Educational theatre and drama as a tool to facilitate Roma inclusion – Bulgaria-1

 decade of roma

The project is implemented thanks to the courtesy of FOUNDATION OPEN SOCIETY INSTITUTE (OSI – ZUG)



01.09.2011 – 31.08.2012


village of Dolni Cibur, Bulgaria



We defined the aim of the project as “Implementation of a program of theatrical activities presenting to the whole society the Roma culture and the talents the Roma people.”

We planned to collect some favorite stories which the grandmothers in the village tell to their grandchildren and to present them on stage. But adults prefer not to talk about ethnic differences. As they said “We have long been integrated…”.

However, after finishing secondary or higher education, these studious Roma come back to Dolni Tsibar which is 99% Roma and with total unemployment. Why?

A few days after our first meetings in Dolni Tsibar there was an ethnic clash in the village of  Katunitza after a young boy had been deliberately run over and killed by the son of a Gypsy baron. Massive anti-Roma protestsstarted in Bulgaria. Nationalist parties used the occasion to incite ethnic hatred among thousands of adolescents.

We were lucky to find the story “Kalo Mitrash” by Miroslav Klima, based on old gypsy tales. It is about a king who hates the Roma and the hatred makes him lonely and miserable forever. We could not find anything more appropriate!

In a fairytale show full of songs and dances the young actors proudly announced from the stage “We are Roma!”. Their convincing message crossed the ethnic boundaries of the society: “We all love in the same way!”

Having strong affinity for the theater the Dolni Tsibar locals were attracted by the challenge of creating a show with princesses, heroes, music, dance and magic. Actors from different generations came into the show. The premiere audience crowded the hall of the local cultural centre and applauded loudly the creators of the show. The Mayor arranged a  municipal bus for tours of the show and expressed the pride of the whole community of the great work.

39 young actors and five adults from Dolni Tsibar participated in 4 different forms of theater. They won the admiration of everyone the project met them with. They toured in 6 cities (including two youth theater festivals), and performed in front of more than 1,500 young people from different ethnic groups.


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