Collaboration by Damian and Delaine Le Bas for the production of the Gorki Theatre's Roma Armee.
“From being perceived as Tramps and Thieves with togetherness we can become the Kings & Queens of Gypsyland Europa. After all, wouldn’t Europe be a more boring place without us Gypsies?”
– Damian Le Bas
“Damian was the soul of Roma Armee and a role model of artistic activism fighting against racism and antiziganism. His influence went beyond his artwork. As the elder statesman for Roma, he encouraged the young to come out and embrace their culture.”
– Shermin Langhoff, Artistic Director of the Gorki Theatre
About Roma Armee
At a time when Europe is at risk of drifting into neo-fascism, a group of actors is calling for a Roma army for the purpose of self-defence. A rapid intervention force to fight structural discrimination, racism and antiziganism, but also as emancipation from an internalized role of victims.
The actors are Romnija, Roma and Romani travellers from Austria, Serbia, Germany, Kosovo, Romania, England and Sweden. They are also Israeli-German-Turkish-Berlin Gadjé – that means that the Roma Army is supranational, diverse, feminist, queer. Initiated by the sisters Simonida and Sandra Selimović, they are entering the stage at the Gorki in a collective act of self-empowering artistic action with resident director Yael Ronen: through a joint research process, personal experiences, historical contaminations and contemporary incidents are explored and used to develop a play.
Together with visual artists Delaine and Damian Le Bas from England, they sketch out a vision for a Safe European Home in Gypsyland Europe, as the Le Bas call it.
Roma Armee premiered 14 September 2017 / Stage Photos: Ute Langkafel