Born in 1988, in Bucharest, Gabriel Sandu is a Romanian cross-genre artist, best known as a playwright, director and journalist. With a background in journalism and acting, Gabriel is currently doing a PhD thesis at Babes Bolyai University in Cluj-Napoca, titled ”Faith, mythology and social action in theatre”, with a focus on the conserving of structural powers in contemporary theatre through different esoteric beliefs. His plays have been translated into English, French, Portuguese, Hungarian and Catalan.
His work spans the spectrum of religious interference in artistic freedom of expression or in the human rights of marginalised groups, such as the LGBTQ community. Titles such as ”My Father, the Priest”, ”Poor Iulia” or ”Forgot” have been produced in various venues across the country, from national theatres to independent spaces. As his choice of topics address societal events, using the research through journalistic instruments and at a latter stage fictionalization for dramatic purpose, the final result more often falls into the docu-fiction genre.
Both the plays he wrote and the shows he directed have been showcased in national festivals and won several awards. ”I forgot” (Uitasem), which fictionalise the real case of a Romanian boy raised by his mother to believe he is the reincarnation of Jesus Christ, was nominated for best play Focus Drama Awards in 2018 and won the jury prize for best acting performances at Bucharest Fringe Festival in 2020. ”Poor Julia” has won the first prize in Bacău Monodrame and ”My Father, the Priest” was nominated for best play of the year at Bucharest Fringe Festival.
In July 2018, the play “Who called the fascists to our theater?” was read in Catalan at Sala Beckett in Barcelona, in the Obrador D’estiu – one of the most renowned programs for contemporary drama in Europe.
Gabriel has extensive experience in theater, working in various forms of productions, from social theater in divised formula (”Europes”, coordinated by Armel Roussel at the National Theater in Brussels, Belgium or “Worker 2.0” directed by Ioana Păun at the Fabrica de Pensule in Cluj) to musicals such as West Side Story, directed by Răzvan Mazilu.
Gabriel is the founding editor of the online magazine Brrlog (active between 2016-2019), and was a regular contributor to VICE where he published investigative reports. As of 2019, he also started directing his own shows, by 2021 having three performances under his direction and a short movie, called ”Dislocat. Home Away”, an experiment about isolation, friendship and mental health created especially for watching in vertical phone format and premiered in the national magazine Libertatea. Both the shows and the film were well received positive feedback from the public, with critics praising Sandu’s strange and dynamic remix of performative tools.