Mirla Criste

MIRLA CRISTE (SAG-AFTRA/AEA) is a long-time professional practitioner and professor of the performing arts.


Contact Thoughts for Nancy

Nancy Stark Smith passed in May of this year (2020). She was one of a scant handful of teachers and mentors who hugely influenced the artist and teacher I became, and continue to evolve as today.

I stayed for the 7 hours of her online memorial, an event my soul needed, when a community of Nancy Stark Smith's close circle and extended family, students, colleagues, a salad bowl of those in Nancy's orbit, gathered on Zoom to celebrate the enormous gift of herself that she had given to others in her life.

This was my contribution, a "mosaic" (as the organizer, Christie Svane, dubbed it) of thoughts from former students of contact improvisation. They are alumni of my most recent tenure-track positions at UGA and Drake. It has been a pleasure and joy to reconnect, and I could not be more proud. I'm certain Nancy loved watching it too, from the cloud on which she is dancing.

vimeo.com A video tribute from Mirla Criste and some of her contact improv students for Nancy Stark Smith's memorial harvest circle, Sunday, September 13, 2020.



My fourth Dance-a-lorus. A piece for Dad.

vimeo.com out of the arms of oblivion uncurls, unfolds in a dark velvet sky the breath of the night wind the sweet last adventure (for Dad). Video and Text: Mirla Criste.…



This last artistically rewarding year was also personally quite tough. I'll share the creative highlights in a couple of posts, however, starting with the statue for Best Supporting Actress as Bloody Mary in South Pacific - a superlative honor from the Wilmington StarNews.

[07/12/17]   I've begun rehearsals for possibly my most challenging role to date. I'm playing Bloody Mary in SOUTH PACIFIC next month, a role my mom played years ago. Have made the decision to do my damnedest to mitigate the cartoon that Bloody Mary is often portrayed as - which means careful, thorough research. Wish me luck!


2017 Comedy of Errors

I'm playing the best little part in Shakespeare's little farce. Getting to do a vaudevillian strip tease to boot. The photo is of my phenomenal director, KC MacMillan. Having a ton of fun!

dramtreeshakes.org The Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare Directed by Kathryn C. MacMillan Produced by Don Baker, Dram Tree Shakespeare April 13-April 30, 2017 7:30 PM Thu-Sat, 3:00pm Sun. Doors open 1/2 hour...


Nominees announced for the 2017 Wilmington Theater Awards

I've been co-nominated for having puppeteered Ariel in Dram Tree Shakespeare's TEMPEST last spring, with my dearest friend Jemila Ericson, who voiced him. You can vote through December 16th, and a tickled me would be so grateful!

starnewsonline.com Click the link to vote for your choices through Dec. 16.



My 3rd Dance-a-lorus - Hubby and my piece, STREAM. We got crazy, unexpected, positive audience feedback. He got a kick out of his 9 minutes of fame. I want to perform it again, because the video we used was a draft, not the final - long story. But here's Patrick Ogelvie's recording.

(Part of the audio was distorted, so I replaced it with the original.)

vimeo.com A study on what's really going on in the semiconscious mind of one woman as she deals with the minutiae of her daily routine and her relationship with her life…


The Tempest 2016

Just been offered my first exciting theatre project of the year: Ariel, Prospero's captive air-elemental, in Dram Tree Shakespeare's coming unique take on THE TEMPEST. There will be two—no, three—of us: voice, movement and physical entity. More than excited to begin!

dramtreeshakes.org Dram Tree Shakespeare announces plans to produce William Shakespeare’s The Tempest this April in downtown Wilmington, NC.


Best of Arts

I failed to mention, and really should have, that the surprise of the season for me was getting another nomination, this time for the Encore Magazine Best of Wilmington Awards for Best Thespian. There's not much chance I'll win - I'm up against the two best and most famous thespians in Wilmington, one of whom I think I might have voted for (grin).

Anyway, it appears they've extended the voting period, so if the spirit happens to move you, the page containing our category is here (you have to vote in 25 separate categories - but hey, everyone's deserving, so rock on!).




The Dance-a-lorus video recording! Apologies for the substandard audio.

vimeo.com In which a prince and a ghost have a conversation in the space between limbo and beyond. With Bryce Flint-Somerville as The Prince and Mirla Criste as the Ghost.…



Here's one from March, a commission from the Cameron Art Museum. Video by Adam Alphin.

vimeo.com Commissioned by the Cameron Art Museum and performed at the gala opening of the CAM's retrospective on the life and work of Wilmington painter Claude Howell.…


Wake of Vultures Teaser Trailer

And finally this.

vimeo.com Featuring "Prelude 23" by Chris Zabriskie & "Apocalypse" by Chris Blackwell


SUBSTANCE AND STORYTELLING IN SONG: “Joni and JT in Jail” debuts this weekend at TheatreNow | |...

