- Teatr Romen
- Moscow, Russia. Director: Aleksandr Kolpakov. The theater was founded in 1931 during the encouragement of Romany culture by Josef Stalin. Its aim was to replace the stereotypical romantic Gypsy figure by a new image of Gypsies taking part in the building of socialism. The theater was meant to help the sedentarization of the Gypsies. It officially opened in April 1931 and was assisted by the Moscow Jewish Theater and the actor Moshe I. Goldblatt, who became the first director. Popular songs and sketches were presented for censorship to the Commissariat of Enlightenment (Ministry of Culture) to convince them that Gypsies were following an appropriate political direction. Three Gypsy writers worked with the company: Michael Bezliudsky, Aleksandr German, and Ivan Rom-Lebedev. In 1933 a performance of Carmen was in the repertoire.The Teatr Romen toured Siberia and the Soviet Far East after much of the western USSR was taken over by the Germans early in World War II. It returned to the west later with the advancing Soviet Army across the Caspian Sea and, with the Luftwaffe above, performed before soldiers at Rostov, showing its commitment to the combat. Two actors joined the armed forces and were decorated for bravery. The theater encountered accusations of "nationalistic deviation," but survived the later suppression of Gypsy culture.The current repertoire varies from world classics to political plays, still encouraging Gypsies to give up the nomadic life and settle. Plays with songs and dances have always been a feature of the repertoire, and the artists have included many popular singers.
Historical dictionary of the Gypsies . Donald Kenrick.