For my undergraduate degree I studied political sciences with a focus in Latin America at Sciences Po: drawn to the possibility of studying multiple subjects and travelling to Latin America. Throughout my studies I can’t say that I knew “what I wanted to be when I grow up” but I certainly had an inkling that I wanted to work in culture. I had a passion for theatre but was taught “this isn’t a serious job”. So, when the time came to decide if I wanted to continue my studies, I applied to the Sciences Po/LSE European Studies double degree thinking that London could certainly provide some inspiration - and I wasn't wrong!
Whereas many EI colleagues were deeply passionate about European relations, I was mainly drawn by the philosophical side of my masters which focused on ideas and identities. From my time at LSE I most fondly remember directing a play in the Old Building and working part-time in parallel to my studies so I could afford to watch as much fringe theatre as possible. It was thus that I started my first paid job in the cultural industry, lending a hand with the admin at CASA Latin American Theatre Festival: a project I ended up managing for four years.
Slowly but surely it dawned on me that I wasn’t going to follow up my degree with a typical European Studies job. My test results to work in the EU Commission were abysmal and my attempts at sending CVs for lobbying or consultancy jobs were truly only half-hearted. Instead it was in London that I saw evidence that it is possible to make a living as a creative. It is also in London that I found the courage to stick to my guns and go for it!
Twelve years later, and after many trials and tribulations, I am working solely freelance, making politically and socially engaged performance and projects. I am now based in Sheffield and I manage two companies, including the female and non-binary immigrant-led Global Voices Theatre, which showcases international work from historically marginalised creatives in the UK. I am involved in cultural policy making, advising and working alongside exciting movements and companies including What Next?, Migrants in Theatre and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, for instance. My work has consistently remained transnational and deeply connected to Latin America and continental Europe: I recently completed a tour of the creative residency Becoming[...], a project that seeks to question national identity and belonging from the perspective of 1st generation migrants in the Czech Republic, Romania, Germany and the UK.
The imprints of my academic background both at Sciences Po and the LSE are everywhere in my creative work. They are foundations I didn’t know existed. I gained skills, knowledge and ways of exploring topics that make me the artist that I am today. Perhaps because it took me a while to find my true calling or because it took some time to hear my own voice amongst the noise of expectation around me, I recently also trained to become a personal and professional development coach. I now support others to find their own path and there is nothing more exciting than witnessing their successes… except perhaps the buzz of opening a new performance? The jury is still out!
To see more about my work and to get in touch visit www.lorakrasteva.com