Host heroes in Your Home This Year

Host heroes in Your Home This Year

Roma Heroes – IV. International Roma Theatre Festival

The only international Roma theatre festival of the world is going to be organized for the fourth time by the Independent Theatre Hungary between 21 October and 9 December 2020 – this time online. Each year the festival gives opportunity to Roma theatre troupes to introduce performances that have not been seen before in our country. Our goal is to present more and more stories of Roma heroes and the diversity of Roma culture and theatre. We need heroes more than ever in these difficult times.

We work hard to be able to organize the festival this year as well. Teams from Romania, Ukraine, Austria, Germany and Hungary will be introduced. You can join us from anywhere around the world, all the performances will be subtitled in Hungarian and English. All the plays deal with social issues that influence our lives.  Eight new productions will be presented at the festival, focusing on survival and prosperity.

Are you interested in how the Romanian florist girl became a billionaire? Or what the cyber-witches are able to? Do you want to know what challenges a Roma woman who raised her child alone, lives in a poor, isolated little village and deals with money lending has to face? Or what the life in an Austrian refugee camp is like? How could a Roma community survive in Ukraine during WWII? Why does a Roma artist feel like an animal living in a burrow? How can anyone become a successful theatre creator being a Roma? Or how does a Roma family cope with quarantine when the family members live in different countries of Europe? Follow the Roma Heroes Festival from your armchair every week! Let the inspiring Roma heroes into your home week by week.

„What the Roma, Gypsy and Traveller communities has definitely learned over the centuries is how to adapt to unexpected situations and how to react to them quickly. The key words of the Festival are survival and prosperity. We have a lot to say to anyone about the current situation during the pandemic period and it can happen that our opinion coincides on numerous levels with the experience of the audience. We hope the plays can give strength and motivation to everyone in everyday life.” – Rodrigo Balogh, chief organizer of the Festival, artistic director of Independent Theatre Hungary.

The performances can be seen every Wednesday at 7 p.m. online on our YouTube channel, and they will be followed by a discussion.

Briefly about the performances:

Bambina, The Queen of Flowers

An exciting slice of history is unfolded through the stories of the Romanian florists. Beginning with the appearance of the first florists, we can see how the Roma people adapted to the changes of time until we get to the birth of the flower empire of Lina Georgescu, also known as Bambina. She was the most successful woman ever who reformed the flower trade, skilfully built an empire during communism and after regime changed, she coped with the challenges of the free market, too. Her main goal was to support the young women like her, that is why she was willing to work only with them. ARTHUB company created the reconstruction of Bambina’s life based on the interviews made with her son.

The performance will be in Romanian with Hungarian and English subtitles and is followed by an online public discussion.

Written by Alex Fifea, Zita Moldovan, Andrei Serban

Text and documentation: Alex Fifea, Andrei Serban, Nona Serbanescu, Mihai Lukács, Zita Moldovan

Premiere: 21st October 2020 at 7 p.m.

Village Day – If it’s for Free, It Ain’t Worth Shit!

Lápos can be any village in Hungary today: with inhabitants who struggle for their daily living, better or worse but they are lovable residents.  Misery-tourists visit the village day every year and the participants of the gastro-theatre performance meet real human tragedies in the pokey but inventive village. How much chance does a Gypsy woman have if she raises her child on her own without any opportunity to work? Where is hope when the biggest goodwill turns the most important people of our lives against us? What is needed when we take the road of unscrupulousness because we cannot get out of the woods? Where is the boundary between humanity and inhumanity? Similar questions arise when the tourists are walking on the lush side of Gellért Hill, Budapest during the performance by Independent Theatre Hungary and they can taste the special delicacies of the village during the premiere, too.

The performance will be in Hungarian with English subtitles and is followed by an online public discussion.

Written and directed by Rodrigó Balogh

Dramaturgy by Márton Illés

Protagonist: Emília Lovas

Premiere: 28th October 2020, at 7 p.m.


The gipsy theatre company created the performance in memory of the Roma victim in WWII. Leader does not only tell about the Roma and is not exclusively for the Roma. The play depicts the inner life of people and reflects on the battle of good and bad powers. There are positive stories about feelings, right actions, self-sacrifice, since love and sympathy can serve as a refuge in the most difficult times, too.

