Alina Şerban is a graduate of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, and has an MA from Tisch School of the Arts at New York University (Open Arts programme) and the National University of Theatre and Film in Bucharest.
Şerban was born to a family of Roma in Romania and overcame tremendous hardships to achieve her current status, of a film and theater actor, writer and director. She is known for writing and performing plays with social justice messages, against racism and other forms of discrimination.
Şerban became known on the alternative theatre scene in Bucharest after the performance I Declare at My Own Risk. The play, inspired by her own life-story, was performed in many European countries, including Romania, Hungary, France and Italy. It was also a natural descendant of Şerban’s 2009 Slumdog Roma, her first autobiographical play.
In 2009, she also produced a series of street performances under the name Givisarde Paramicea.
While living in London, in 2013, she wrote Home, a play that tells a story of different immigrants looking for a better life in the UK. The play won “Stories of London” Rich Mix’s competition.
In 2015 Şerban performed and co-created for “Roma-Sapiens” in Berlin and was invited to present and perform I Declare at My Own Risk at the Stockholm Literature Festival.
In 2016 Alina Şerban wrote, directed and performed in The Great Shame, a drama that talks about 500 years of Roma slavery in the Romanian countries and in which she includes little-known stories of slavery from historical documents.
In 2017 she starred in two feature films – a Belgian production, Seul à mon mariage, and a German production.
The Untold Roma Stories and the uncomfortable discussions we need to be having:
Who is telling the history? Whose history is being told and how?
How do Roma people claim an identity? How can Roma people reclaim an identity when fundamental parts of their history remain untold and when the links between the past and the present are not being discussed?
What are our stories?
Alina Şerban’s life experiences as a Roma woman motivated her to start ‘The Untold Stories’ – a platform that aims to end the silence that dominated the European/ Romanian public space regarding the history of Roma slavery in Romania and the diversity of unrepresented Roma experiences.
To the difficult times we live in, when racism and xenophobia are rising in Romania, Europe and worldwide, we need to respond with art and knowledge. To the marginalizing of Roma histories we need to respond by placing Roma people and their experiences centre-stage. In this way we can listen, find out about each other, find out about our history and the stories of our cultures.
‘Advised by the spirit of the age and by the laws of humanity, a number of boyars, both young and old, have taken measures to purge their country of the shameful stain of slavery.’