Interview with Ivana Peranić, Make a Move Project Leader and Artistic Director

Interview with Ivana Peranić, Make a Move Project Leader and Artistic Director

Make a Move is a supporting environment where international artists can meet

– Anda Cadariu in dialogue with Ivana Peranić –

IVANA PERANIĆ is a theatre maker, performer, choreographer, and educator. She graduated from the International School of Corporeal Mime, London, and also holds a Bachelor’s degree from the Faculty of Philosophy, Rijeka University. In London, she was a member of the renowned theatre company Theatre de l’Ange Fou and then a collaborator of the artists’ platform Performance Klub Fiskulturnik. She is a co-founder and director of the arts organisation Creative Laboratory of Contemporary Theatre KRILA (Rijeka). Throughout her long artistic and educational practice, she has collaborated with various local, national and international performance artists and educators, and participated in numerous festivals both in Croatia and abroad. She is a member of the Croatian Dancers’ Association and Croatian Centre for Drama Education. She is also the main project coordinator of the European project Make a Move, an art incubator for contemporary European non-institutionalised and independent theatre, co-funded through the Creative Europe programme of the European Union.

Ivana Peranić 
Photo by: Dražen Šokčević

Anda Cadariu: You studied Theatre in London and Philosophy in Rijeka. How do these two fields go together?
Ivana Peranić: I studied at the Faculty of Philosophy, but I studied Croatian Language and Literature, and I actually started to make theatre in my student days. I was a member of a student theatre company, Teatar Rubikon, initated by my brother, who had very strong views on a different type of theatre, which is not classical or text-based. At that time, in Rijeka, there were not many alternative theatre groups doing physical theatre; we were a rare phenomenon. There were some dance groups, but very few physical theatre companies. The technique we were all attracted to was Meyerhold’s Biomechanics, which we got to know through a workshop led by Gennadi Bogdanov. It was an intuitive and self-taught approach, in which we would explore this type of theatre in a group of passionate and enthusiastic non-professional students… but my brother was the leader of the group, with a strong vision and enthusiastic spirit.

Photo by: Anda Cadariu

Anda Cadariu: And did you go to London after this experience?
Ivana Peranić: Yes. I experienced theatre in a very idealistic way. There was a moment when I knew nothing about it, but I felt amazing to be a part of the group, to express myself physically, non-verbally, to study at the Faculty of Philosophy and actually meet different people. For instance, we collaborated with a musician, Ivan Šarar, who is now Head of the Cultural Department of the City of Rijeka. We had lots of different collaborators – set designers, costume-makers… we did a full production. I was not constrained by any theory, any physical technique, everything was really very pure.
We worked together for quite a few years, we traveled a lot, and we were acknowledged and partially funded by the City of Rijeka. Then, at one point, when I finished my studies, I realised that I would like not only to experience this type of theatre, but to study it, too. I also had this thought that I would like to go to London. So, we were at an alternative theatre festival in Croatia and, after our show, we went to an afterparty, and then my friend and I hitch-hiked. A car stopped, and we met a girl, Lara Ritoša Roberts, who was studying in London at the time, at the International School of Corporeal Mime. She gave my friend a contact there. So, my friend gave me that contact. When I went to London and settled down a little bit, I found the school and went to see what was going on there, and I fell in love with the Corporeal Mime technique. It is between theatre and dance, a very dramatic technique, it is not pantomime, it is not dance, it is physical theatre. It is well-structured and it has a special vocabulary. I had excellent training and superb teachers: Corinne Soum and Steven Wasson. So, I fell in love at first sight. I thought I would only spend one year in that school, but I soon realised I could not achieve a high level of physical theatre expertise in one year, so I stayed for my postgraduate studies, too. Then I became a member of the Theatre de l’Ange Fou company. I worked with them on Orpheus’ Complex and The Man Who Preferred to Stand, which is a performance composed of pieces by Étienne Decroux, a dramatic corporeal mime repertoire, and also postmodern pieces by Corinne Soum, Steven Wasson and Thomas Leabhart.

