- Romen, the Moscow Music and Drama Romani Theatre, is the world’s oldest Romani theatre.
- Romen Theatre is an ideal place to get a feel of the Romantic spirit of Romani tabors and to experience the fiery passion of Romani dances and songs.
- Romani shows are a selection of distinctive dance and music shows centered around the same narrative pattern.
- Among the Theatre’s highlights is a production headed We are Romanis that involves the entire troupe.
- The Theatre offers exuberant, fairytale-inspired matinee performances for children.
- All information in the Theatre is in Russian only.
The Romani, or Gypsies, call themselves ‘Roma’ in their language. Romen, the Moscow Music and Drama Romani TheatreRussian: Moskovskiy muzykalno-dramaticheskiy tsyiganskiy teatr «Romen» or Московский музыкально-драматический цыганский театр «Ромэн», is the oldest of all Romani theatres in the world. The theatre traces its origins to 1930 when the idea of creating the first national Romani theatre was introduced. The Romani theatre studio, Indo-RomenRussian: Индо-Ромэн, officially opened in January 1931 and has been active ever since. Today, the Romen Theatre is famous far beyond Russia and its performers are internationally renowned specialists in their field.
Romani traditions in the theatre
The Romen theatre is unusual in that it reflects true Romen traditions; this is particularly valuable because Romani people have historically been unwilling to let in spectators from outside. You should definitely visit the Romen Theatre if you want to feel the magic of a Gypsy camp, to see the mesmerizing and fiery whirlwind of dancing with colourful shawls and skirts and to hear the low and guttural sounds of the Romani language. Located in the legendary Sovietsky HotelRussian: отель #Советский# on Leningradsky AvenueRussian: Leningradskiy prospekt or Ленинградский проспект, this theatre, in whose walls rage the most violent and sincere theatrical passions stands apart from many other theatres reflecting Moscow’s rich theatrical diversity.
The History of Romen theatre
The composer Semen Bugachevsky, the director Moishe Goldblat, the Romani playwright Alexandr Germano and Mikhail Yanshin, an artist at the Moscow Art Theatre, were the founders of the Romani theatre who put on the theatre’s first performances in the 1930s and 1940s. Later, Russian words were added to the sounds of the Romani speech flowing from the stage. The current theatre director is Nikolai Slichenko, a famous Romani actor and a People’s Artist of the USSR. Just as several decades ago, people come to the Romen Theatre to feel the performers’ authentic energy and to enjoy the bright and exuberant show. But do not expect to see any intricacies of psychological theatre here; the stage comes alive with performances through dance and songs aimed, first of all, at the audience and, then, at fellow artists.
In terms of the genre, Romani performances have little in common with musicals and operettas and, at the Romen Theatre, they are more like a set of musical and dance sequences using with the same story line. The performances We are RomanisRussian: «Мы – цыгане», directed by Ivan Rom-Lebedev and Nikolai Slichenko and involving everyone in the theatre troupe headed by its artistic managing director, and Magic LoveRussian: «Колдовская любовь», a story about Romani love and passion based on the works by Frederico Garcia Lorca and staged by Georgy Zhemchuzhny, are among the theatre’s major hits. Other prominent figures associated with the Romen Theatre include Olga YankovskayaHonoured Artist of Russia, Lyalya BobrovaPeople’s Artist of Russia, Irena MorozovaPeople’s Artist of Russia and many others.
The theatre is very proud of its ongoing tours and its intense activity during the Second World War. Interestingly, the sky over Moscow was protected by a heavy bomber named RomenovetsRussian: «Ромэновец» whose construction had been funded by the theatre. And if you are a fan of the SpartakRussian: Спартак Moscow Football Club, all the more reason to visit the Romen Theatre: Olga Kononova, one of the theatre’s leading actresses, married this football’s club founder, Andrey Starostin, resulting in a strong and friendly relationship between the theatre troupe and the football squad.
Despite its rather unusual location and somewhat old-fashioned interiors, the theatre is definitely worth a visit, and affordable ticket prices are an extra bonus. The Romen Theatre’s flamboyant and dreamlike afternoon performances are suitable even for the kids: the spacious 200-seat theatre always gives spectators the opportunity to choose a seat closer to the scene and good acoustics makes the orchestra and performers audible from any spot in the Moscow theater. For evening performances, the theatre buffet has an array traditional dishes, and the lobby features the Romen Theatre’s history in photos, viewable at any time, and costumes from the theatre’s renowned stage productions. During the Night of Museums and the Night of Arts, the Romen Theatre offers spectators to take a glance backstage and takes them on an excursion to the wardrobe department. It’s almost as interesting as visiting any one of the Moscow museums because such a collection you will not find anywhere else.
A visit to the Romen Theatre can be ideally combined with a dinner at the renowned Yar restaurantRussian: restoran "Yar" or ресторан "Яръ", located in the same building as the Sovietsky Hotel (mind that its menu is pricey, unlike the name “Soviet” suggests), or with an interesting walk along the Leningradsky Avenue starting at the Belorussky railway terminalRussian: Belorussky Vokzal, or Белорусский вокзал.© 2016-2019 moscovery.com