Ciprian Marinescu is a journalist, cultural manager and translator for theatre plays written in German or Romanian. He lives in Germany, Romania and, lately, Mexico. During the past 15 years, he initiated and developed multiple collaborations and festivals in the area of theatre and contemporary dance in Romania and Germany. He has worked for the National Theatre in Timișoara, the contemporary dance company fabrik in Potsdam, the Romanian Cultural Institute in Berlin and HAU Hebbel am Ufer Theatre in Berlin. While working for HAU, he coordinated the residency program Houseclub for artists working with children and young people, while also coordinating projects with schools in five Berlin neighbourhood. Ciprian Marinescu is the curator of the Timișoara Performing Arts Festival, organised by the German Cultural Center, and starting from 2019 he is the curator of the Euroregional Theatre Festival Timișoara TESZT, organized by the „Csiky Gergely” Hungarian State Theatre.
What is the current role of performing arts?
I believe that performing arts need new types of audience and new alliances, communities which do not make theatre seem like „it is made by us for us”, it should not present performances where we can meet our friends and individuals working in the cultural area. I also believe that theatre projects should have diverse implications and addressability. An abstract performance, for instance, can be more interesting for an audience which is denied regular access to culture than for an informed spectator who sistematically defends their own taste and imposes barriers in understanding the artistic work. Performing arts are so diverse, you have enough room for entertainment as well as for social and political theatre. I personally act as a critic and choose to watch performances which pose questions about the world, society, situations, bodies, life.
In what way has the theatre world changed since you became part of it?
I had the opportunity to discover many theatrical universes and also the possibility to explore them, and in all this time I myself have changed. I left a state theatre and got more accustomed to performances and contemporary dance, later coming back to all of these forms without having to love one and hate the others. Artists express themselves in different ways. My artist friends create different types of theatre and I love every one of them even though it doesn’t necessarily match my artistic taste at that moment. People find their own tools for investigation.
Were I to identify some transformations, a thing I noticed during last years is the tendency towards a „politically correct” theatre, with increasing attention paid to gender and race diversity etc. when choosing the cast for a performance or the members of a company. Fortunately, even though it is still insufficient, the number of women working in theatre management has increased. At least that isthe case in Germany. In theatre companies – artistic groups, theatres – people are increasingly resilient to hierarchy which disregards personal opinions and forbids participation.
What do you think about Timișoara’s cultural life?
The city’s cultural offer is very good, but many events and projects go unnoticed. The cultural agenda should be made more visible in the broader context. Many institutions have managed to create a constant audience, while repetitive independent projects need to develop their own communities. And that is not an easy task, we are constantly making efforts in that direction for the Performing Arts Festival. Overall, the public is not an amorphous body buying tickets with the purpose of a manager’s good evaluation score, but individuals who have their own opinions, tastes and questions. Today’s audience consists of individuals whom you have to convince, one by one, and grant the attention they deserve. You should maintain a permanent dialogue with the audience, because the public interrogates you.
Who do theatre festivals belong to?
Festivals belong to places, people and the meeting of different worlds. Festivals have the power to zoom out – in order to present an activity, a direction, an attitude in a context for observing tendencies and making a stand – as well as zoom in – in order to make the local activity, in this case the activity of the theatre and town, more visible. Festivals are a gateway for communication with the world and the moments when communities are formed. Later, that community can become permanent for the event, if it is a repetitive one, as well as for the hosts.
Why did you accept the challenge of becoming the curator of TESZT?
I grew as a professional in the Timisoara National Theatre and for a while I changed direction towards contemporary dance and performance at HAU Hebbel am Ufer Theatre in Berlin, just to become a specialist in educational programs, too. Apart from the Timișoara Performing Arts Festival, organised together with the German Cultural Center every year, which is focused on contemporary dance, I find it interesting to join a context which opens theatrical perspectives on life. There are many great shows which still have not been presented in Timișoara. I will be coming back to the Palace of Culture in Timișoara to work for the Hungarian State Theatre. And I will gladly return to a theatre whose productions I used to watch regularly while living in Timișoara, and whose team I feel close to. I consider this invitation as a warm embrace. Having commited to work with the German Cultural Center and the Hungarian State Theatre, I can live in Timisoara, which I never want to leave, but in the same time live in Romania, Germany and Mexico, where my explorations are taking me in the present. My political motivation is that 2019 marks 30 years since the Revolution in the town which will become the European Capital of Culture in 2021. It is a huge leap and this is again the time for art to question where we are and where we are headed to. These are important lessons for Timișoara to face.