Cristina Catalina, alumna, MA Creative Media Arts
Cristina graduated from LSBU in 2011, and is a key creative producer at Firehouse Productions, helping set up and run a new drama festival in 2013
Having worked in theatre and television as an actor for several years, in 2009 Cristina felt that she was ready for a return to studying to help further her career and develop her creative producing skills.
It was LSBU's personal touch that convinced Cristina 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." 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.
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.
This learning curve helped Cristina co-found, develop, and produce 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.
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."
Motivated and creative
As an actor and producer, Cristina 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."