Independent Theater Hungary

Independent Theater Hungary

Független színház Magyarország

Year of foundation of the theater2007
Place:Budapest, Hungary
Leader of the theater: Rodrigó Balogh
Main artists:Rodrigó Balogh - director, artistic leader

Márton Illés - dramaturg and director

Emília Boda-Novy - actor and director

Tamás András Szegedi - actor, director, drama instructor and trainer

István Babindák - actor, musician and music composer

Máté Antal Kovács
- musician and music composer

Orsolya Balogh - actor

Dávid Csányi - actor and director

Edina Dömök
- actor and trainer

Norbert Varga
- actor

Dávid Varga - actor

Ramóna Farkas - actor

"One of the goals of the Independent Theater is to train disadvantaged young people. Thus, they also include in their performances those who come from a similar environment, from a painful deprivation. That’s why they can be so authentic.

But that doesn’t mean that they’re amateurs. Their gestures are expressive, their facial expressions are meaningful. Moving close between us, they don’t fall out of their role, they improvise well when they must. They can mix tragedy and comedy at almost the same moment. They talk about themselves through their theater. They talk about their own problems in public, with brutal honesty and amazing openness."


- Gábor Bóta (journalist) on Frog Tales in Népszava, 2021

ABOUT the theater

Our mission is to help underprivileged Roma and non-Roma people become successful artists, trainers, or professionals in whichever field they work but first and foremost, help them become active citizens.

We want to achieve that different groups can understand and accept each-other and can create values together. We want to reach and facilitate those who don’t usually have access to culture, and make the people already abandoned by society active citizens. We want the young people of the future to find authentic pieces of art about today’s society.

It’s important for us to show how colorful the Roma theatre is, how many different topics are covered and what a wide range of genres are combined in it.


Social Marie Special Prize

Soós Mária Prize at International Romani Film Festival, Budapest

International Ibsen Award

Junior Prima Prize Hungarian Education and Public Education Category

UNHCR Refugee Award

Main productions

Rodrigó Balogh, Márton Illés: Frog Tales (Békamesék)
D.: Rodrigó Balogh

“… my role as a parade frog
will be to prove
how beautiful and inclusive the non-frog world is.”

The play is preceded by Leonor Teles’ experimental short film A Ballad from Batrach. In the film, the artist breaks frog statues at the entrance to Portuguese shops, drawing attention to a discriminatory practice. These seemingly charming frog statues were placed at the entrance of the shops throughout Portugal to keep the Roma away. We know of many stories that security guards follow the Roma in the shops and that they are not even allowed into many clubs. But the frogs themselves are rarely mentioned. Who are these frogs? In many cases, they are the members of the Roma minority themselves. This is because majority societies have always preferred to employ members of minorities to keep them away or even regulate their own people.

In the performance directed by Balogh Rodrigó we get to know the history of three generations of a frog family, two generations of which can get a job as guardians, bouncers. Thus, they are often confronted with the people of their own community and divided against their own identity. The family members in the story evolve from generation to generation, until the youngest frog can turn from a guardian-frog into a musician. With his art, he already softens the heart of the princess who will fall in love with him. Of course, from the kiss of the princess, frogs will become princes. The question, however, is whether the distinction between frogs will cease if a young frog turns into a prince? Because Obama became president, has institutional discrimination against American blacks come to an end? Have the Roma in decision-making positions in Hungary made any systemic changes to the daily lives of their communities? The exhibition of the artist Norbert Oláh and the related performance end with these questions.

Off-Biennale (Off-Bienálé)
Budapest, Hungary

Tamás András Szegedi: Ogre Freak – Or Face the Truth!
(Ogre para – avagy nézz szembe az igazsággal!)
*puppet theater*
D.: Tamás András Szegedi

Ogre freak - Or Face the Truth! is a puppet show that depicts the high school years of a young Roma boy whose greatest fear is that his origins will be revealed. The story is about overcoming this fear, taking pride in ourselves and it is about the fact that we all have difficulties we don’t have to hide.

What difficulties does a young person have to face in a new environment? What could be the secret to success? How can he be popular in the new environment? “Ogre freak” makes life difficult for a twelve-year-old boy. To escape his fears, he has to work hard to keep his secrets hidden from his new friends in his new school. Adam, the protagonist, seizes every opportunity to be popular, but recognition and success are not given for free, and sooner or later the truth will come to light. Then friendship, trust, courage, and all-encompassing love will have a real role to play!

RS9 Theater (RS9 Színház)
Budapest, Hungary

Barnabás Boda-Novy: Panna Czinka – The Dance of the Witch
(Czinka Panna – Boszorkánycsárdás)
D.: Emília Boda-Novy

The grueling fated girl, Panna Czinka already at the age of 9, played her violin in such a way that people marveled at her. Thanks to her talent, her landowner taught her to play the violin with his own money, and by the age of 12, the little Gypsy girl had become a real virtuoso artist. She traveled the country in a Gypsy caravan, practiced, played music diligently; she lived as a fugitive when she had to, and she played music when she was allowed to. The caravan once farmed close to the camp of a Hungarian regiment when a handsome military officer appeared. Despite all the bitterness of the young woman’s fate, she greeted him with an open heart. Love unfolded between them minute by minute. The Hungarian soldier and the Gypsy girl embarked on a common path. But the persecution of the Gypsies affected the lives of both. Their love was overshadowed by a lot of hurt, malice, and a sense of love for their own people.

Is the saying that love defeats everything true? If you had to choose between a relationship and a career, what would you choose? Can different origins put an end to capitalized love? The love thread of our story is fictitious, but the performance describes historically accurate events. Seventy minutes of time-jump awaits the audience in the arms of Mother Nature. Accompanied by authentic live music, we show the age and the woman who was the first to make a breakthrough in Gypsy music.

Gellért Hill (Gellérthegy)
Budapest, Hungary

Read More

Guest performances

Rodrigó Balogh, Márton Illés: Frog Tales (Békamesék)
-> Kathe Akana International Roma Festival
Bucharest, Romania

Márton Illés: Chameleon Girl (Kaméleonlány)
-> The Wave Cultural Center
Prešov, Slovakia

Rodrigó Balogh: Shoddies (Selejtesek)
-> Őrkő Manus Roma Reunion (Manus
Őrkő, Romania

Rodrigó Balogh: Feather Picking (Tollfosztás)
-> St-Gervais Theater (Théâter St-Gervais Geneva)
Geneva, Switzerland

photo credits

All rights reserved

 1: ©Vivien Kovács-Balogh_Independent Theater Hungary team

2: ©Alina Vincze_Kosovo Mon Amour

3: ©Alina Vincze_Shoddies

4: ©Alina Vincze_Village Day

5: ©Alina Vincze_Village Day

6: ©Alina Vincze_Roma Heroes Festival

7: ©Máté A. Kovács_Highlights of Hungary Award

8: ©Alina Vincze_The Hardest Word

9: ©Alina Vincze_Village Day

10: ©Alina Vincze_Shoddies

11: ©Alina Vincze_workshop

12: ©Alina Vincze_Shoddies

13: ©Alina Vincze_Chameleon Girl

14: ©Alina Vincze_Independent Theater Hungary team

15: ©screenshot_European Family