Anda Cadariu: You are a theatre maker, a performer and a pedagogue. How do these parts of your life blend into each other?
Ivana Peranić: It depends on what I’m working on as a theatre maker: I can be an author, a performer or a choreographer. But with the educational part… that’s something else. I always use the methodology of co-creation, especially with kids and young people. We always do devised work. We do a lot of improvisation and I challenge them to be imaginative, to be creative, to make up stories together, to create their own characters. I don’t want to come and do things that are interesting for me, but not for them. For me, it’s important to be a facilitator who will then give them space and also teach them technical things – how to use their voice, how to use their bodies, how to create together with others. Mostly, I do this through games, through some specially-designed tasks and through giving them a lot of trust, freedom and constructive feedback.

Photo by: Dražen Šokčević

Anda Cadariu: You are also the artistic director and founder of KRILA. Could you talk a little bit about your organisation?
Ivana Peranić: I had been in London for eleven years, and then, at one point, I realised I would have better opportunities to work in Rijeka than in London. I didn’t know the sector in London as well as I know it in Rijeka. Here, I could easily get a space, get funding, and also, I never went to London in order to stay – I knew I would come back, I just didn’t know I would come back eleven years after. So, when I did, I had a very clear vision of what I wanted to do: to found an arts organisation, to do my own pieces and, also, to initiate educational projects. In order to get funding, I had to have an organisation. I had two choices: I could found either a civic association or an arts organisation – and I decided for the latter. So, with my partner and artistic collaborator at the time, Jorge Correa Bethencourt, and with the help of my brother, Zvonimir Peranić, I founded KRILA.

Photo by: Dražen Šokčević

Anda Cadariu: If I wanted to take a look at the landscape of Croatioan contemporary culture, where would I find KRILA? What sets it apart? Why is it special?
Ivana Peranić: We are not really working on a national level but on a local and international one. The local independent scene is not thriving, it hasn’t been in the last twenty years, because the conditions are very difficult and there are not many long-standing projects. Maybe we have two or three openings per year in this type of theatre. And what makes us special… I think just to exist in this type of environment.

Anda Cadariu: How long has KRILA been around?
Ivana Peranić: Since 2011, but I’ve been on the independent scene since 1993.

Anda Cadariu: We are now both in Rijeka, both a part of the Make a Move European project, in which KRILA is the leading partner, organising the Second Lab within the project. This Lab is focused on site-specific theatre, but before diving deeper into details about it, can you briefly present the Make a Move project and its
Ivana Peranić: Make a Move is an art incubator and the project was created out of the need of independent European artists to work together. It’s a bottom-up project and it is developed in the context of Rijeka European Capital of Culture 2020. I initiated a collaboration with my friends and colleagues from London; KRILA organised three partners’ meetings in Rijeka, one in 2016 and two in 2017. We managed to organise these meetings in order to continue an initiative of mine called Unreal Cities, which is included in the programme of Rijeka 2020. So, we met, we discussed and exchanged our creative practices and then the idea of Unreal Cities became more clear: it will be an artistically-guided tour in Rijeka, in which we are going to map those city points which have a strong identity. But, at the same time, we didn’t know how to proceed. I was very lucky because then I met the cultural manager and professional fundraiser Barbara Rovere, and she was interested in this proposal and she started to work with us. And so, Make a Move was born, as a project that can give independent theatre-makers time and resources to collaborate, develop ideas and exchange good practices. It is an incubator, a supportive environment where international artists can meet and learn new skills in digital practices, in site-specific theatre practices and also in the way they communicate with the audience and the stakeholders.

Anda Cadariu: The resident artists worked together with local artists here, in Rijeka – they do that in every Lab. We have recently seen their work-in-progress presentations, which were attended by an audience. How do you feel about what happened during these presentations?
Ivana Peranić: They were wonderful. They showed a high level of performance, and all the twenty artists involved gave the city of Rijeka new creative energy. Their experience, impressions, and visions of the city made me feel grateful. I am also grateful for their dedication, passion, and trust and I am very happy with the results.

