in Europe. Further afield, he works as a consultant and collaborator with Japanese and Korean theatres and has in the last couple of years begun to work in China. However you look at it, Constantin seems to be a very busy man indeed, and if we add the stress of having to deal with Romanian bureaucracy under several administrations, the only thing that can be safely assumed is that he is a true Renaissance man. At the invitation of the Ratiu Foundation, actor, director and cultural manager Constantin Chiriac will be in London at the beginning of February 2011 for a conversation centring on his work and plans for the future This is one of a number of conversations Constantin plans to undertake in the near future. ‘The issue is that we are, both in Romania and the rest of Europe, at a crossroads of cultures. We must understand how to create a new role and new relationships with our neighbours on social, economic and cultural fronts. Otherwise we are doomed. Conversations such as the ongoing discussions I have with my friends all over the world are an important part of this movement in which we are trying to come to terms and come to grips with who we are.’ Dr Mike Phillips is a long term friend and critic of Constantin’s, as well as an astute observer of the European cultural landscape, and the conversation between the two will take place at the Ratiu Foundation on the evening of Thursday 3 February, part of the Culture Power series of talks and presentations. Mike Phillips invites you to assist in a public discussion about the director’s work and the “backstage” events at the Sibiu International Theatre Festival. In the context of a troubled economy, public anger about cuts, and a consistent challenge to arts expenditure, Mike’s questions will attempt to explore the political economy of cultural entrepreneurship in the contemporary East, e.g: - What did it take to create an international theatre festival in 1990’s Romania, at a time when the transition to a market economy seemed to have no end in sight? - What does it take to host in Sibiu one of the largest events of its kind in Central and South-eastern Europe? -How is it possible to create bigger and better editions of the festival each year, in spite of the transition and in the context of the current economic crisis? - How can political interference from the local and national authorities be kept at bay, and how does one deal with officials of all sorts bent on making a propaganda tool of any public event? -And, not least, how can one physically cope with so many tasks? Constantin Chiriac has visited London previously at the invitation of the Ratiu Foundation for a lunch-time talk at Tate Britain, hosted by Mike Phillips, in July 2007, and for a discussion on identity, migration, and cultural capital, at the London South Bank University in November 2006. This discussion was followed by the reading performance of ‘You Think You Know Me But You Don’t’, a one-man play written by Mike Phillips. Constantin Chiriac is a theatre director and manager with a very successful career as a stage and film actor, with more than 45 theatre characters, 23 one-man shows, and 17 films. Dr Mike Phillips OBE is a novelist, historian and curator, a member of the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Expert Panel, and consultant to various cultural organisations across Europe. Culture Power is a programme initiated by the Ratiu Foundation, consisting of a number of presentations and constructive dialogue with an invited audience. Organised by The Ratiu Foundation / Romanian Cultural Centre in London. With the support of ProFusion International Creative Consultancy. Photo: Constantin Chiriac during the rehearsals for Silviu Purcarete’s ‘Waiting for Godot’, Liverpool 2008 © Laurentiu Garofeanu.