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Personal profile



Ioana is a performance studies scholar and an ethnographer. Her book Staging Citizenship: Roma, Performance and Belonging in EU Romania (Berghahn, 2018) is based on long-term ethnographic fieldwork with urban Roma. Ioana currently researches the relationship between theatre and diplomacy during the Cold War; her other current project focuses on the representation of Roma in nineteenth century Eastern European theatre. Her articles have appeared in books and journals, including Theatre Research International, New Theatre Quarterly, TDR, and Performance Research.

Selected Publications:


  Monograph: Staging Citizenship: Roma, Performance and Belonging in EU Romania  (Berghahn Books, hardback edition 2018; paperback 2020).



Articles and Book Chapters:


Single-authored book chapter: "Performance and Citizenship: The Roma in Europe", The Oxford Handbook of Politics and Performance, Shirin Rai et al, eds. Oxford University Press, 2021.


Co-editor, with Anneeth Kaur Hundle and Joanna Pares Hoare, Feminist Review 121, "Transnational Feminist Research", 2019.


Co-authored article: Hundle, Szeman and Pares-Hoare. "Introduction: What is the Transnational in Transnational Feminist Research?" Feminist Review 121, 2019, pp. 3-8.


 Single-authored book chapter: “’Black and White Are One’: Anti-Amalgamation Laws, Roma Slaves and the Romanian Nation on the Mid-nineteenth Century Moldavian Stage,” Uncle Tom’s Cabins:The Transnational History of America's Most Mutable Book. Tracy C. Davis and Stefka Mihaylova, eds. University of Michigan Press, 2018, pp. 165-191. 



Single-authored book chapter: “‘A Memorable French-Romanian Evening’: Nationalism and the Cold War at the Theatre of Nations Festival” Theatre, Globalization and the Cold War. Christopher Balme and Berenika Szimanski eds. Palgrave Macmillan, 2017 


Single-authored essay: "It Is a Week and Four Days," in "Women on Brexit" special issue of the journal Poem, 5 (2&3): 2017, pp. 323-326.


Co-editor, with Avtar Brah and Irene Gedalof, Feminist Review 109,“The Politics of Austerity,” 2015.


Co-authored article: Brah, Gedalof and Szeman. "Introduction: Feminism and the Politics of Austerity." Feminist Review 109, 2015, pp.1-7.


Single-authored entries: 14 Entries on Romanian Actors in The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Stage Actors and Acting, Simon Williams, ed. Cambridge University Press, 2014.


Single-authored book chapter:  “’Playing with Fire’ and Playing it Safe: With(out) Roma at the Eurovision Song Contest,” in Performing the ‘New’ Europe: Identities, Feelings, and Politics in the Eurovision Song Contest. Karen Fricker and Milija Gluhovic, eds. Palgrave Macmillan, Studies in International Performance Series, 2013, pp. 125-141.


Single-authored article: "The Magic of Liviu Ciulei", Contemporary Theatre Review, Vol. 22(2), 2012, pp. 293-295.


Single-authored article:  “Collecting Tears: Remembering the Romani Holocaust,” Performance Research 15.2, 2010, pp. 54-59. 


Single-authored article: “’Gypsy Music’ and Deejays: Balkanism, Orientalism and Romani Musicians.” TDR: The Journal of Performance Studies 53.3, 2009, pp. 98-116. 


Single-authored article: “Lessons for Theatre of the Oppressed from a Romanian Orphanage,” New Theatre Quarterly 32.4, 2005, pp. 340-357.


Single-authored article: “Finding a ‘Home’ on Stage: A Place for Romania in Europe?” Theatre Research International 28.2, 2003, pp. 193-210.





PhD, Performance Studies, Northwestern University, USA

MA, Gender Studies, Central European University, Hungary

BA, French and English, Babes-Bolyai University, Romania

Research interests

As a performance studies scholar, I work at the intersection of anthropology and theatre studies, and my areas of expertise include performance theory and ethnographic methods, the study of minority cultures and nationalisms, as well as feminist and critical race theory. My research interests also include activist and community performance, performance in the everyday, cultural identities and performance.

Research projects

2009-2012 Member of the University of Warwick and Royal Holloway, University of London, AHRC-funded interdisciplinary research network "Eurovision and the New Europe"

Monograph in progress : Acting like Trade Unionists: Gender, Cultural Politics and Theatre Reform after Socialism ( fieldwork in Romania in 2007/08, 2011 and 2012)

Co-editor, with Avtar Brah and Irene Gedalof, Feminist Review 109 "The Politics of Austerity," 2015.

Co-editor, with Anneeth Kaur Hundle and Joanna Pares Hoare, Feminist Review 121, "Transnational Feminist Research," 2019.

