Profil Ratna Sarumpaet

Ratna Sarumpaet

Indonesia‘s internationally renowned Ratna Sarumpaet successfully unites professional and artistic excellence with concern for the plight for humanity. Outspoken, sharp and critical, she positioned herself against authority. All of her works were initiated from her anger on human relights violation cases and discriminations. “Marsinah Accuses”, a superb monologue, was her reaction to the unresolved murder of a factory laborer (1993), brutally banned in eight cities. Taking the public to the hidden spots of human fear, Ratna stirred the conscience of society, when hypocrisy and oppression seemed to have silenced the inner voices of people. (Carla Bianpoen, The Jakarta Post, July 1999)

Theatre Works I


Founder, Satu Merah Panggung. A theatre group that has been presenting all of her works until today. Writer/Director, Rubayyat Omar Khayam, Satu Merah Panggung  


Director/Actress, Hamlet (Batak version), Satu Merah Panggung 


Director, Romeo and Juliet, Satu Merah Panggung

Film Works


Writer, TV films, TVRI. Founder, Indonesian Cine Club. This club had 5000 members and in 3 years held a routine film screening and discussion once a month. 


Assistant Editor, Nagabonar, feature film. Winner, Indonesia Film Festival, Best Film Award. Nominee, Golden Globe, Best Foreign Film; Assistant Editor, Cintaku di Rumah Susun, feature film; Script Writer, Sebuah Percakapan (A Conversation), documentary film. This film was aired exclusively for the participants of the Non-Aligned Movement Summit held in Jakarta. 


Writer/Director, Nyanyian untuk Mama (A Song for Mother), TV film, TVRI.

As the quality of made-for-TV films was declining, the TVRI Foundation asked Ratna to write and direct a made for TV film as a benchmark production.  


Assistant Editor, Jakarta, MGM Studio-Los Angeles, USA. A joint Indonesian/USA film production. 


Assistant Editor (in house), MGM Studio-Los Angeles, USA.


Writer/Director, Indonesia Independence Day, documentary film, RCTI.

However, just 6 hours before airing, the government put a clamp on the program and it never aired. This incident made Ratna realize that she would not be able to express her ideas through this media, she then decided to return to the stage and pursue her theatre career.


Theatre Works II


Director, Othello, Satu Merah Panggung

Director, Hamlet (Balinese version), Satu Merah Panggung


Director, Romeo and Juliet (opera version), Satu Merah Panggung


Director, Antigone (batak version), Satu Merah Panggung 


Artist & Human Rights Activist 


Writer/Director/Actress, Marsinah, Nyanyian dari Bawah Tanah (Marsinah, A Song from the Underworld). Ratna carried out an investigation of the controversial death of Marsinah, a worker from East Java that was found raped and murdered not long after helping to organize demonstrations for workers’ entitlements. Ratna wrote one of her most famous plays based on that tragedy. The plays were performed in Jakarta, Surabaya, and Bandung. At the end of 1994 the play was set to be performed in Jakarta to mark International Human Rights Day. Sponsors, however, pulled out of the production just three days before performance day without giving any prior notice. Since then, Ratna continued writing scripts based on humanitarian issues, cases that were meaningful to her.  


Writer/Director, Terpasung (Shackled), Satu Merah Panggung.  


Writer/Director, Pesta Terakhir (The Final Celebration), Satu Merah Panggung. 


Writer/Director/Actress, Marsinah Menggugat (Marsinah Accuses), This play was based on her reaction against the government’s decision to close the investigation into the Marsinah case. She staged Marsinah Menggugat (Marsinah Accuses) in a tour of eleven cities and the government sent fully armed troops who erected barricades to blockade the road to stop viewers from approaching the arts centre. This was considered to be the most appalling and the crudest act of censorship in the history of Indonesian theatre. 


Initiator/Organizer, Indonesian People’s Summit, Jakarta. Ratna was arrested based on the accusation of “preparing an assault on the government”. She was imprisoned for 70 days. Outside Indonesia, her name, spirit, courage and also her plays became even more widely read and performed. 


Achievement, Giving Speech, Declaration of Human Rights, Poleis de Chaillot in Paris. (50 years Human Rights Day). The organizer also honored Ratna in a documentary film entitled: Les Dernier Prisoners de Soeharto (The Last Prisoners of Soeharto) by filmmaker, Bernard Debord. The documentary was shown on both French and German television. 


Menjadi buronan pemerintahan Habibie, melarikan diri ke Singapura, menerima penghargaan di Paris dan Tokyo. 


Achievement, Special Award for Female Human Rights Activists, Asia Foundation, Tokyo. She was awarded for her efforts to stage Marsinah Menggugat (Marsinah Accuses), despite the serious risks she faced in opposing the army, and her activities in struggle against the repressive Soeharto regime. 


Achievement, Silent Voices, book publication by MANOA, USA.

MANOA, a prominent art magazine in USA published a section of Marsinah Menggugat (Marsinah Accuses) in its special edition book, Silent Voices.  A theatre group from New York performed this play in seven different cities; Washington DC, Los Angeles, Madison, Seattle and Hawaii, Maine, New York, USA. 


Achievement, San Francisco Theatre Festival, San Francisco, USA.

Marsinah, Nyanyian dari Bawah Tanah (Marsinah, A Song from the Underworld) was selected as one out of 12 plays to be performed in San Francisco Theatre Festival. 


Achievement, International Human Rights Day, Ireland.

December 2000, Supported by Amnesty International, Marsinah Menggugat (Marsinah Accuses) was performed by Dublin City Theatre company in six different cities: Navan, Letter Kenny Wed, Dundalk, Kill Kenny, and Cork Dublin, 


Writer/Director/Actress, Alia, Luka Serambi Mekah (Alia, The Wound of Aceh), Satu Merah Panggung. Ratna took another investigation on armed political conflict that had been going on in Aceh. This play was written in remembrance of the humanitarian tragedy suffered in Aceh during the New Order regime. This play performed in Jakarta, Bandung, Surakarta, Semarang, Tasikmalaya, including Banda Aceh, where the conflict still …… 

2000 – 2001

A Host of “Saturday With Ratna Sarumpaet”, a very popular and controversial Radio – talk show, ” (Jakarta News FM) 


Menolak ‘Darurat Militer di Aceh” Ratna Sarumpaet (Ratna Sarumpaet Crisis Center memantau situasi conflict di Aceh, langsung ke pusat conflict. Terancam ditangkap era Mega 


Alia dicekal di TVRI 


Writer/Director, Anak-Anak Kegelapan (Children of Darkness), Satu Merah Panggung. A play about indirect victims of human rights tragedy in 1965 (Indonesia Communist Party). 


Director to Jakarta Art Council / Dewan Kesenian Jakarta.  


Chair Person & Artistic Director of The 7th Women Playwright International, held in Jakarta & Bali   


Writer/Director, Pelacur & Sang Presiden (The Prostitute & The President), This play portrays the dark truth of underage sex trafficking in Indonesia. 


Adaptasi naskah drama “Pelacur & Sang Presiden” ke scenario film, layar lebar    



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