HISTORY

Roots

Cultural Counsellor Veijo Baltzar is the founder of Drom Association. Baltzar is a Finnish author, playwright, poet, theatre director, visual artist and cultural political activist. Baltzar is a trailblazer – internationally known and leading Romani author. Since the beginning of his literary art artistic career in 1960s, Baltzar has discussed Romani culture and its relationship with the majority culture in several novels, plays, poems, short stories, librettos, articles, radio plays and movie manuscripts.
Baltzar was among the first ones to raise minority questions in Finnish society. Since then, he has acted as a forerunner in multicultural issues. Baltzar’s latest polemic work, Towards Experiential Philosophy (ntamo, 2012, English translation 2014) takes a constructively critical stand on the issues concerning multicultural Europe and ethnic relations.

The founder and chairman of Drom Veijo Baltzar.

Drom theatre

Creative Association for Arts and Culture Drom has its roots in 1976, when Veijo Baltzar founded Theatre Baltzar in the city of Mikkeli. The work of the theatre group created a vision and understanding of the need for Roma to get professional training in theatre arts. Baltzar started to build a concept in which talented Finnish Roma could study theatre arts at university level. This occurred in 1981, when the Roma Theatre course was launched within Finland's Theatre Academy.

Nine-month- long Roma theatre course was carried out by eleven actor-students. All of them acted in essential parts of the course’s diploma work, the first play of the established Roma theatre Drom, ”The Black Ribbon”. The play received significant recognition.
In one year Theatre Drom received a status of a professional theatrical company and was rewarded with The Theatre Action of the Year prize in 1981.
Finnish author and theatre director Raija-Sinikka Rantala noted at Finland Parlamient’s Arkadia society’s meeting 23 Sep 2015, that the Roma theatre course, which later formed into professional theatre, represented such a unique and innovative model that it was copied internationally all the way to New York.

Later period

Since 1990s, Drom Association has produced varios plays and musicals, written and directed by Veijo Baltzar in various parts of Finland. Among them:
  • Easter musical play The God is Great 1994–1995 (mm. Rautalampi, Imatra, Lappeenranta, Pieksämäki)
  • Mythological folk opera Orli 1994–1997 (the premiere of the second version Finlandia Hall 1 Mar 1997)
  • Urban mythology The Paradise of Gods 2004, Helsinki
  • Gipsy poetry theatre 2005, Helsinki
  • Play Botox 2009, Helsinki
  • The God is Great modernized version 2011–2012, Helsinki
  • Gipsy cabaret With the Guitar of Seven Strings 2014, Helsinki
  • Cabaret play Sin, 2016, Helsinki

2000s

Since 2000s, Drom association has actively produced exhibitions, education, concerts, theatre and musical theatre as well as events in the field of cultural politics. Association has also participated in establishment of International Romani Writer Association IRWA in 2002.
Since 2010, Drom has been especially active in the field of cultural politics. Drom’s strategical steering committee was founded in 2009. In 2010, Drom organized international conference and cultural serious of events The Forgotten Genocide, which led to creation of an international exhibition project “Miranda – The Roma Holocaust. Who’s Afraid of the White Man?”.
During the years 2013-2015 Drom actively worked with topics related to multicultural Europe (The Conscience of Europe project) and with development of Baltzar's pedagogical innovation (Intercultural Experiential Education). The Conscience of Europe conference issued Veijo Baltzar’s 24 legislative proposals for reforming the European Union’s policies of multiculturalism. The proposals were sent to European Commission and they had received a positive response.

Drom Association has established a Drom orchestra that performs new Gipsy music. Orchestra’s music has been composed to Veijo Baltzar’s lyrics by Kiureli Sammallahti and Toni Edelmann.