Mrs Alina Serban
Country of residence
Actress- writer-director- producer
I started producing artistic projects in 2009 to counter injustice with my Roma voice. My first play was a feminist one-(Roma) woman show based on my experience growing up in a traditional impoverished Roma community. I was exposing my own story, endangering the welling of my family, but in many ways my struggle to premiere this show pioneered a whole movement. At the time Roma political art was non-existent in Romania. With increasing national and international media attention, my play served as a counter-point to the dehumanizing mainstream discourse on Roma.
I became increasingly interested in how historical context enables anti-Roma attitudes. I wrote The Great Shame, the first play addressing Roma slavery and its impact on today’s relationship between Roma and non-Roma, casting predominantly Roma actors.
I took on the challenge to direct this play and become the first Roma woman writer-director in Romania to have a play about slavery included in the permanent repertoire of a state-run cultural institution, in a context the topic of slavery is not yet included in the history books.
Despite racism and attempts of censorship, I have kept my integrity and committed myself for the last nine years to creating a space for “our stories” – being mindful of ethical (not unilateral nor simplified) representation of Roma and non-Roma. Thanks to the positive reviews along the way, my work opened a space for other socially engaged Roma voices.