Roma Heroes educational methodology

Independent Theater Hungary developed a Roma Heroes educational methodology, the extended version of which is to be found below. This is the first educational methodology that discusses Roma drama literature, theatre, artists and heroes in an international context.

·   drawing attention to the values of Roma drama literature
·   giving insight to the life of Roma communities around Europe
·   getting to know the stories of the plays’ main characters, their decisions, difficulties and activities

The workshop helps the participants to get to know better each other and the diverse Roma communities. They improve their communication and debate culture, become more open to various opinions and become more cooperative.

The workshop consists of two sessions and is structured as follows:
During the first session, the students analyze and discuss four plays and four heroes. At the beginning, we discuss in general what makes a hero and after we get to know the protagonists of the four plays. We analyze the most important narratives together: difficulties, activity, decision making, action and result.

During the second session, the focus is on the personal heroes and hero stories of the participants. We formulate creative messages together. We try to find the hero in ourselves and work with the heroes of the participants with the help of various creative methods (e.g.: theatre scene, visual art, writing).

You can download our detailed presentation here.

Further information:

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.)

Michael Collins (Ireland) is also a Traveller artist who tells his daughter about his own life to prove her how important it is to study in his play It’s A Cultural Thing. Or Is It?. After each play, the spectators are invited to attend a discussion with the artists. (27th May, 8:30 pm.)



Based on the plays, we develop an educational methodology which completes the educational methodology based on the last year festival's plays. The aim of this is to show the youngsters the values of Roma dramas and their protagonists and to help them present the heroes living in their own environment with artistic methods. In autumn 2018, workshops will be run based on the educational methodology in Hungary for – mostly Roma – students.

Roma Heroes workshops

In the frame of International Roma Storytelling Festival, organized by Independent Theatre Hungary in 2017 and 2018, we developed an educational methodology together with the participating European Roma artists and created video recordings, presenting the example-setting, contemporary Roma protagonists of the plays. Our aim was to make visible the less known values of Roma theatre, the challenges of European Roma communities and to show the reaction of active and responsible people to these challenges so that these can serve as an example for both the members of the Roma communities and the social majority.

The structure of the two-times 90-minute-long workshop is the following:
At the first session, the students get to know four plays and four heroes, they analyze and discuss the story. The workshop starts with group warm-up activities related to the topic, after which the trainers show short audio-visual materials related to the four plays. Having seen the videos, the participants choose one play which they discuss in smaller groups. For this work, the small groups get short parts of the playscript, related background materials and questions. Afterwards, the small groups present the discussed plays and protagonists, agree in what aspect are they similar or different, and discuss the issues arising from these similarities or differences. During the group work, it is important to get to know the situation of the heroes (social facts) and their relations with others and the values they believe in, as well as the decisions they make based on these values, the responsibility they take and the change this initiates. At the end of the session, we ask the students to think about who are the heroes in their closer or broader environment, what makes them heroic and what can be the most important factors in their activities.
During the second workshop we work with creative methods (e.g.: theatre scene, visual art, writing) – building on the previously assessed skills of the group – the students present their own heroes, they analyze the work together and if there is a more complex idea or a sketch that is fit for further thinking they agree on what is necessary to keep developing it. At the end of the session, the participants discuss what qualities of their own heroes or the plays' protagonists are exemplary for them, what do they want to implement in their own life.
The products created during the workshop (text, pictures, audio-visual materials, etc.) are published on Roma Heroes blog after editing them together with the creators.

Feather Picking - Video

The Independent Theater Hungary made motion pictures based on the play ‘Feather Picking’. In one version the theater performance was recorded, while the other video was made as an out-door,  feature version of the play. The video will be used in the preparation of educational methodology, and also will be presented in more festivals in the near future. The first projection of the feature video was on the 8th November in the Vörösmarty Cinema in Budapest in front of 130 spectators.

The trailer of the theater performance:


The trailer of the feature video:


The free version of the whole theater performance:

The realization of the motion pictures were supported in part by the grant from the Open Society Arts and Culture Program and Youth Initiative.

More information about the motion pictures and their potential order: