The program, a collaboration between Káva Cultural Group, anBlokk Association and Krétakör, set out to create a forum for dialogue between Roma and non-Roma inhabitants – members of a minority group and members of mainstream society – of two villages (Ároktő and Szomolya) in Northeast Hungary using different means of theatre in education, forum theatre and contemporary arts.
We tried to set up situations that encouraged our audience to express their opinion and even form the events. This way they could give voice to their everyday experiences. Our observations show, that despite the hidden or revealed tensions, there is a demand for discussion. A contemporary art project can provide a more adequate framework for this than a political event. The project made it possible for every participant to experience the community building effects of cooperation and shared cultural events.
In the story presented in the first village, a young couple moves to Ároktő and experiences difficulties typical for that village. Every evening, the players were actors as well as moderators. Based on the topic of the evening (e.g. Should we buy a house or a car? What to do about our increasing debts?), people from the audience could give advice to the couple. These arguments were then incorporated into the scenes.
In a separate workshop, children from the village focused on how they envision Ároktő in the future. This was followed by the program’s most controversial topic: stay or leave Ároktő? The villagers collected their arguments in groups.
As a closing event, we screened a video summary of the previous theatre nights.
In Szomolya we shot a short feature film with four young locals. They themselves wrote the story and played the roles. The film was about a young non-Roma man who went through a great deal of trouble and finally acknowledged his Roma love publicly. In the adult section we merged many of the activities in order to have a shorter introduction part and have more time for addressing the issues. To conclude our Szomolya project, once again we screened a selection of the different reactions from the theatre nights.