The performance will be in Ukrainian with Hungarian and English subtitles and is followed by an online public discussion.

Written and directed by Igor Krikunov

Premiere: 4th November 2020, at 7 p.m.


Perkucigo – The Life Story of Zsolt Fekete-Lovas

The performance of Zsolt Fekete-Lovas is unique, containing elements of stand-up and represents the crisis of identity. He gets into surprising situations as an ethnic Hungarian from Romania with hidden Gypsy origin. The performance is a dialogue between the creators and the audience about the destiny of the Gypsies, mainly about the discrimination in the Romanian health care system.

The performance will be in Hungarian with English subtitles. The play is followed by an online public discussion.

Written by Csaba Székely and Zsolt Fekete-Lovas

Directed by Zsolt Fekete-Lovas, Attila Bordás and Péter Dávid

Premiere: 11th November 2020, at 7 p.m.


European Family

The members of a Roma family live in different points of Europe when the lockdown comes. They can only communicate on video chat, and have to face losses, challenges in their isolated lives and the hidden conflicts and secrets among each other are also revealed. It seems that only magic can help. All the four episodes of the online theatre series are streamed together this time. The story is based on real stories that the Roma people faced during the time of the lockdown in diverse countries of Europe and also the personal stories and improvisations of the artists who created this piece together from their home countries connected only by the internet and their common passion for theatre.

Starring: Sonia Carmona Tapia, Lucia Lakatos, Richard R. O’Neill, Sebastiano Spinella, Tamás Szegedi

Written by Richard R. O’Neill

Co-writers: Sonia Carmona Tapia, Lucia Lakatos, Richard R. O’Neill, Sebastiano Spinella, Tamás Szegedi, Jaime Vicente Bohorquez

Directed by Rodrigó Balogh, Márton Illés, Péter Illés

Cinematographer and editor: Péter Illés

The performance will be in English with Hungarian subtitles and will be followed by an online public discussion.

Premiere: 18th November 2020 at 7 p.m.


Romacen – The Age of the Witch

The performance of the Giuvlipen troupe ‘Romacen- The Age of the Witch’ tells the story of six cyber-witches who created an isolated, futuristic society called Romacen. The society is feminist and utopian which functions according to its own norms and law system. The reason for creating this society was that the members are fed up with the oppression of white people. With the help of technology and techno magic power it becomes possible to travel in time, create humanoid robots and make a direct cyber-attack against the non-Roma. The main question of the play is whether the new world can really be solidary and faithful to the original idea?

The performance will be in Romanian with Hungarian and English subtitles.

The play is followed by an online public discussion.

Written by Mihaela Dragan

Directed by Tina Turnheim

Premiere 25th November 2020 at 7 p.m.



The play by Romano Svato theatre company is about three women from different cultures who are in pre-trial detention, waiting for the assess of the right of asylum in Austria. Their first experiences of „the land of freedom” question the morality of the „know-it-all West”. The Iranian, Syrian and the Roma woman from Kosovo experience the same inhuman treatment, the brutality of male captors and the immigration officer, as well as the interrogation lasting for long hours, meanwhile they escaped from their homelands in the hope of safety. What can we do for them?

The performance will be in German with Hungarian and English subtitles and will be followed by an online public discussion.

Written by: Sandra Selimovic, Simonida Selimovic, Marianne Strauhs 
Directed by Sandra Selimovic
Protagonist: Simonida Selimovic, Ivanana Nikolic, Mateja Maded, Jörg Waltenberger
Camera and Cut by Peter Sihorsch
Premiere: 9th December 2020 at 7 p.m.


I Can See You –based on the short story ‘The Burrow’ by Franz Kafka

The story is about a small predator living underground in a home made by himself. His goal is to protect himself from the world, it’s supposed and real dangers and as a solution he isolates himself from the world and the safety home becomes the prison of his own fears. The performance of the Rroma Act troupe from Berlin is a parody of receding nations and citizenship.

The performance will be in German with Hungarian and English subtitles. The performance is followed by an online public discussion.

Contributors:  Rebecca D. Surber, Nebojša Marković, Slaviša Marković

Premiere: 16th December 2020 at 7 p.m.


