On Tuesday 11th June 2019, Vocile Noastre (One Voice) at Dance East in Ipswich hosted the first ever Roma celebration event. One voice, is about bringing together people of the town, to celebrate and understand a bit more about the history and heritage of the Roma Communities.
Lidia Tanase hosted the whole event with her brother Elisei Tanase. She wrote about her experience here ‘It was very exciting to be there to represent for everyone using my Romanian language. I was very focused on what I was saying and I really enjoyed working with many organisations who support Roma and I feel proud of the celebration. It will be so positive to have it every year and not just one. My brother Elisei was very excited but also scared. He asked me for advice because he wasn’t sure what to say. He had done very good and he kept practicing with me and Cad so everything was brilliant. It helped that he works at a school so his English speaking helped. Cad helped me relax and told me to focus and not to worry. She gave good advice and support.’
Cad who supported Lidia throughout the build up to the event and also worked with our partners with planning it said ‘ From meeting Lidia in the community, over many years, knowing that she was keen to present and tell her story as well as supporting others, we invited her in to see if she would like to be a part of the project, it was amazing because as soon as we chatted it was obvious that she would be ideal to present the whole show, and also share her journey with others.
I was profoundly moved by the event, seeing families and the Roma communities come into the prestigious arts space for the very first time. Seeing the focus and excitement from the children and personal knowing that this had been the opportunity to break down misunderstandings and share heritage for the first time. Along side the event, I coordinated a weeks worth of content for BBC radio Suffolk to support the event, across different shows. Interviews, personal stories and features were also a great way to reach a wider audience that perhaps previously didn’t understand the issues facing Roma communities.
This is certainly the beginning of bigger things, this event will be annual but also and probably more importantly, Roma communities now feel they included in all events in the town, and can access anything, nothing really, is out of bounds.
I’m proud, I’m moved and I am excited.’
We hope there will be another one next year! Thank you to our equally supportive local companies: Dance East, Eastern Angles, BBC Suffolk, Gecko Theatre, Wolsey Theatre and local primary and secondary school.