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Roma Theatre Retrospective 2021

Celebrating Four Years of Contemporary, International Romani Theatre

Independent Theater Hungary, in partnership with HowlRound Theatre Commons, presents the Roma Theatre Retrospective 2021. An entirely virtual endeavor, this project features forty livestreamed events—twenty performances and interviews, each streamed twice—from seventy Romani artists in ten countries. These livestreams enact a climate and public health-conscious approach to theatremaking and viewing. An entirely virtual endeavor, the Retrospective anticipates carbon emissions similar to flying just six artists round-trip from New York to Budapest. Simultaneously, it invites international connection and access to this unique and robust performance community.

These performances were all initially featured during four editions of the Roma Heroes International Theater Festival in Budapest, which the Independent Theater Hungary has organized annually since 2017. The Roma Heroes International Theater Festival is the only international Roma theatre encounter in the world. It aims to showcase the diversity and value of Roma theatre and to draw attention to Roma communities by focusing on the challenges of their everyday heroes.

Although Romani or Roma are the largest ethnic minority in Europe, they still experience high levels of racism and social barriers. Additionally, Roma regularly face stereotypical representation in media and culture. Stigmas like these contribute to Roma theatre being relatively unknown despite more than a century of performance history within professional theatre groups in many countries. Join us in changing that narrative, and introduce yourself to the work of Roma artists from across Europe during the 2021 Retrospective.

The 2021 Roma Theatre Retrospective is supported in part by a grant from the Trust for Mutual Understanding.

Image of people sitting outdoors at a park during a performance.
Narratives of Activity in Traveller Drama Literature
Essay

Narratives of Activity in Traveller Drama Literature

Examining the plays It’s a Cultural Thing by Michael Collins and The Hardest Word and Today’s Lesson by Richard R. O’Neill

18 November 2021

Rodrigó Balogh, artistic director of the Independent Theater Hungary, shares his work and experiences creating a workshop series for Roma youth focused on several plays from the Roma Heroes International Theater Festival.

Performer with puppet.
Roma Heroes, Superpowers, and Human Agency: Exploring Taboo Topics in Independent Theater Hungary’s Festivals
Essay

Roma Heroes, Superpowers, and Human Agency: Exploring Taboo Topics in Independent Theater Hungary’s Festivals

11 November 2021

Pulling from works in the Independent Theater Hungary’s annual Roma Heroes International Theatre Festival, Rosamaria Kostic Cisneros discusses the ways that festival artists created and staged nuanced depictions of Roma life. Cisneros highlights several of these plays and pays particular attention to their representations of potentially taboo material.

A woman holding a white scarf over her head.
Roma Women on the Way to Self-Realization
Essay

Roma Women on the Way to Self-Realization

Performance Excerpts from the Last Four Years of the Roma Heroes International Theater Festival

4 November 2021

János Róbert Orsós reflects on the representation of Roma women in the plays presented during the past four years of the Independent Theater Hungary’s Roma Heroes International Theater Fesitval.

A woman holding a protest sign
Roma Identity: From Stigmatization to Reconstruction
Essay

Roma Identity: From Stigmatization to Reconstruction

28 October 2021

Luiza Medeleanu discusses the importance and impact of Roma representation through her analysis of four Roma social plays.

Seven people at a bar table.
Reimagining a Segregated World: Roma Heroes, European Dramas
Essay

Reimagining a Segregated World: Roma Heroes, European Dramas

21 October 2021

Noémi Herczog discusses the need for greater Roma visibility on stage and introduces Roma Heroes: Five European Dramas, a new collection that anthologizes plays from the Independent Theater Hungary’s Roma Heroes International Theater Festival.

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Livestreaming: Roma Theatre Retrospective 2021
Video

Livestreaming: Roma Theatre Retrospective 2021

Celebrating Four Years of Contemporary, International Romani Theatre

Tuesday 19 October to Friday 10 December 2021
Worldwide

Independent Theater Hungary in partnership with HowlRound Theatre Commons present the Roma Theatre Retrospective 2021 which includes forty livestreams of twenty shows and twenty interviews from Romani artists in ten countries who were featured during four editions of the Roma Heroes International Theater Festival, Budapest. Livestreaming on the commons-based peer produced HowlRound TV network Tuesday 19 October to Friday 10 December 2021. Sign up to be notified of upcoming livestreams in the Retrospective.

Series are collections of content curated around a specific theme. HowlRound works with curators to develop topical pieces meant to spotlight current events and happenings within the commons.