Roma Heroes Retrospective Series

Independent Theater Hungary launches an on-line series starting on 11 June 2020 and presents a European Roma theatre performance each week. The theatrical company has been organising the only international Roma theatre festival of the world for years. Responding to the current situation in a unique way, Independent Theater makes the festival performance videos available on its video sharing portal. The first piece, The Hardest Word by Richard O’Neill will be available from 11 June 2020 (21 p.m.).

The aim of Independent Theater Hungary is to show the artistic and thematic diversity of Roma theatre. In the forthcoming three months, twelve video recordings of notable festival performances from the past years will be presented. Each Thursday at 21 p.m. a new Roma play will be made available for a week on the official YouTube channel of the Theater.

Even though there have been Roma theatres for more than 100 years in Europe, and nowadays there are numerous active and inspiring Roma theatre companies in several counties, there’s hardly any possibility to get to know them unless you visit the Roma Heroes International Festival or watch our retrospective series online. The series unveils the varied but unknown face and fate of the Roma people beginning from the world of the British Travellers to the Roma heroines of the Spanish Civil War, from the inhabitants of present-day Italian Gipsy settlements to the young Roma people facing unusual challenges in Romania.

‘Through these stories we can get hold of a lot of knowledge regarding the past and present of the different European societies. If we find the hero in the other person and in ourselves, we can finally understand each-other and can feel able to shape our world. Roma theatre, as part of the cultural heritage, has an important role.’ – said Rodrigó Balogh, the artistic director of Independent Theater Hungary. The IV. Roma Heroes International Theatre Festival will be held again, in October 2020.  Based on the dramas and performance recordings collected during the past years, the Theater will create a digital archive with the purpose to make the values of Roma theatre available for the future generations.

Beside the performance videos, various interviews made with Roma theatre makers and actors will also be shared with the public.

Where? On the YouTube channel of Independent Theater Hungary

Peer Gyn’s children – Sin Village

The adaptation of the world-famous Peer Gynt by Ibsen tells the story of a young boy living in a small, corrupt village where nobody has the courage to take actions against the mayor’s crime organisation. The boy is very popular among women, especially the mayor’s daughter is fond of him, but he needs a lot of luck when he mentions the discrepancies occurring in the village.

The United Nation Prize and Ibsen Award winning performance by the Independent Theatre Hungary can be seen during the three-hour long excursion to Gellért Hill and is performed by young Roma and non-Roma actors. The different scenes take place in various points of the picturesque hill. The participants can never know what will happen next, the only stable thing is that at the end of the excursion, on the green field they have dinner together with the creators of the unusual initiative.

Witten and directed by – Rodrigó Balogh
Dramaturgy and director’s assistant – Márton Illés

Performed by – András Nyárai, Anna Barabás, Edmond Oláh, Franciska Farkas, Gellért Csiki, Orsolya Ádám, Péter Ónodi,
Tamás Boros



Five young people run off from the summer camp organised for Roma children after having pointed out some discrepancies. They want to go home. On the way they get into real and dream-like situations and get to know each-other’s stories that also come alive on the stage. Through the experiences of the children we get a glimpse at a corner of the world which most of us know little about or we only have distorted information about.

Writer-director: Rodrigó Balogh
Dramaturg: Márton Illés


Babrinka – Emília Lovas
Rambo – Alfréd Roberto Német
Index – József Szkiba
Mónika – Mercedes Kalocsay
Szotyi – Tamás András Szegedi  / Edmond Oláh (Mizó)


National and Ethnic Minority Rights Protection Office (NEKI);
The Movement for Desegregation Foundation; Bálint House

The play that was written from recent legal cases and from personal stories by Rodrigó Balogh, United Nations Prize-winner theatre director and Junior Prima Awards-winner instructor, exposes several discrepancies of Roma integration that never appear in public discourse, not to mention literature. Even if Roma art has received greater attention lately, especially authentic pieces of art made in the style of Romanticism were highlighted, while Hungarian culture hardly ever dealt with today’s problems of the Roma. Feather Picking shows today’s society and the reality of Roma integration full of absurdity, hypocrisy and horrors.

MIRAD, A boy from Bosnia

Mirad, Fazila, Djuka…Exotic names….The people bearing these names can be Kurdish, Afghan, Iraqi, Palestinian, Somalian. Several examples of hotbeds of crisis on Earth could be provided.  We listen to the news and read the newspapers with the certainty ’That’s not gonna happen to us…’.

The Mouth Organ-playing Boy by István Simon was brought to us by World War II. Rodrigo Balogh’s Mirad is weeping with his moth-organ for the past, the present and the future, thus, for everything. This studio drama is imminent in time and space. What’s left for a man when the Yugoslav Wars have just destroyed all his world?

Writer – Ad de Bont
Director – Rodrigó Balogh 
Dramaturg – Tamás Török
Translater – Márta Simon 
Graphic designer – Zoltán Oláh

Performed by –

Mirad: Gábor Jászberényi
Djuka:  Szabolcs Jáger
Fazila: Erika Gergely

In 2007 Independent Theater Hungary was awarded the Shelter Award by UNHCR for creating and keeping the play in the repertoire for years, and for its solidarity activity in Central Eastern Europe, i.e. for promoting the solidarity for refugees.


“Ouch…! – Gypsy- folklore musical performance from 2004

The play shows the troubles and success of the protagonist, Rupi, the Sheep. Its main message is that no matter who we are, where we come from or what colour our skin is, we all have the same problems. The performance is built on tolerance which is one of the most fundamental human values. Its most important tool is humour. In the play we can hear authentic Gypsy songs in Greek, Romanian, Serbian, Hungarian, Slovene, Russian and Czech Roma languages.

The prose materials of the performance were inspired by the tales of Károly Bari. It is rich in idioms, word puns, and the folksy narrative is blended with today’s language.

Director – Balogh Rodrigó