Then this.

encorepub.com Aug 5 • ARTSY SMARTSY, FEATURE BOTTOM, Theater • No Comments on SUBSTANCE AND STORYTELLING IN SONG: “Joni and JT in Jail” debuts this weekend at TheatreNow


Broadway to Wilmington - Wilma - July 2015 - Wilmington, NC

I've been terrible about updating. Full plate and all. So first this.

wilmaontheweb.com Mirla Criste’s making a splash on the local theater scene

Sharing Across Generations: Stage adaptation of ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ will inspire a few swings...


encorepub.com May 26 • ARTSY SMARTSY, FEATURE SIDEBAR, Theater • No Comments on Sharing Across Generations: Stage adaptation of ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ will inspire a few swings around the lamp post


Review - Some truth emerges in 'Love Happens'

A couple of thumbs-ups from local reviewers for my current show! The Encore Mag write-up is here: http://www.encorepub.com/welcome/love-takes-center-stage-theatrenow-hosts-multi-generational-love-story-in-time-for-valentines-day/

starnewsonline.com With a title like "Love Happens" – replace one word, and you've got a profanely enduring catchphrase about the randomness of events – you might expect Rich Orloff's play to be a rather nonsentimental, even cynical, look at romance.


'Gallery' leads pack with 4 wins at Wilmington Theater Awards

A thrilling and unexpected occurrence.

More photos of the evening here: http://www.starnewsonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/gallery?Dato=20150114&Kategori=NEWS&Lopenr=114009996&Ref=PH&pl=1

starnewsonline.com The supervillains of "Gallery" came out on top at the 2015 StarNews Media Wilmington Theater Awards on Wednesday at Thalian Hall, where the local show picked up four awards, including best play.



CAPTURE: the piece my partner Cabot Basden and I performed at Dance-a-lorus. It got astonishing feedback.

vimeo.com A structured improvisation involving two humans, an Apple TV, an Airport Express, and an iPhone 4S. Performed by Mirla Criste and Cabot Basden in Dance-a-lorus,…

Wake of Vultures

The short I shot in October.

A Wake of Vultures is a short dramatic-comedy about a group of really awful people.

[09/20/14]   Got the film. :-)

So now it appears I'm booked solid with artistic projects through August. More soon, when I catch up on work and sleep...

[09/12/14]   Read for an indie film director early this afternoon, then shot a commercial around suppertime. Everything happens at the same time around here... :-)

SARUS FESTIVAL for Site-specific & Experimental Art - home

Besides tearing my hair out, prepping for Fall classes, here's what I've been up to:

sarusfestival.weebly.com CREATIVITY. EXPLORATION. RISK.


Review - 'Vanya' goes for, and gets, laughs

John Staton liked us. :-)

starnewsonline.com Few relationships come as freighted with baggage as those we have with our siblings.

Less than two weeks to go:

with, in order of appearance:

VANYA . Mike O'Neil | SONIA . Holli Saperstein
CASSANDRA . Mirla Criste | MASHA . Tamara Mercer
SPIKE . Jacob Keohane | NINA . Hannah Smith



Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike | What's on Wilmington

Snagged my first stage role in Wilmywood (grin) in this:

whatsonwilmington.com Thalian Association presents the Port City premiere of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike at the Red Barn Studio Theatre in Wilmington, NC. The 2013 Tony Award-winning comedy by Christopher Durang tells the story of middle-aged siblings sharing the ...

[04/06/14]   Updates regarding future creative foci:

I've been asked to audition for a really great little part for a play that goes up next month. The obstacle is that I'm AEA - tricky to cast in a right-to-work state, but not impossible. There's a little thing called a Special Appearance contract that's totally cheap and do-able if I simply pledge back the salary, which yes, producers, I'd absolutely do, to perform in this great little town. The director says she'll fight for me, if I read well. Cross your fingers.

Also, I'm putting together a treatment for an original script (with songs) for TheatreNOW, the first professional theatre in town to welcome me into its fold. After that, I have to write it (he he heh).

Finally, I'm getting a pretty good picture of what it will take for me to stay creative in my new home. So that big project I've been milling around in my tiny brain is starting to emerge as an imperative. Details to follow...

[04/06/14]   Did I mention I shot a commercial on Friday? It was going to take 19 minutes (my salary got downgraded $50). I was there 2 hours. And apparently I might not get a tape. Sigh. Ah well - I'm sure learning a bunch about non-union camera work!

[04/05/14]   Went to my first theatre audition in [mmpphh] years. Went really, really well, but - no callback. Could be a type thing, an age thing, a union thing. But I'm glad my knees held up in the dancing!

(But as you know, what I really want to do is direct...)

SARUS FESTIVAL for Site-specific & Experimental Art - home

Upcoming this summer for me, if all goes as planned:

sarusfestival.weebly.com CREATIVITY. EXPLORATION. RISK.

[03/20/14]   Cross your fingers for me. I've now had 5-6 video audition requests from the Fincannons for different roles in the last few months - 2 this week for the same TV series. One day the producers will book me. Right? Gotta spread some positive karma into the Universe...ohhmmm...

[02/15/14]   Shooting local commercial #2 on Tuesday. Thankful for a bounty of little opportunities. Now to get all this tape for my reel.

Postcard for this weekend's dance concert.


Review - ‘Check Please' is a light and enjoyable look at dating

The show has gotten two basically positive reviews from local publications:



starnewsonline.com What's more absurd than dating?


'Check Please' checks in on dating

The local paper's preview of Check Please:


starnewsonline.com Equal parts alarming and hilarious, the modern dating scene lends itself to situational humor, and TheatreNOW's dinner theater production, "Check Please," which opens Friday and runs through Feb. 15, is taking full advantage.

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