The unique Roma theater in Prizren

The Roma Theater, otherwise known as the "Nexhip Menekshe" Romano Theater in Prizren, is a unique institution in the Republic of Kosovo that promotes the importance of Roma culture through the dramas it performs every year. Nexhip Menekshe, now deceased, was one of the first founders of this theater, that's why this theater got his name.

His son, Fatmir Menekshe, who runs the theater, tells KosovaPress how this theater works. The Roma theater "Nexhip Menekshe" tries to bring a project to the stage every year. This theater has followed different generations, while it is always looking for new actors.

Although all the contributors to this theater are documented in a separate monograph, Menekshe does not forget to remember them.

"There is also a monograph where all the prominent personalities who have contributed to this theater are documented. Among these personalities was Nexhip Menekshe, who was among the first actors and the first initiators of the formation of the theater from 1989 to 2019, who made a great contribution by writing 12 plays in the Roma language, acted in 13 dramas and has directed 18 dramas, therefore as an actor, playwright and director of this theater it has been proposed that the name of the Roma theater be baptized with his name. Apart from him, there is professor Kujtim Paqaku who wrote the second drama for this theater, Selahattin Kryeziu who wrote the first drama for this theater, the women Bedrie Misini and Mikribane Mullamisini, let's say they were the divas of this theater, as actors prominent of that time, is Daut Qulangjiu, Xelal Dogani, Saver Qulangjiu, Gjengiz Cano, Nehal Hafizallari and many other women and men who have contributed to this theater", said Menekshe.

Menekshe says that since its existence, the actors of this theater have performed 30 dramas, most of which are their originals.

Nexhip Menekshe, Lion Daka, Kaltrim Balaj, Tansu Kervan, Deniz Dadale and Levent Bytyqi are just some of the names of directors who have collaborated with this theater.

Fatmiri says that the theater is maintained only thanks to various donations that are not enough.

"Our theater is financed on the basis of projects that we have to prepare for various calls and competitions, as well as through subsidies from the Directorate for Culture, Youth and Sports of the Municipality of Prizren (DKRS) and the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MKRS) when they open the deadlines to compete for cultural projects, we apply. Almost every year we win, but whether the amount we win is enough is debatable because we have to sacrifice and work a lot voluntarily to reach the required artistic level, these are the forms, on the other hand is the Embassy of Switzerland as one of the donors of our theater, thanks to them we realize the dramas, but normally if there was a much bigger support, then we would be able to produce more dramas, during 1 year we would be able to realize 2 or 3 dramas, in addition to this, we would be able to perform or promote our theater in other municipalities, not only in the municipality of Prizren, but also to show dramas in other municipalities where there are members of the Roma community", he said. Violet.

Despite the financial difficulties, Menekshe says that they try to give shows in other municipalities for the Roma community.

"We constantly participate in the Festival of Amateur Theaters in Skopje 'Garavde Muja' or in Albanian "Fytyrat e dosstasta", on the other hand we also participate in other municipalities where there is a Roma community, such as in the municipality of Graçanica, Prishtina, Kamenica, Gjakova but also in many other municipalities where the Roma community lives and can be informed about the Roma theater 'Nexhip Menekshe' but also with the message of the theater performances that we do to reflect the daily life of to the community and dealing with the problems of the community that are faced every day, as well as understanding the sensitization and education of the community", added Menekshe.

Menekshe says that they are happy when the audience that does not belong to the Roma community comes to watch their performances.

He says that the current actors have acted together in 10 dramas while the artistic level is increasing.

Menekshe appeals to the young people of the Roma community to join the theater while requesting that they be supported financially as much as possible.

"I have two requests, the first request is for the young people of the Roma community to participate in the theater, in order to enrich the theater troupe, normally for these young actors who probably have a lot of talent, but who have not yet they have discovered that talent which can enrich our theater more. The second request is to the institutions, whether they are cultural or just community ones, and to the various donors, that the more they financially support our theater, the more we will produce different dramas, the more we will meet with the Roma community and we will also be able to use the theater as a medium where the community can be educated and sensitized, and not only from the side of the media or meetings, different tables, but also in an entertaining form and on the other hand conveying emotions, because I and each actor believes that emotions can make a person result in his actions, reduce discrimination, not violate women's rights, educate the community and many other spheres where the community is currently suffering, due to the state of not good", concluded Menekshe.

The last premiere given by the Roma theater "Nexhip Menekshe" was in April of this year when the drama "Shadows" by the Prizren author and director Kaltrim Balaj was staged./Sh. Hoxhaj/

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