Co-editor, with Annie Goh, Marie Thompson, Irene Gedalof and Sadie Wearing, Feminist Review 127, "Sonic Cyberfeminisms", 2021.


  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, UK
  • Member of the following organizations: American Anthropological Association; American Society for Theatre Research; Association for Cultural Studies; Performance Studies international; Theatre and Performance Research Association

Consultancy work

  • 2011--2020: Member, Feminist Review Editorial Collective, https://journals.sagepub.com/home/fer
  • External examiner for the BA programme in Drama and Applied Theatre, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London, 2009-2013
  • Archivist, Performance Studies international, 2012-2014, http://www.psi-web.org/

Recent Presentations and Research Collaborations:

2019            Keynote presentation “Roma Performance, between Exoticism and Roma Counterpublics”, conference “Hospitality, Hostility and Everything in Between in an Era of Forced Displacements,” Stockholm University, Sweden, April.


2018            2 presentations at the American Society for East European and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES) annual conference, Boston, USA, December:

  • panel organizer “Between Contested Memory and Official Histories: Performance and Erasure in East Central Europe” and presentation “‘Black and White Are One’: Roma Slaves and the Nation in the Mid-Nineteenth Century Romanian Theatre”;
  • Presentation “Roma Performances of Citizenship and Belonging” in roundtable “Roma Performance in East Central Europe: Challenges and Prospects” chaired by Prof. Carol Silverman;


2018            “Roma Performances of Citizenship and Belonging: from Bollywood Dance to ‘Gypsy Music,’” paper presented at the International Federation for Theatre Research (IFTR) annual conference, Belgrade, July


2018            “Ethnography as Co-Performative Witnessing: Roma, Performance and the Citizenship Gap,” invited presentation for TECHNE doctoral consortium training day, organized by Dr. Melissa Blanco-Borelli, Royal Holloway University of London, May


2017            “Roma and Gendered Citizenship,” invited presentation for the Centre for Research in Gender and Sexuality (SeGS), University of Roehampton, London, November


2017             “‘A Nation Where ‘Black and White Are One’: Roma Slaves as Extra/Ordinary Bodies on the Mid-Nineteenth-Century Eastern European Stage,” paper presented at the American Society for Theatre Research annual conference, Atlanta, USA, November


2017          “Performing Bollywood: Young Roma Dance Cultural Citizenship,” paper presented at the Performance Studies international (PSi) annual conference, Hamburg, Germany, June


2016             “Transbodies Across the Iron Curtain: Romanian Theatre, Censorship and International Theatre Festivals,” paper presented at the American Society for Theatre Research annual conference, “Transbodies in Theatre in East, Central Europe and Eurasia” working group, Minneapolis, USA, November


2016         “The Communist Nation on the World Stage: Romanian Theatres Abroad,” paper presented at the International Federation for Theatre Research conference, Stockholm, Sweden, June


2016        “Enjeux de la reconnaissance patrimoniale des migrants. Les Roms entre la Roumanie et la France” (Stakes in the recognition of migrants’ cultural heritage: The Roma between Romania and France), collaborative presentation with Dr. Adriana Diaconu, Université de Grenoble, France, at the Critical Heritage Studies international conference, Montreal, Canada, June


2016        Discussant, Feminist Review Early Career Workshop, SOAS, University of London, May


2015        “’A Memorable French-Romanian Evening’: Nationalism, Theatre and the Cold War at the Theatre of Nations Festival,” ATHE conference, Theatre Historiography working group, Montreal, Canada, July


2015         Invited Talk: “’The Romanians Are Coming’: A Feminist Analysis of the Anti-immigration Discourse Under Austerity in the UK,” Gendering Austerity Symposium, Birkbeck, University of London, May


2015         Discussant, “New Voices” Workshop, “Gender and the Colonial” Conference, SOAS, University of London, May


2014         Discussant and advisory committee member, the international interdisciplinary conference “Claims and Contestations in Urban Cultural Heritage: European Perspectives”, Paris, France, December


2014         Invited Talk: “Roma, Performance and Citizenship,” University of Innsbruck, Austria, July


2014         Invited Speaker, Round Table on Roma Music and Stereotypes, Balkan Trafik Festival, Bruxelles, Belgium, May



Postgraduate Supervision:

Current PhD students at Roehampton: Giulia Casalini, Rebecca Tadman

Completed PhD Dissertations Supervised:

Alan Ashton-Smith (2013, London Consortium Programme): "Gypsy Punk: Towards a New Immigrant Music"

Jungmin Song (2014):"Animating Everyday Objects in Performance"

Esra Cizmeci (2015): "Performing Sufi Living in Contemporary Turkey"

Amanda Stuart-Fisher (PhD by publications; 2016): "Theatre and Testimony: Witnessing, Historiography and the Ethical Demand"

Andre Amalio (2018): "Rewriting History through Performance"