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Mihai Maniutiu (born 1954) is a Romanian-born theatre director, writer and theatre/performance theoretician. He has directed over eighty productions in important theatres, many of which have been toured internationally, broadcast on European TV channels, and won numerous awards in the categories for Best Director, Best Production, and Originality. Maniutiu is a Professor at the Faculty of Theatre and Television of the Babes-Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania and Artistic Director and General Manager of the National Theatre of Cluj. In addition to teaching directing, acting, and performance studies (MFA & Doctoral Programs) at the Faculty of Theatre and Television of the University of Cluj, and his position of General Director of the National Theatre in Cluj, Maniutiu has also been Artist-in-Residence at the Center Of Excellence In Image Study at the University of Bucharest (MFA Program in Performance) since Fall 2009.
In 1998, he co-founded, with fellow-artists Marcel Iures and Alexandru Dabija, Romania's first independent theatre, The Act Theatre in Bucharest, the Patrons of which are Judi Dench and Tom Cruise, among other international personalities. Since 2009, he is a Visiting Professor of Drama at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). In 2009, he directed a production, based on Euripides, entitled The Bacchae Trilogy, with an especially strong ensemble of mainly graduate actors and faculty artist Keith Fowler. Continuing to the present at UCI (now as a Distinguished Professor), in 2013 he directed a re-imagining of Euripides' Trojan Women, entitled After Troy. Most recently he has written and directed a piece titled "The Electra Project" which was inspired by several sources of the classic Electra story. "The Electra Project" featured a large ensemble composed of student actors, supplemented by the Romanian musicians known as Grupul Iza, or The Iza Group.
As a writer, he has published eleven books of short stories, one book on Shakespeare, The Golden Round (Bucharest: Meridiane Press, 1989; second edition Bucharest: Camil Petrescu Foundation Press, 2003), and three books of theatre theory: On Mask and Illusion (Despre Masca si iluzie, Bucharest: Humanitas, 2007); Act and Mimetic Representation (Bucharest: Eminescu, 1989; Hungarian edition Aktus es utanzas, Cluj: Koinónia Publishing, 2006); and Rediscovering the Actor (Bucharest: Meridiane, 1985). His most recent fiction book is "Memoriile Hingherului" (Cluj: Bibliotek, 2010).
Maniutiu holds a Ph.D. in Theatre Theory from the Caragiale Academy of Theatrical Arts and Cinematography (UNATC) in Bucharest (2006).
Five theatre books have been dedicated to Maniutiu's theatre & dance work, and analyze the major features of his style and performance philosophy:
- The Trilogy of the Double: Three Romanian Productions by Mihai Maniutiu (Bucharest: Unitext, 1997), ed. Cipriana Petre. Trans. Cipriana Petre & Brenda Walker. Photographs: Sean Hudson. Collective volume conceived and co-ordinated by Cipriana Petre. Co-authors: Michael Billington, Georges Banu, Michael Coveney, Marina Constantinescu, Mircea Ghitulescu, Dan Haulica, Nicolae Manolescu, Dan C. Mihailescu, Eugen Negrici, Cipriana Petre, Marian Popescu, Miruna Runcan, Victor Scoradet, Antoaneta Tanasescu, Ion Vartic, Irving Wardle. 80 pages with color and black & white photos.
- Cipriana Petre-Mateescu, Maniutiu: Theatre Images. Images de Theatre. Imagini de teatru. Cluj: Idea Design & Print, 2002. 136 pp. with black & white photos. Trilingual edition (English, French, Romanian).
- Dan C. Mihailescu, Dancing on Ruins. Cluj: Idea Design & Print, 2006. 84 pages with black & white photos. Trilingual edition (English, French, Romanian).
- Mircea Morariu, "Mihai Maniutiu-- ipostaze esentiale," Cluj Napoca, Casa Cartii de Stiinta, 2008. 191 pagini, Romanian edition.
- Cristina Modreanu, "Mihai Maniutiu: The Ever-Changing Space." Trilingual edition (English, French, Romanian). Editura bybliotek, 2010. 228 pages with color and black & white photos.
- Negru, Alex (21 February 2010). "Mihai Măniuţiu sărbătoreşte Ziua Mondială a Teatrului cu o nouă mega-producţie". Evenimentul Zilei (in Romanian). Retrieved 12 August 2010.