Theatre News

Exclusive: First play by Romany Traveller comes to Ovalhouse in Feb

Dan Allum’s ”Our Big Land” is being produced by the Romany Theatre Company

Dan Allum
Dan Allum

The first play by a Romany Traveller writer to be presented in the UK will be staged at London's Ovalhouse Theatre next month, as part of a national tour.

Originally written by Dan Allum in the Romani language and featuring Gypsy music and songs, Our Big Land is billed as a "provocatively dark, atmospheric piece of theatre."

It centres on Oceania, a powerful Romany matriarch who is convinced that Sophie, a Gorgia house dweller, is destined to become the next keeper of the bauro diklo, a sacred storytelling shawl.

Allum said: "I set out to write a play about the history of my people but ended up with a work that for me explores the essence of human nature through the veil of cultural loss. Or put another way, it’s about each of us losing touch with our own deep selves as we move toward an increasingly technological/information obsessed age."

Our Big Land is produced by the Romany Theatre Company, of which Allum is artistic director, in collaboration with Ovalhouse and the New Wolsey, Ipswich.

It runs at the New Wolsey from 13-15 February 2014, before visiting Ovalhouse from 18 February to 8 March and going on to the Norwich Arts Centre (12 March) and Hat Factory Arts Centre in Luton (13-14 March).

Directed by Amy Hodge, the cast features Scarlett Brookes as Sophie, Samuel Edward-Cook as Roman and Robyn Moore as Oceania.

"It’s very important to me to get the Romany voice out there," added Allum, who is also under commission by the BBC and Royal Opera House. "I believe this play will help do that."