Photo by: Dražen Šokčević

Anda Cadariu: The next Lab will take place at the University of Arts in Târgu-Mureș. Romania, in December. What are your expectations when you think of this third (and last) laboratory?
Ivana Peranić: Make a Move is a pilot project and it is based on action-research methodology, which means that we take one step, then we reflect on it and then we take another step. So, there are many little steps and I think these Labs are very big steps, so we must plan together. The way in which I planned the Rijeka lab took a lot of time, I gained a lot of insight from the external evaluation, from the internal evaluation and I will collect information on the Rijeka Lab, then I will draft the direction for the Târgu-Mureș Lab and I will communicate with the partners and associate partners.

Anda Cadariu: What does Make a Move mean in your career as a manager and as an artist?
Ivana Peranić: As a manager, Make a Move is a challenge for me because I have never managed such a project before. I am learning a lot. And as an artist, I think this exchange with the others stimulates my creativity. It is a great opportunity for me to meet other artists, to see how they work and to collaborate with them.

– Rijeka, Croatia, September 2019 –

Read more about the Rijeka Lab here.

Review of the Galway Lab

Review of the Galway Lab

The ‘Make a Move’ project got off to a great start in Galway, where Galway Theatre Festival hosted the first Pilot Art Incubator of the project from Thursday April 25th – Saturday May 4th.  We welcomed Anne Corté (France), Dmitri Rekatchevski (Russia / France), Rodrigo Pardo (Argentina / France), Deise Nunes (Brazil / Norway), Sébastien Loesener (France), Nicole Pschetz (Brazil / France), Yucef Zraiby (Lebanon / Barcelona), and Eva Maria Hofer (Austria) to Galway city, along with representatives of the partner organisations IAB and UAT, Loránd János and Lia Contiu.  It was exciting to meet the artists who had been selected in person and to begin to realise the project’s ambition to bring independent theatre artists from Europe together to exchange practices and create together!

The first two days of the lab focused on the core residency group (including James Riordan (Ireland)), allowing them time to learn about each other’s work and share elements of their practice through ‘contact-making sessions’ – short practical sessions where they led a warm-up / creative activity they use in their own practice.  We spent these mornings and early afternoons in the welcoming environment of the St. Patrick’s Band Hall, with its warm, wood-floored hall and walls covered with pictures telling the history of the St. Patrick’s Band. We learned about Rodrigo’s roof-top performances, Dmitri’s dance with his shadow, James’ mask work, and much more.  The artists shared practices ranging from imagining the most impossible show you could ever create, to yogic meditation, to counting as a group up to 40 (not as easy as it sounds!). Eva asked the group the question – ‘why do we need other people?’ – and recorded everyone’s answers in their own language(s) … that recording would later made its way into a beautiful short performance on Inis Oirr.

In the afternoon of Day 1 & 2 we transferred to bright, open meeting room of Galway 2020.  On Day 1 the artists were officially welcomed to Galway by Marilyn Gaughan of Galway 2020, and by Fiona Neary and Fintan Sweeney of the GTF Board.  Then the focus turned to digital media, and under the guidance of Loretta, Aghna and Ali of LORG Media, the artists got to grips with ‘mobile journalism’, shooting and editing short videos on their smartphones.  The Mayor of Galway, Neil McNeilis, made a surprise visit to the workshop, adding his welcome to all the group. On Day 2 the group heard from Darragh Doyle on the why, how, when and what of blogging. ‘So that Google can find you’ was the short answer to ‘why’, and by the end of the session the idea of blogging felt more practical and less overwhelming than it had before.  The artists went on to create blogs and videos for the ‘Make a Move’ website, which you can check out now!

On Day 2 disaster struck, as our plans to travel out to the island of Inis Oirr that evening were upset by the arrival of Storm Hannah, with winds in excess of 130kph … but with some help from Galway 2020, and some fast phoning around to hotels in the city, we managed to feed everyone and find everyone a bed for the night!  On the morning of Day 3 we proceeded out to the island on a sea that was still choppy after the previous night’s high winds – the bumpy ferry-ride was a stark reminder of the reality of life on an island on the Western periphery of Europe.

