Who said the Great Bustard can't get on stage?

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10 December 2021

The news about the proof of the Great Bustard nesting in Romania inspired Cristina Milea, costume and stage designer, to create a collection of costumes dedicated to endangered species.

Who said the Great Bustard can't get on stage?

The collection is called "Look around" and will be showcased online on Sarlatan (Charlatan), a creative, non-profit platform of Cristina, where she presents costume installations made of plastic or textile waste. Actress Alina Șerban is wearing the DROPIA costume and has already appeared on the cover of Scena.ro Magazine.

We wanted to find out more about the creative process that brought Cristina Milea to the Great Bustard (and us) and we asked her a few questions.

Why the Great Bustard? 

By the end of the lockdown in May 2020, when the news on every tv channel was about global mourning, the only positive outlook caught my attention - the way our Planet can recover its resources when people sit still for a while. For me, the news with the highest impact was about the Great Bustard. It got me thinking. It’s not only us around here, and we often forget to be mindful about the consequences that nature has to face because of what we consume. I started reading about rare and endangered species of fish and birds, and their stories fascinated me. In 2021, together with my colleagues, under the umbrella of sarlatan.ro, we made some photoshoots with up-cycled plastic and textile costumes that were inspired by these species in a collection called "Look around". Although Dropia (the Bustard) was my last work, it was the one that inspired the entire collection.

What features of the bustard inspired you in creating the costume? 

The harmonious plumage and the way it reflects in the sunlight when the bird flaps its wings.

What's the message you want to express with this creation? 

The message is precisely what this bird has inspired me: grace, determination, the force of self-healing and a broader perspective on life. If a bird has "recovered from the trauma of extinction", I believe we can as well.


  • Photo: Bogdan Dincă, actress: Alina Șerban, costume: Cristina Milea, under the umbrella sarlatan.ro
  • Text: Laura Turdean, “Milvus Group” Association