Roma Heroes - I. International Roma Storytelling Festival

Roma Heroes

This is the title of the first international Roma Storytelling Festival organized by Independent Theater Hungary on 27-28 July 2017 in Studio K Theater (1092 Budapest, Ráday u. 32.). 
By presenting the monodramas of four contemporary European playwrights,  the special cultural event aims to shed light on the values of Roma theatre, draw attention to the situation of Roma communities, especially of Roma women, and to put exemplary life courses, role models and heroes in the spotlight.

The international festival of Roma theatre in Budapest focuses on personal stories. 
The programme of the two-day-long festival include four monodramas, all presenting real life Roma heroines who were able to initiate changes in their own life or in their community. The four plays deal with powerful personal stories and social issues in the once harrowing, other time humorous form of storytelling.

Three out of the four plays will be performed by the authors themselves, with Hungarian and English surtitles or interpreting. 
Alina Serban (Romania) - ‘I Declare at My Own Risk’
Mihaela Dragan (Romania) - ‘Del Duma’
Dijana Pavlovic (Italy) - ‘Speak, My Life’
The performance of the fourth monodrama, ‘Hardest Word’ by the British Richard O’Neill, will be the Hungarian premier of the play, directed by Rodrigó Balogh and performed by Edina Dömök.

“Although the European Roma Theatre has more than 130-year-long tradition and there are active and professional Roma theatre artists in several countries, Roma theatre is hardly known” - claims Rodrigó Balogh, artistic director of the Festival organizer Independent Theatre Hungary. “That’s why we’d like to show that Gypsy culture is not limited to dance, music and visual arts; there is outstanding value in the field of theatre as well. Getting to know these values may serve as inspiration for Roma communities and theatre professionals as well.”
Alina Serban/Photo

From the play I Declare at My Own Risk by Alina Serban (right), we learn about how the playwright got to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, starting from a Roma settlement in Bucharest.

Mihaela Dragan/Photo

 Del Duma by Mihaela Dragan (left) tells about the life of Gypsy women in Romania 
and the difficulties they have to face. 

Dijana Pavlovic/Photo

In Speak, My Life by Dijana Pavlovic (right) unfolds the life story of Mariella Mehr, the Swiss Jenish writer, and the attempted genocide of Jenish people in Switzerland in 20th century. 

Richard R. O'Neill/Photo

Hardest Word, the play by the British author, Richard R. O’Neill (left), presents how Jess Smith, the Scottish traveller woman, confronts the first minister of Scotland and fights for the recognition of Traveller people’s human rights.


After the festival, the authors with the help of Hungarian education experts will develop an educational methodology based on the monodramas, addressing university students. 
The aim of the educational material is to show valuable Roma plays and Roma heroes to Hungarian and foreign youngsters; moreover, to help the students to present their own heroes in a creative way. 
In autumn 2017, the educational methodology is planned to be taken to - mostly Roma - students in Hungary, and in the following years, to access youngsters in further European countries.

Main supporter: Badur Foundation