Join us this year, too, because „Theatre is for everyone!”

Roma Heroes Retrospective Series

Roma Heroes Retrospective Series

European Roma plays online

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.

The performances are in their original language with Hungarian and English subtitles.

The first play can be seen on 11 June 2020 at 21:00 p.m.

Where? On the YouTube channel of Independent Theater Hungary


Roma Heroes Project

Independent Theatre Hungary, beginning from 2017, organises the only international Roma theatre festival of the world annually. Many Roma theatre companies and artists attend the festival from several countries of Europe each year. We want to draw attention to the values of Roma theatre, the situation in which our Roma communities live, focusing on the challenges many value driven people and Roma heroes must face. The performances are also disseminated at out workshops by the participating young people and our experienced trainers. The plays also became part of the university curriculum at different universities of Budapest. The Theater launched the first Roma drama collection of the world based on the festival performances, and set up an exhibition from the portraits of Roma theatre makers. For further details, please visit:


Performance videos of the retrospective series in order of appearance:

Richard O’Neill – The Hardest Word: in Hungarian with English subtitles on June 11, 2020 21:00 p.m.

The play is about the campaign of the Scottish Traveller writer, Jess Smith who demands an apology from the Prime Minister for the injustices done to Scottish Travellers in the past.


Mihaela Drăgan – Tell Them about Me: in Romanian with English and Hungarian subtitles on June 18, 2020 21:00 p.m.

Through the stories of different Gipsy women living in Romania the play deals with the problem of early marriages.


Zdrava Kamenova, Kalin Angelov – Gipsy Wheels: in Bulgarian with English and Hungarian subtitles on June 25, 2020 21:00 p.m.

With a touch of humour, the performance explores the struggles of a young Roma woman coming from a Bulgarian ghetto who is in search for her self-acceptance and identity.


Jaime E. Vicent Bohórquez, Sonia Carmona Tapia – With Profound Dignity: in Spanish with English and Hungarian subtitles on July 2, 2020 21:00 p.m.

The play is a tribute to Emilia Fernández Rodríguez, the first Roma woman beatified in 2017, and to Gabriela Ortega Gómez, the first Roma performer with an academic qualification ever.


Alex Fifea, David Schwartz – You Didn’t See Anything! in Romanian with English and Hungarian subtitles on July 9, 2020 21:00 p.m.

The piece depicts the social processes and the justice system by showing the reasons behind the death of a Roma boy.


Michael Collins – It’s a cultural thing. Or is it?: in English with Hungarian subtitles on July 16  21:00 p.m.

The piece is about the past of the travelling Gipsies, the Travellers living in Ireland.


Sebastiano Spinella – Children of the Wind: in English with Hungarian subtitles on July 23, 2020 21:00 p.m.

This is the story of the young people living in the ghettos of Italy, on whom everybody has given up, except for Sebastiano.


Márton Illés – Chameleon Girl: in Hungarian with English subtitles on July 30, 2020 21:00 p.m.

The play is about a young Roma girl who must make the hardest decision of her life.


Giuvlipen Theatre Company –Who Killed Szomna Grancsa?: in Romanian with English and Hungarian subtitles on August 6, 2020 21:00 p.m.

With the help of the performance we can get a glimpse at the life of a brave, young girl, first from her village ever to go to secondary school, who fights for the truth to the bitter end.


Rodrigó Balogh – Shoddies: in Hungaran with English subtitles on August 13, 2020 21 p.m.

We can see young people on stage who want to show the chaos of the health care system, their own traumas and prejudices, this way raising the question: what can we, as individuals do to make the situation better?


Ara ART Theatre Company – ‘…and again we all slept pindral’: in Czech with English and Hungarian subtitles on August 20, 2020 21:00 p.m.

It is the tale of an old Roma woman about the fate of the Gipsies starting from creation until the present days.


František Balog – Roma from the Duvet or Enter the Majority! : in Slovakian with English and Hungarian subtitles on 27 August, 2020 21 p.m.

In the centre of the comedy we can find a Roma boy who tells different episodes from his childhood, teenager period and adulthood, this way sharing with us his life story and the process of becoming a member of majority society.