The Dúhadlo Theatre

Project owner: UP-Down syndrom

Responsible person: Ester Mária Chiara ┼Żaludko

2024

Nominated

SK

Civil Society / Social Economy

What is it about?

The Bratislava based Dúhadlo Theater is composed of actors with Down syndrome. It responds to current problems associated with (their) otherness through their original dramatic plays for the public. In the last two years, we have successfully offered a play titled “Weirdo” about the fear of being different, and we are currently still offering the play Little Red Riding Hood about coming of age. At the same time, the Dúhadlo team strives to erase the difference between professional actors and actors with Down syndrome and to ensure their equality in terms of fair remuneration.

Challenge

Although Slovakia has been a liberal democracy for over 30 years, prejudice, inequality, and socio-economic oppression faced by marginalised people remain a huge problem in the Slovak society. This negative sentiment continues to rise in Slovakia.

Idea

Our goal is to raise awareness about the experiences of marginalised people and open up taboo topics in society through theatre. We do this by producing plays focused on the problems encountered by people with disabilities or who are marginalised by inequality, relationship difficulties, or the desire for independence. 

Actors

The main actors in the plays and theatre community are young people with Down syndrome. The Dúhadlo Theatre community also includes the actors’ parents, siblings and friends. Our secondary target group is the public, especially in Western Slovakia, who attend our shows.  

Impact

In 2023 13 performances have been held, all of which were sold out and covered widely in the media. Dúhadlo Theater ranked first in the non-professional theatre competition Theatrical Confrontations in the youth category and ranked in the Silver Zone at the Youth Theatre Festival. Several of the actors are employed due to their work at the theatre. The theatre group also raised enough funding to pay fair actor fees to each of our actors in 2023. 

Transfer

The drama therapy methods are transferable to other contexts and regions. The plays could be performed and modelled by theatre groups anywhere in the world. We are looking for more ways to offer our plays to new audiences, such as companies or schools. Educational institutions may also be a good fit for our work.