Success of a Festival

On 27-28 July 2017, the First International Roma Storytelling Festival was organized in Studio K Theater, Budapest, by Independent Theater Hungary and thus Hungary was put on the map of Storytelling Festivals.
Graphic: Norbert Oláh, graphical post-production: Aurélia Nemes

During the two-day-long festival, the spectators saw four plays by four artists. After the shows, the artists were in conversation.
I declare atmy own risk by Alina Serban was translated into Hungarian by Beáta Adorján, who also moderated the conversation after the performance. 
The play of Richard R. O’Neill, The Hardest Word, was performed by Edina Dömök, who has been working with Independent Theater since 2014. The play was translated by Viktória Kondi. Directed by Rodrigo Balogh. 
Mária Bogdán moderated the discussion with the audience.
The dramatized version of Mariella Mehr’s novel Stone Age was performed by Dijana Pavlovic, accompanied by Tamás Seres on violin and vocal. The conversation was moderated by Kinga Júlia Király, the translator of the play. 
Finally, the festival ended with the show of Mihaela Dragan, Del Duma: SheSpeaks, where Gusztáv Balogh sung unaccompanied the actress on guitar. The discussion after the performance was moderated by the translator of the play, Beáta Adorján.

Transmit to posterity
Theatre is the art of the moment. In order to transmit these plays to posterity, we have to turn to the genre of film for help. The focal scenes were recorded in a studio with the technical supervision of Róbert Maly cinematographer, and the students of Central European University, led by Jeremy Braverman, Media and Visual Education Specialist,took in-depth interviews with the artists.
The edited versions of the focal scenes and the in-depth interviews provide the opportunity to show the theatre artists and the protagonist of the plays parallelly. These cinematographic works outline precisely almost all challenges that Roma intellectuals face in the 21th century.

Great success and professional recognition
Several media outlets reported on the Festival both in Hungary and in Romania. Most of the chairs had to be removed from the auditorium of Studio K Theater and they were replaced with pillows placed on the floor, as an average of 85 spectators attended the shows instead of the originally expected 50 persons.
After the Festival, unprecedented amount of professional reviews were published, and in exceptionally high quality.

Educational material on Roma theatre
In the case of Roma people’s and communities’ theatrical representation, what come up are almost always problems, troubles and tragedies.
This festival put self-representation and values in the spotlight.
The question arises: how to spread these values? Our theatre aims to show the life and situation of Gypsy protagonists in the plays to mostly Roma secondary school and university students. Together with the artists, we have laid the foundations of an educational methodology on Roma dramas which was finalized by the methodology group of Independent Theater. From autumn 2017 on, we run two-session workshops of 90-300 minutes in high schools, universities, special colleges and informal groups for mostly Roma youngsters on this topic.
Marton Illes, Dijana Pavlovic, Richard R. O'Neill, Tamás Szegedi, Mihaela Dragan, Viktória Kondi, Rodrigo Balogh and Ágota Szentannai

One doesn’t have to wait long for the program to continue. Independent Theater plans to organize the “Roma Heroes” – 2nd International Roma Storytelling Festival, focusing on young and professional storytellers, at the end of May 2018.
The open call for application will be launched in 2017 and it will be disseminated in Europe.