Mihai Florea


Contact: bf0028@bristol.ac.uk

My parents’ flat was behind the big theatre’s building, in a small provincial town in Romania. My uncle Dan was sending ME to buy tickets, thinking that by being the cute little boy that I was, the imperial-looking, always-pipe-smoking, turban-wearing old lady at the ticket booth would give me seats in the rows more towards the front of the stage.

I fell in love with the mechanics of theatre: the curtain rises and falls, the quick changes of scenery or costumes, the moments when darkness on stage was not full and you could see the silhouettes of the actors or technicians moving, the whispers of the prompt, the three bangs of the gong.

As I was growing up to be an adolescent, theatre remained with me. And although times had changed – theatres now were now empty – I was still there, buying my tickets (the old lady was no more), only to immediately get a refund, because there were not enough spectators.

Interested in Chemistry at that time, I accidently got involved with a high school theatre troupe. There, the chance of working with a professional director and of producing a couple of successful shows persuaded me to think: theatre academy or nothing.

And I was lucky (or talented) enough to be accepted as a student at the National University of Theatre and Film ‘I. L. Caragiale’, Bucharest – one of the most prestigious acting conservatoires in Europe and nevertheless the best and the most competitive in the country.

Throughout the four years of preparation for a BA in Acting for Screen and Stage, I have studied the Stanislavski system in depth (having the opportunity to be taught by Professor Venjamin Filshtinski from the Academy of Theatre in St Petersburg – an exceptional director and academic, with exclusive access to Stanislavski’s last notes).

I have studied Ancient Greek Theatre, Commedia dell’ Arte, Elisabethan andJacobean Theatre, Shakespeare, Classic French Theatre, Classic Comedy, Realism (Ibsen, Strindberg and Chekhov), Contemporary Drama, Dario Fo and Improvisation. Also, Theatre History, Philosophy, Esthetics and a History of Acting Methods.

During my third year of study, I have been asked to play the part of Sebastian in the Twelfth Night’, in one of Bucharest’s best theatres – Teatrul de Comedie. At the end of my fourth year of study, I have debuted in the role of Leonce, from ‘Leonce and Lena’ by Georg Buchner at another of Bucharest’s most prestigious theatres: Teatrul Nottara. Throughout the period of studies, I have collaborated with other theatres in Bucharest, such as Teatrul Act or Teatrul Foarte Mic and also have been present in many theatre festivals.

The most relevant element from that period though, has been meeting my artistic partner Ileana Gherghina – an artist whom I see as unique in vision, painfully alive and mercilessly herself.

Together, after graduating, we have established an independent theatre company with which we have started to produce medium scale work. Some of that work included a Commedia dell’ Arte study, which toured in L’lantiol Theatre in Barcelona and also experiments involving poetry or an adaptation of Chekhov’s Seagull.

In 2008, we left Romania and went to the UK for what we thought would have been a short period of travelling. In 2010 I have been welcomed as Postgraduate Student of the MA in Performance Research at University of Bristol.

During a period of two years, I have experimented with Live Art, Performance Art, Research Methods and Performing the Body.

It was in 2012 that Ileana and me established the Nu Nu company, which debuted with an adaptation of Ionesco’s ‘The Chairs’. The production has toured in many locations in the UK, including the Roundhouse in London. Immediately after, we have produced Billie Killer, an experimental theatre project supported by Arts Council England and presented in Helsinki at the LAPSody Festival of Performance, organised by the University of Arts, Helsinki. At the moment, we are developing two solo projects, one based on stories of torture and the other based on Hamlet.

The last three practice projects will be included in my PhD thesis – on which I have started to work in 2012. The title of the thesis is Actor in a Second Language as it analyses the role of this type of actor in the contemporary theatre practice. I talk in more detail about my research in the Research rubric of the present profile.

Activities / Findings

My research is entitled Actor in a Second Language and it takes the form of an experiment, where I analyse whether Acting in a  Second Language may be considered a performing genre per se.

Throughout the three chapters, I reflect on the problematic of locating (both geo-culturally and aesthetically) the Actor in a Second Language, given the fact that such an artist may be and indeed is present in various contexts – be it film, theatre or other performance art, intercultural or less so.

The core element of my research consists of identifying and talking at length about a Rhizomatic Space of Coupure, which I see as THE determinant element for any Actor in a Second Language’s artistic existence and evolution. I am thus advancing the concept of a nucleus locality that continuously develops and evolves alongside the transformations occured in the artistic, political, socio-cultural and economic contexts that the Actor in a Second Language inhabits, defining the artist.

Finally, my concern is as to what alterations and adaptations of the traditional modes, may occur in the creative processes of such an actor, given the use and adaptation to a non-native language. I debate on whether the Actor in a Second Language can be therefore assimilated to a distinct category of performers and if so, to clearly demonstrate why.

Part of the research I am undertaking is practice-based and for this purpose I have initiated (alongside another fellow artist) an Actors in a second Language’s producing company and a blog: CASL – Centre for Actors in a Second Language. The activities of these two organisations are reflected on: www.nunuplatform.com


I have taught the Performance Forms and Analysis modules and also led Tutorial Seminars for undergraduate students.

For Performance Forms and Analysis, my focus has been on interrogating fundamental critical concepts utilised in Theatre and Performance Studies.

I am also involved in teaching for the Access to Bristol scheme, where I conceive and run creative workshops/seminars.


  • intercultural theatre
  • second language
  • multiculturalism
  • theatre history
  • acting methods
  • live art
  • spaces of coupure
  • writers in a second language
  • postmodernism
  • rhisomatic manifestations of culture
  • heterotopia

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