News: Comedian Tom Parry Trains Refugees & Migrants To Do Stand Up

Comedian Tom Parry is training refugees and migrants to do stand-up comedy as part of an upcoming festival exploring displacement, migration and refuge.

The No Direction Home Festival at Camden People's Theatre from October 23 asks what it means to be an exile or a descendent of exiles, to whom do we owe refuge and who gets to make a home in Britain today.

CPT is partnering with Counterpoint Arts to feature a line-up of first-time comedians coached for this special event by one third of sketch troupe Pappy’s, Tom Parry. Tom was nominated as Best Newcomer at the Edinburgh Comedy Awards in 2015, and this year directed the Best Newcomer-winning show, Ciaran Dowd – Don Rodolfo. The No Direction Home Stand Up Night takes place on November 4 when refugees and migrants will be performing new material they have written. 

Unofficial records state that since the early 1990s, nearly 35,000 people have died trying to reach Europe, not just at sea but in detention centres, asylum units and within their new communities. The recent Windrush scandal and changes in EU regulations have plunged thousands into uncertainty about if, and where, they belong, and every day people are forced to flee violence closer to home. CPT’s new festival will recount stories of those in exile ranging from those who have lived it to those who have inherited it, with topics ranging from the de-funding of women’s refuges to the ongoing migrant crisis and beyond. From the heart-breaking to the heartwarming, this three-week event features workshops, discussions and electrifying new theatre from the brightest and boldest of UK and international artists.

Other events also address the issues displacement, migration and refuge. Performing from 6th – 10th Nov, Cash Carraway is a self-confessed ‘refuge connoisseur’ telling her story of how she and her daughter have tried to begin a new life free from domestic violence. Over 16 years, 13 refuges and 12 productions of The Vagina Monologues, Refuge Womanis a spoken-word performance looking at the media portrayal of working-class women, government cuts to domestic violence services and life in a woman’s refuge. The show is supported by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and the performance on Thursday 8th will be followed by a Q&A with local journalists who contributed to their research into domestic violence in Camden.

Haunting recollections of the media images of child refugees are evoked in Beyond the Blue( 5th Nov), a new play for adults written by children in response to the refugee crisis that also offers a vivid and charming insight into children’s view of the world. In Pizza Shop Heroes, four refugee and asylum-seeking young men take us from a pizza shop across centuries and continents to explore past, present and futures. This revealing, witty and lyric show is based on the actors lived experiences and created by Phosphoros Theatre whose previous productions include the acclaimed Dear Home Office, And from the political to the absurd, Josh Gardner’s Laud of the Rings (30 – 31 Nov) recollects his monumental journey from Oxford to Istanbul dressed as Frodo Baggins in an anarchic approach to performance that questions privilege and migration.

The festival also includes a Long Table discussion with Music in Detention & Lois Weaver, a special public event assembling people from arts, migration and social justice backgrounds to explore the role of the arts in developing strategies around radical hospitality. Music in Detention is one of the very few companies allowed into detention centres to work with immigration detainees, brining them together with professional musicians and local communities to share, create and enjoy music.

Artistic Director of Camden People’s Theatre Brian Logan said, “The refugee crisis and austerity. The upsurge of British nativism in light of Brexit. Donald Trump and his wall. Everywhere you look, welcomes are being revoked, care withdrawn, and hospitality is at a premium. And everywhere we at CPT looked, electrifying artists are making work about it. ‘No Direction Home’ brings together that work, and creates a context to talk about humans on the move. We’ve taken our time to bring this festival to life, working closely with community partners and artists with lived experience of displacement, migration and refuge. We’re now excited to welcome you to three weeks of entertaining, urgent and insightful performances bringing those subjects to the stage.”

Listings information

No Direction Home

23rd October to 11 November 2018

Camden People’s Theatre, London

58 – 60 Hampstead Road, London, NW1 2PY | 020 7419 4841

Zugunruhe | MECHANIMALTue 23 - Wed 24 Oct, 7.15pm

Zugunruhe (zoo-gun-rue) explores the incredible flight of a marsh warbler, the only bird whose song echoes its migration route. Body-compasses, magnetic fields, African sunsets, star-chasing... a wild look at migration.

£12 (£10 conc.)


Transporter | Cath Dyson Tue 23 Oct, 9pm

Funny, fearless and frightening, Transporter explores themes of identity, difference, conflict, and what it means to come or not come from somewhere. Written and performed by Catherine Dyson, in collaboration with Andy Smith and Lewis Gibson.

£12 (£10 conc.)


Adventures in Black and White | Double Trouble Wed 24 - Fri 26 Oct, 9pm

Following the parallel lives of two people in exile, one in Siberia, the other in Sussex, both forced from their homes as children in the first half of the twentieth-century. Their experience has crystallized into half-remembered stories, blurry photographs, family habits and two grand-daughters who are having trouble finding their roots.

Developed on Starting Blocks at CPT.

£12 (£10 conc.)


Belong | Lindy Nsingo Thu 25 Oct, 7.15pm

A series of powerful, energetic and soulful performances that blends contemporary dance, text and music. Using voice recordings from her family and traditional Zambian song, join Lindy for an evening informed by ideas of migration and refuge.

£12 (£10 conc.)


