I Declare at My Own Risk

Alina Serban

Alina Serban/Photo

On 27 July 2017, the First International Storytelling Festival opens with I Declare at My Own Risk, a play by Alina Serban, in which the artist shares significant moments of her own life and childhood with the audience.

The play let us glimpse into the life of a young girl, who, just as her peers, is a fan of pop music, likes to hang out with friends and dreams about her future. At the same time, she lives in one of the worst neighbourhoods in Bucharest, under conditions which are not fit for studying. She often feels ashamed for rats crawling around her clothes, for asking acquaintances to let her have a bath at their home, for being Roma.

When her mother gets into jail, it becomes evident for her that if she wants to get out of poverty, she can solely rely on herself. Not even the hardest of times can wipe the smile off her face and break the endurance in her heart. Although sometimes she doubts that her dreams may come true, finally she gets to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London and accepts her Roma origin. She realises: being Roma is not only a stigma but also something to be proud of. Surely, the struggle does not end here. “Having climbed a mountain, you may rest a bit but after there will be another peak to climb” - believes the artist, author of several own plays, which, as an actress, she performs in Romania and in the United Kingdom as well. 

“What Alina Serban undertakes in this play artistically is a milestone in the history of documentarist theatre. She does not only perform promptly and precisely as an actress but also she sets an important human example” - says Mária Szilágyi, director of Contemporary Drama Festival.  

After the performance, a conversation will be organized with the participation of Alina Serban. The performance is in English language, with Hungarian interpreting.

Written, directed and performed by: Alina Serban
Translated by: Beáta Adorján

Stúdió K Theatre (Budapest, 9. district, Ráday street 32.)
27th July 2017, 18.00h

Duration of the performance: 90 min
Duration of the conversation: 60 min

Tickets information 

Roma Heroes - I. International Roma Storytelling Festival

Roma Heroes

This is the title of the first international Roma Storytelling Festival organized by Independent Theater Hungary on 27-28 July 2017 in Studio K Theater (1092 Budapest, Ráday u. 32.). 
By presenting the monodramas of four contemporary European playwrights,  the special cultural event aims to shed light on the values of Roma theatre, draw attention to the situation of Roma communities, especially of Roma women, and to put exemplary life courses, role models and heroes in the spotlight.

The international festival of Roma theatre in Budapest focuses on personal stories. 
The programme of the two-day-long festival include four monodramas, all presenting real life Roma heroines who were able to initiate changes in their own life or in their community. The four plays deal with powerful personal stories and social issues in the once harrowing, other time humorous form of storytelling.

Three out of the four plays will be performed by the authors themselves, with Hungarian and English surtitles or interpreting. 
Alina Serban (Romania) - ‘I Declare at My Own Risk’
Mihaela Dragan (Romania) - ‘Del Duma’
Dijana Pavlovic (Italy) - ‘Speak, My Life’
The performance of the fourth monodrama, ‘Hardest Word’ by the British Richard O’Neill, will be the Hungarian premier of the play, directed by Rodrigó Balogh and performed by Edina Dömök.

“Although the European Roma Theatre has more than 130-year-long tradition and there are active and professional Roma theatre artists in several countries, Roma theatre is hardly known” - claims Rodrigó Balogh, artistic director of the Festival organizer Independent Theatre Hungary. “That’s why we’d like to show that Gypsy culture is not limited to dance, music and visual arts; there is outstanding value in the field of theatre as well. Getting to know these values may serve as inspiration for Roma communities and theatre professionals as well.”
Alina Serban/Photo

From the play I Declare at My Own Risk by Alina Serban (right), we learn about how the playwright got to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, starting from a Roma settlement in Bucharest.

Mihaela Dragan/Photo

 Del Duma by Mihaela Dragan (left) tells about the life of Gypsy women in Romania 
and the difficulties they have to face. 

Dijana Pavlovic/Photo

In Speak, My Life by Dijana Pavlovic (right) unfolds the life story of Mariella Mehr, the Swiss Jenish writer, and the attempted genocide of Jenish people in Switzerland in 20th century. 

Richard R. O'Neill/Photo

Hardest Word, the play by the British author, Richard R. O’Neill (left), presents how Jess Smith, the Scottish traveller woman, confronts the first minister of Scotland and fights for the recognition of Traveller people’s human rights.


After the festival, the authors with the help of Hungarian education experts will develop an educational methodology based on the monodramas, addressing university students. 
The aim of the educational material is to show valuable Roma plays and Roma heroes to Hungarian and foreign youngsters; moreover, to help the students to present their own heroes in a creative way. 
In autumn 2017, the educational methodology is planned to be taken to - mostly Roma - students in Hungary, and in the following years, to access youngsters in further European countries.

Main supporter: Badur Foundation