About Alina


Alina Serban is an award-winning actress, playwright and director.

Born in 1987, Serban grew up in Bucharest, Romania. Overcoming tremendous obstacles, including poverty and discrimination, she became the first member of her Roma family to graduate from high school and university. After acquiring a drama degree in Bucharest at the Academy of Theatrical Arts and  Cinematography, Serban attended the Tisch School of the Arts in New York, and obtained a master’s from Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London.

As a professional actress, Serban’s credits include numerous Shakespeare plays under the artistic direction of Philip Parr (among them ‘Périclès, Prince of Tyre’), as well as productions presented at European theatre festivals (’Turfed’, ‘The House Project’, ‘The Sun That Casts No Shadows’). She acted opposite Benedict Cumberbatch in the BBC television series ‘The Last Enemy’, and made her debut on the silver screen with a supporting part in ‘Written/Unwritten’, a short film that won more than 20 awards. For her first leading role in cinema, Serban stars in Marta Bergman’s feature film ‘Alone at My Wedding’, which premiered at the Cannes International Film Festival in 2018 and earned her several Best Actress awards. She also stars as a boxer in Huseyin Tabak’s ‘Gipsy Queen’a German-Austrian production set to make its world debut in 2019.

As a playwright, Serban pioneered Roma feminist political theatre, with three plays to her name by the age of 29. She led the way in 2009 with ‘Slumdog Roma’ (later renamed ‘I Declare at My Own Risk’), a poignant and often funny one-woman-show in which she recounts her life journey as a young Roma woman. In 2013, her second award-winning play explored the notion of ‘Home’. Three years later, she wrote and directed ‘The Great Shame’, Romania’s first play about the taboo topic of Roma slavery, becoming the first Roma woman director to have a play included in the permanent repertoire of a state theatre in Romania in 2018.

She lives between Bucharest, London and wherever filming takes her. Her work is driven by a strong sense of social justice, a desire to question prejudice and privilege, and the need to plant some good in the world — however small the seed.


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Letter of Forgiveness - Bilet de iertare

Short film written and directed by Alina Serban

In the household of a wealthy Romanian noblewoman in 1855, Maria, a Roma-Gipsy slave, fights to obtain freedom for her son Dinca. Based on a true story, the film presents a day in the household in which Maria and her son, Dinca, serve as slaves. They see this day as a chance to change their fate. During slavery time, up until 1856, the Romanian equivalent of the word “forgiveness” meant freeing someone from slavery (the Roma slave was “forgiven” from slavery).