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Speaking for Ourselves

New Roma play at Young Vic breaks stereotypes

New Roma play at Young Vic breaks stereotypes

Daniel Nelson

 Migrant Voice -
 Migrant Voice - New Roma play at Young Vic breaks stereotypes

Breaking bread and stereotypes at the same time is on offer at London’s Young Vic theatre as a company of Roma and Irish Travellers celebrate the culture, identity and traditions of the two communities.

The play, Me For the World, takes the form of a meal, with the cast of six non-professional actors sitting around a huge table with the audience.

The cast worked with writer Molly Taylor, so the script is a compilation of their stories and experiences, from the ignorance they encounter (“Roma? So you’re from Rome?”) to taking pride in their culture.

The Roma are one of Europe’s largest ethnic minorities (estimates vary but generally suggest 10-12 million) and the number of Irish Travellers in Britain is in the 15,000 mark, but both groups face racism and prejudice. The staged dinner is a chance to dish some of the stereotypes.

Assistant director Alessandra Davison, who is Romani, says that anti-Roma racism in Britain has risen in recent years, though “it’s very broad, but it’s not always purposeful or spiteful – there’s lots of ignorance.”

The negative stereotypes are so pervasive, she says, that many settled Roma do not “come out” at work or in public for fear of being blamed if anything goes wrong or being the butt of abuse.

The play is on stage for only two days, but Davison wants to keep up the positive work: “I will continue to do work with Roma communities in some way.”

 

Me For the World is at the Young Vic, 6-7 March. Info: https://www.youngvic.org/whats-on/me-for-the-world