Roma heroes - symposium, book launch and exhibition 

Independent Theater Hungary organizes a symposium called 'Roma Heroes' in the topic of Gypsy theatre, presenting the first Roma monodrama collection in the world on 27th March 2019. The special cultural event is realized in cooperation with Goethe Institute and the Delegation of Flanders in Hungary.

"Roma plays and their protagonists are just as diverse as the Roma/Gypsy people and communities in Europe. We need everyday heroes whose stories can inspire us in everyday life. We got to learn the stories of value-led European citizens on World Theatre Day from this book" - said Rodrigó Balogh, artistic director of Independent Theatre 

The whole-day-long event puts Roma theatre, the genre of storytelling and Roma protagonists in the spotlight. In the morning, the symposium starts with the lectures of Guy Tilkin, Flamish storytelling expert, Gábor Bernáth, communications specialist and Mihaela Dragan, actress, all focusing on the importance and potential of storytelling. After the opening lectures, university professors tell about the methods that they have used to talk about Roma theatre and the problems of Gypsy communities with university students in various academic fields.

The first Roma drama collection in the world itself is presented in the afternoon. The plays guide us through Ireland, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Hungary and Romania. Each drama tells the story of a Roma hero. The plays not only present the life of Roma people and communities but also help to find our own heroes. Hungary's represented by the play Letter to Brad Pitt, the autobiographic monodrama by Franciska Farkas. One scene is recited by actors from each play.

The exhibition presenting European Roma theatre is situated in the market hall at Rákóczi square where the big posters feature Roma theatre artists, Roma protagonists and their ideas of the world. The exhibition is on in the market hall till 7th April.

At the end of the day, Independent Theatre presents the play The Hardest Word by Richard O’Neill, starring Edina Dömök, in RS9 Theatre. On the occasion of World Theatre Day, the message of Igor Krikunov, director of the Ukrainian Roma theatre, Romance, is read out for the spectators.
The main supporter of the event and of ‘Roma Heroes’ program is the London-based Badur Foundation.


II. International Roma Storytelling Festival

Independent Theatre Hungary organizes the second “Roma Heroes” international Roma theatre festival in Stúdió K Theatre (1092 Budapest, Ráday u. 32.) between 24-27 May 2018. 

The special cultural event aims to draw attention to the values of Roma drama and storytelling as well as the situation of Roma communities by presenting eight contemporary European plays, putting example-setting lives and extraordinary challenges into the spotlight. 

The international Roma theatre gathering in Budapest focuses on personal storytelling. The program of the four-day-long festival concentrates on Roma heroes who are able to initiate changes in their own lives and in their communities. The protagonist’s active behavior stays with us after the show and makes us think about the story. 

"Roma theatre artists and storytellers deserve more attention than they got currently, says Rodrigó Balogh, leader of the festival's organizer Independent Theatre. The best proof of how many valuable artists live in Europe is that this year, more artist applied to the festival than we can invite. There are many more storytelling and chamber theatre plays that we have to show to the world in the future – and it is important for the cultural decision-makers to get to know about these works too. This festival proves that the members of the Roma communities have long been able to live their lives according to civic values."

The eight plays are presented with English subtitles and Hungarian interpreting.

Independent Theatre's play, Chameleon Girl tells the hero stories of today’s Roma youth who took part in the workshops based on the last year festival's plays. (24th May, 6 pm, open rehearsal: 23rd May, 7 pm)
The play You Didn’t See Anything by Alex Fifea and David Schwartz (Romania) elaborates the circumstances of a Roma man's death who was killed a few years ago. (24th May, 8:30 pm)

The show Gypsy Wheels by Natalia Tsekova (Bulgaria) presents a woman who tries to get rid of her memories and her Roma identity. (25th May, 6 pm.)


Sonia Carmona Tapia (Spain) tells the parallel stories of two Roma women: one who was beatified last year and a world-known preforming artist. One opposed the Communist- and the other the Franco-regimes: With Profound Dignity. (25th May, 8:30 pm)


Sebastiano Spinella (Italy) – whose family kept his Roma origin secret but he travelled Europe as a circus artist and found his roots - tells the story of his own life in his play Children Of The Wind. (26th May, 6 pm)

Franciska Farkas from Knowledge Is Power company in her play Letter to Brad Pitt also revives her own past and how she finally found her own way after many difficulties and bypasses. (26th May, 8:30 pm) 

photo by: Zoltán Miklóska 

Richard O’Neill (United Kingdom) in his play Today's Lesson tells about a Traveller teacher who the school management tried to convince to conceal his origin. (27th May, 6 pm.)