About me

Inside Directing

Cilla Veronica Back

Directing is arranging together different componets in the best possible way in order to create a crystalline resonance inbetween them. These componets carry our individual and collective memory, our cultural identity. They consist of the actors, of the theme or better yet the “malady” every text embodies – of the set, the lights, the costumes, the choreography and the music. All these elements come together and form what I call a “world of its own”. A separate floating universe. A bubble through which we can recreate time and relive…

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Fröken Else theatral show director Cilla Back

The Meaning of Space

With each Directing I first need to resolve what I call the “dilemma” of the scenic space – the solution to this question constitutes the fundament of the Directing itself.

The set is never merely a room, or a house – it is so much more – it incarnates the wound of the text. Theater evokes life, in my work it’s the space that becomes the alive thing: it becomes the projection screen, the magnifying glass of the throbbing conflict, the lifeblood of the characters, it is the “epoch of all epochs” – the timeless universe where everything takes place – where the characters become flesh and bone and emotion.


For me the set is always a metaphor of the inner world of the characters, it is always a mental space.

Since more than a decade Cilla Back collaborates with renowned Hungarian Set Designer Csörsz Khell also known for his work in Budapest Jòzsef Katona Theater. Back also works with Italian Artist and Set Designer, Francesco Calcagnini (Professor at Academia di Belle Arti di Urbino).
While working together the challenge for the Set Designer is not to find a solution for a room or a decoration, but how do decipher, how to translate a physical space into a mental space.

When working with Calcagnini and Khell, I'm definitively a better Director. My work becomes more pleasurable and rich – it's a creative indulgence, like exploring a dream. Khell works like a painter; creating patina, ethereal surfaces, he is the master of creating atmospheres. Calcagnini is a poet of the space, like no one I've met, he has the ability to translate the human condition into a concept of Space.

The anatomy of the space outlines the text’s "wound", its boiling point. Space is filled with presence, messages, voices – it becomes the vessel on which I can lay the structure of the Directing, the composition of movement, rhythm, costumes, music, light, etc.

The Use of Choreography and the Meaning of Music

Theater cannot be a replica of life – nor should it try to be – instead it should re-elaborate life.

Theater has the incredible capability to make emotions come alive, it can revive collective – and – individual memory, display human conflicts in limitless shades with exhilarating authenticity and intensity.

Each movement, each step of a character on Stage, is for me a "condensation of life” – therefore it has to be carefully studied. It has to be built up meticulously, filled with meaning. Movement on Stage needs to encompass the intimate human history – the collective and individual "wound" or trauma...

I think this defines my conception of what choreography is about, in a sense it's a key to catharsis.

Every detail on Stage has to be a vessel of communication, that penetrates the spectator's subconscious.

Theater and Dance are the most physical of the Arts. I’m interested in catching the hidden “narration” of the physical body – and as a director I do this through a detailed study of energy, form, rhythm, gestures and the concordance of all these elements. Also the distribution and the use of the scenic space are vital components of the choreographic approach to “tell a story”.

About the meaning of music

My connection to the “soundtrack” of a production is symbiotic with the choreographic work that I do. The creative “hunt” for the music that feels just right for the specific production I’m working on is a precious “tool” for me; in fact music often becomes the inspiration that leads the way, it clarifyes and helps to fulfill and complete my artistic vision.

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Costumes as the Skin of a Character

Since from the very beginning of her Directing career Back makes the Costume Design of her Productions.

She is a passionate collector of fabrics, especially antic and vintage fabrics that she also uses in her Productions.

“I very much enjoy the aesthetic whole the that costumes of a pièce create, I love to see in the first run-throughs how the different materials, colours and forms play together – it’s like an aquarium, an undersea world filled with different lights and shades of colours, of movements and sounds of material.”
A costume is more than the sensual, aesthetic aspect of it: it is the very skin of the character. Working as I do choreographically, I am very concerned with what the different materials are able to bring to the movements, what they permit us to do, how they enhance the character’s gestures, physicality and inner being.

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Teaching and Pedagogy of Drama

Cilla Back has a broad experience as Drama teacher and Acting coach, she has also worked as a pedagogue.

She has tutored Acting students in University level Drama schools and Art Academies, as well as worked as a pedagogue in facilities for the elderly and facilities for people with mental disorders.

Back collaborated during several years with Tampere University Näty that awards a Professional Acting Degree. She has held seminars about Directing in different institutions and schools for instance Russian State Institute of Performing Art.

During a period of two years Back worked with people suffering from mental illnesses, producing several performances shown in State Theatres in Finland. During the Dance theater/film project Elämä, Back worked with elderly people in various geriatric institutions both in Finland and Italy, and collaborated in Paris with choreographer/dancer Carolyn Carlson.

© 2017-2023 Cilla Back

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