On Inis Oirr we were joined by the national and local artists – Anja Kersten, Eileen McClory, Sorcha Ní Chróinín, Cathal McGuire, Liza Cox, Gráinne O’Carroll, Conor Geoghegan, John Rogers, Sandra Gonzalés Bandera, and Orlaith Ní Chearra.  We were also joined by our digital technology experts – Brian Kenny, Tom O’Dea, Niall Campion, Karl Caulfield and Esteban Moreno – as well as Maria Gill (artist, Portugal), Ivana Peranic (Artistic Director of ‘Make a Move’), and Traian Penciuc (UAT).  

Over the next days the artists and experts worked together in Áras Éanna, the arts centre on Inis Oirr, to explore new digital technologies including 360 filming, infrared sensors, live camera, pre-recorded video and video mapping.  In groups and individually the artists experimented with the technologies, bringing their own performance practices and artistic questions to bear. The landscape and remoteness of Inis Oirr wound itself into the work, with artists drawing inspiration from the silence of the sunken graveyard, the bleak magic of the abandoned ship The Plassey, and the endless tapestry of stone walls that pattern the island.

Half-way through the week the artists reflected on the challenges and potentials related to collaboration and co-creation, describing what worked and what didn’t work in the group processes they had worked in so far.  One creative challenge that emerged was the fact that everyone was a creative ‘leader’, making group work sometimes difficult and fraught. The group discussed this and looked at ways of working around this, including sharing the leadership role between the different participants.  Understanding each others’ processes, and giving time to different peoples’ ways of working, also formed part of the discussion. These reflections were documented by the project’s researchers, Lia Contiu and Traian Penciuc and will provide key learnings from the project.

A final flurry of individual and group work in the last days of the lab resulted in the creation of 12 short ‘experiments’, including a one-on-one experience using Virtual Reality and a real knife, an intimate audio experience in a bed, a collective experience that invited the whole group to get up and dance, a meditative performance that used sound to weave a narrative between people in a room and people outside in the landscape, and a surreal and exhilarating ‘non-technological’ group performance on the road outside Áras Éanna.  

IRELAND AND ME – Galway Lab Day 5 & 6
By Anne Corté and Dmitri Rekatchevski


On the evening of Day 8 we bid farewell to Inis Oirr and returned to Galway City.  This time the sun shone, and ferry-ride back was smooth and clear. On Day 9 & 10 we were joined by the project’s external evaluators, Darko Lukic and Cristina da Milano, who participated in the final talks and discussions of the Pilot Art Incubator.  A small invited audience joined us on Day 9, and we show-cased some of the VR and ‘non-technological’ performance created out on Inis Oirr. Then artist Paula Kehoe discussed her own practice with 360 and VR technologies, reflecting on what these technologies have to offer, and suggesting that, even if artists don’t continue to work with these technologies they can open up new ways of thinking and new forms of practice.  

The evening of Day 9 finished with the opening of the Galway Theatre Festival 2019, where our international and national guests got to experience the vibrancy of the local theatre scene, and enjoy the exhilarating drumming of the Carnival-esque Macnas Drummers.  Day 10 saw an informative discussion around Creative Europe funding, in particular the new pilot artist mobility project i-Portunus, led by Katie Lowry of the Creative Europe desk at the Arts Council of Ireland. As the Pilot Art Incubator wound to a close the national and local artists bid farewell to the group.  After a final evaluation the core residency group and our international partners and evaluators had one final night in Galway before bidding farewell to Ireland. We were sorry to say goodbye to such a wonderful group of people – but we hope that they will be back to Galway and to Ireland very soon!

Read all the details about the Galway Lab HERE.

Check out the short video about Galway Lab …



Inis Oirr



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Make A Move Project 2018. | Privacy Policy | All rights reserved | Implementation: Pixel

Make A Move Project 2018. | Privacy Policy | All rights reserved | Implementation: Pixel