We are ‘56

Independent Theater Hungary pays tribute to the heroes of ‘56 with its latest play. The last days of October and the first days of November of 1956 come to life in the interactive promenade performance. The audience becomes a group of revolutionaries led by the four protagonists of the play who share their stories and dilemmas with them. The figures of the four main characters were inspired by the figures of real revolutionaries and the theatrical creators of the theatre elaborated them during cooperative and creative workshops. The premiere of the performance was in Bakelit Multi Art Center, Budapest on 23 October 2021. 

What do freedom and being free mean nowadays? What grievances do we carry with us? Why was the revolution important? What do we risk if we grab a gun and fight the power? The performance invites the audience to go on an imaginary journey and summon the time of the Hungarian Revolution together. We suddenly find yourselves on the battlefield where there is no time to think, action must be taken immediately, we have to assist in the transport of food, medicine and arms, to take cover or just control the armory. We become part of the fight, share a common goal, we stand together helping each-other and we leave no man behind.

„We had ’56 but this one is different. Stories that we can hardly remember directly. Few live participants can pass on what happened in the streets of Budapest in October 1956. We travel back in time and recall the past. Whoever comes will become a participant in the line of fire. No comfort. Fight for survival. Fight for freedom. In a different ’56, in a different Corvin Passage! “True Hungarians march with us!” – Are you coming with us?”-Tamás András Szegedi, director

Without memories of our past, we are unable to build the future. Although we cannot change the past, it is up to us to shape the future. “If we were taught this way at school, it would be easier to learn everything.”-said a student visiting the performance.


Homage to the heroes

The performance was inspired by the stories of the following Roma revolutionaries:


He was originally a musician. When the revolution broke out, he immediately joined the revolutionaries. He got a gun, he got into the street fights, and with the crowd he marched to Republic Square. He was sentenced to death at first and second instance for “participating in a movement to overthrow the people’s democratic state order”. He was executed on February 26, 1959, at the age of thirty-two. He had three children, the youngest he could never embrace.



She was only 17 years old and four months pregnant when she and her friends got involved in the revolutionary events. She mastered the use of weapons among the revolutionaries of Corvin Passage and in a few days got a team of six to command. She was shot dead at the end of Práter Street on October 28, 1956. A memorial plaque was erected in honour of Ilona Szabó in Corvin Passage.



In October 1956, Erzsébet worked as a graduate nurse at the Baross Street gynaecology clinic. She and her husband belonged to the Víg Street group. If necessary, she would supply the wounded, if necessary, she would take up arms. With her husband they got two shops to open and carried food to the revolutionaries by a car stolen from the clinic. She was arrested in June 1957, after six months of hiding, and held for one year in pre-trial detention. In the end, she was sentenced to life in prison for taking part in the fights, armed conspiracy to overthrow the Hungarian People’s Democratic Republic, and for three attempted murders. In March 1970, he was released after 13 years, when she learned that her husband had been executed. She died in 2013.



On October 25, 1956, at the age of 16, he joined the revolutionaries at Práter Street school. He was assigned to patrol, then he was responsible for taking care for minor casualties and he was entrusted to transport the more severely injured people to the hospital. He was taken away on March 28, 1958, and his family knew nothing about him for three months. The prosecutor demanded a death penalty for József who was eventually sentenced to five years in prison. After a long illness, he died in June 2013.


Producer: Rodrigó Balogh
Dramaturge: Márton Illés
Director: Tamás András Szegedi
Director’s assistant: Kálmán Lukács
Performed by Ramóna Farkas, Nóra Nemcsók, Dávid Varga, Norbert Varga, Szilárd Szegedi, Anna Eszter Zábó
Sound and poster by Vilmos Horváth