Where are the Roma Heroes?

Why do we need heroes?
Positive, active heroes are important role models for every community. The characters in a play always make value-based decisions and take responsibility for their actions thus initiating changes – just as active citizens do. 
Roma dramas – though they are hardly known – have more than 100-year-long tradition and represent important values: they may serve as examples both for Roma and non-Roma communities.  In the frame of Independent Theater’s next love project, the first international educational material on Roma drama will be developed, presenting the story of four real life heroes, based on the plays of contemporary Roma playwrights. 
From autumn 2017 on, Hungarian youth – among them several Roma youngsters – will participate in workshops based on the educational material.

Soulce: https://www.castingcallpro.com
Authors who have given voice to Roma heroes

Alina Serban (right), in her play I declare at my own risk tells about her own life and about her journey from the Roma settlement in Bucharest to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London.

Soulce: Dijana Pavlovic
From the performance of Dijana Pavlovic (left), Speak, my life we get to know the details of the recent genocide in the Switzerland and the life of Mariella Mehr, who even after having obtained honorary degree hadn’t forgotten about the persecution 
of Jenish people.

Soulce: Mihaela Dragan

Mihaela Dragan (right) also comes from Romania. In her play Del Duma, we gain insight into the life of Roma women, among others we learn about a 15-year-old girl who converts to Protestantism to avoid marrying against her will.

Photograph: Christopher Thomond
for the Guardian

The play of Richard O’Neill (left) tells the story of Jess Smith, who chose a creative form of civil disobedience to make the first minister apologise for the centuries-long persecution of travellers.

Different backgrounds, different values, different problems – however, what is common in the four plays is that the heroines take responsibility and initiate changes in their local community, in the wider society and in their own life too.
The educational methodology will be developed with the active participation of the artists, relying on the previous experience of Independent Theater’s team, who worked together on the educational project Feather Picking.
During the workshops, the youngsters will get to know the plays and the heroes; what’s more, they are going to present their own heroes.
We firmly believe that by making visible the life story and activity of the heroes who live or lived amongst us, we can motivate and strengthen the Roma communities and make the social majority more open for Roma drama and for Gypsy communities at the same time. 

The project is supported by Badur Foundation, London.