First International Educational Methodology on Roma Theatre

Why is it needed?
There is a tree, with branches and leaves on it. Each leaf signifies something missing, something that Roma communities lack. There is no Gypsy theatre, no other institution, there is no collection of Roma dramas, no Roma publishing houses, we are not present in the curriculum, or if we are then just as victims or criminals. This is not okay. We know that there are more inspiring narratives than these.
We believe that time will erase these deficiencies either by the substantive investment of the nations or by civil courage.
Romen Theater in Moscow, since 1931 (source)

What do we do for this goal?
We have organized a Gypsy theatre festival to make the values of Gypsy theatre known to various social groups (youngsters, activists, critics, theatre professionals and decision makers).
During the festival, high quality audio-visual materials have been recorded related to the plays and the artists, which we can transmit to posterity.

Along the principles of “nothing about us without us”, we have laid the foundations of the educational materials dealing with their plays together with the artists.

The methodology group of our theatre have drafted the workshop modules based on the plays, the related video materials and the information provided by the artists

That is how we prepare the educational methodology on Roma theatre.

What are the results?
If we organize a Roma Theatre Festival each year than in 10-15 years’ time, it will be possible to lay the foundations of a textbook on Roma drama and theatre history, a collection of European Roma dramas may be published and it can provide the high quality intellectual basis of a European Roma theatre to be established in the future.

How do we disseminate it?

In 2017, the trainers of our theatre run two-session workshops of 90-300 minutes for groups of mostly Roma students, focusing on the plays and artists presented at the “Roma Heroes” – First International Roma Storytelling Festival.

The institutions hosting the workshops were chosen after applying to a restricted call. Until 26 November 2017, workshops will be run in the following institutions:

RefoRom, Protestant Roma College, Budapest;

Lutheran Roma College, Nyíregyháza;

Romaversitas Foundation, Budapest;
Pressley Ridge Foundation, Salgótarján;
Wlislocki Henrik College, Pécs;
Dr. Ámbédkar High School, Miskolc;
Eötvös Lóránd University Media and Communication Department, Budapest;
Greek-Catholic  Gypsy College, Miskolc;  
Informal youth group, Hajdúhadház.

What is a workshop session like?
At the first session, the participants of the workshop get to know the four heroes, analyse and discuss the plays. The workshop begins with a warm-uplinked with the topic, then the 4 plays are presented in a short video. For the groupwork, the students are provided with parts of the playscript, background materials and related questions. Afterwards, the small groups present the heroes and the plays they have analysed to the others, state the similarities and differences, and discuss the questions that arise related to the plays. As part of the discussion, we put emphasis on the situation of the heroes (social facts), their relations with the others, the values that they believe in and the decisions that they make in accordance with these values, their activities and responsibilities as well as the resulting changes.

At the second workshop session – tailored to the previously assessed skills and interests of the group – the participants talk about their own heroes with creative means (e.g.: short theatre performance, works of fine art, writing, drawing comics). This work is analysed together and in case of a more complex idea or a draft which is worth to elaborate, the students discuss what is necessary to continue the work. At the end of the session, the participants state what they regard as an example from the stories of their own heroes and what is it that they would like to incorporate in their future life. 

The results of the workshops are measured by deliberative pre- and post-workshop questionnaires, evaluations sheets filled by the students and the teachers and pre- and post-workshop interviews with the group leaders.  

12 students out of the 180 workshop participants will participate in the 5-day-long “Roma heroes” workshop-marathon in December 2017.
You can find the open call by clicking here

The stories presented at the workshops or the ones created there will be published on Roma heroes blog.