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Roma Heroes Empowerment and Awareness-raising through Contemporary Drama

Drama and storytelling are extraordinary and influential tools when it comes to shaping attitudes and inspiring action. Badur Foundation is therefore proud to support the newest educational programme of the Independent Theatre company, which will be based on contemporary Roma plays - a first time concept for Hungary. By profiling value-led, active and successful Roma drama heroes, Independent Theatre hopes both to empower Roma communities and to differentiate the stereotypical image of the majority.

Contemporary Roma playwrights are not widely known, despite the artistic excellence they represent and the timely messages they wish to convey. Independent Theatre’s newest educational programme is based on four modern Roma plays; each of which talks of profound human struggles.

The authors and titles are as follows:

  • Mihaela Dragan (Romania, Giuvlipen Group): Del Duma
  • Dijana Pavlovic (Italy, individual artist): Vita mia, parla
  • Richard O’Neill (United Kingdom, individual artist): Hardest Word
  • Alina Serban (Romania, individual artist): I declare at my own risk

The work of Mihaela Dragan, Dijana Pavlovic, Richard O’Neill and Alina Serban are centred on strong Roma heroines who challenge the status quo. One rebels against family traditions, another excels in her studies despite personal hardship, the third achieves structural changes through civil disobedience and the fourth challenges the state authorities.

These are powerful life stories which can serve as an example to everyone, especially to young Roma. These stories will be the basis of some innovative educational material and a workshop series that Independent Theatre will bring to 180 Roma youngsters in order to foster active citizenship. Through cooperative and engaging workshops, young Roma people will have the opportunity to relate these stories to their own personal lives and reflect about everyday heroes in their own communities. Youngsters will also be supported to show these personal stories via creative art work reaching a much wider audience beyond the workshop participants. Through this element, the project also aims to initiate dialogue with the majority society and challenge entrenched stereotypes about the Roma community.

Photo credit:

  • Thumbnail: Hernan Pinera