Where We Began | SBC TheatreFri 26 - Sun 28, 7.15pm (7pm Sun 28)

A wild and vivid vision of the future, combining storytelling, movement and live music. Five performers from across the globe challenge existing notions of ‘home’ in this multilingual celebration of personal identity. From the makers of critically acclaimed TANJA. 

Commissioned by CPT, Cast and Theatre in the Mill.

£12 (£10 conc.)


Fallen Fruit | Two Destination Language Sat 27 Oct, 9pm

A story of love, breaking free and Europe, from multi-award-winning Two Destination Language(Near Gone, Manpower, Declining Solo) Fallen Fruit foregrounds a unique migrant voice born in communist Bulgaria.

£12 (£10 conc.)


The Dirty Word | Art Lingual UK Sun 28 Oct, 8.30pm

Has ‘immigrant’ become a dirty word? Art Lingual presents a devised, verbatim theatre piece that asks the hard (and soft) questions about Brexit, immigration, and where we belong in the world.

£12 (£10 conc.)


Big Bang | Various Artists Mon 29 Oct, 7.30pm

An explosive night of work-in-progress exploring the themes of No Direction Home festival. Featuring: Ironing Out by Alleyway Radical Theatre, Las Simples Cosas by Alex Etchart and Holocaust Brunch by Tamara Micner.

£12/10 (conc.)


The Laud of the Rings | Jonathan Tue 30 - Wed 31 Oct, 9pm

In 2017, Josh Gardner saved Europe by reenacting Frodo’s journey to Mordor. He travelled from Oxford to Istanbul dressed as a hobbit. Mixing documentation, story-telling and an anarchic approach to performance, Josh interrogates privilege and migration through the use of the absurd.

£12 (£10 conc.)


Pepper and Honey | NotNow Collective Tue 30 Oct, 7.15pm

Join NotNow Collective in making and breaking pepper biscuits and family traditions. They follow a traditional Croatian recipe dating from the Renaissance, whilst keeping an eye on the oven and treating you to a spicy-sweet story. A multi-sensory performance from the makers of Dadman: The Bathtime Warrior and Wonderwoman: The Naked Truth.

£8 work-in-progress


The Unwritten Tales of the Tongue | Nomad UK Wed 31 Oct, 7.15pm

An interconnected showcase of visual art, poetry, drama and music using our living knowledge as people from refugee and migrant backgrounds to challenge the myth surrounding migration/immigration in the world today.

£12 (£10 conc.)


Music in Detention Long Table Discussion | Music in Detention & Lois Weaver 

Thu 1 Nov, 7.30pm

A special public event which will bring together people from arts, migration and social justice backgrounds to explore the role of the arts in developing strategies around radical hospitality.

Pay what you can


Fragments | Mo’min Swaitat Fri 2 Nov, 7.15pm

Devised through workshops for young refugees run by theatre-maker Mo’min Swaitat, Fragments explores the shattering and reintegration of cultures, memories, time and space, as experienced through the body in motion.

£12 (£10 conc.)


Some Day Dominion | Kitty Fedorec with The Misters of Circe

Fri 2 Nov, 9pm

Sitting between live art, dance, ritual and gig, Some Day Dominion utilises found movement, nostalgia, storytelling, phonomancy and live music from gender-fucked tribute The Misters of Circe to create a protective pocket goth world, beyond borders.

£12 (£10 conc.)


On death, etcetera | Zad El Bacha Sat 3 Nov, 7pm

This is a story about a mother who lived through the Lebanese civil war, and her daughter, who has not. It’s about the way this mother speaks to her daughter about trauma, and about the funny, heartbreaking stories which she tells as one would tell a fairytale.

£12 (£10 conc.)


The Cocoa Butter Club Sat 3 Nov, 8.30pm

Wrapped in burlesque, spoken word, live music, drag and voguing, The Cocoa Butter Club proudly provides a platform for performers of colour to exhibit culturally expressive work for us to revel in. “We take refuge in our communities, we are inviting you to celebrate our differences with a bang.”

£12 (£10 conc.)


Stand up Night | CPT and Counterpoint Arts Sun 4 Nov, 7pm

CPT and Counterpoint Arts present an evening of standup comedy written and performed by refugees and migrants. Featuring a lineup of first-time comedians coached for this special event by Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee, veteran of the sketch group Pappy’s and acclaimed director Tom Parry, this one-off night of unexpected laughter has been created uniquely for ‘No Direction Home’.


Beyond the Blue | Cut the Cord Mon 5 Nov, 7.15pm

A new play for adults written by children in response to the refugee crisis. The result is a story that’s not only charming and imaginative but also highly relevant to one of our most complex contemporary issues.

£12 (£10 conc.)


Heard | Winnie Imara and Tamsin Newlands Mon 5 - Wed 7 Nov, 9pm

One room - Ana and Joud are waiting. Thing is, they don't know how long they're waiting for. How will they survive a system rigged against them? And what sacrifices will be made. A play about identity, sisterhood and survival.

£12 (£10 conc.)


Refuge Woman | Cash Carraway Tue 6 – Sat 10 Nov, 7.15pm (Sat matinee at 2pm)

Cash is a self-confessed ‘refuge connoisseur’. She knows the refuges with the best counsellors, clothing donations and the ones closest to the heartiest ‘all you can eat’ buffets. After the ceiling crashes in the safe house she shares with her daughter, she attempts to make sense of their journey and vows to begin a new life free from violence. 

Inspired by real life events, this darkly humorous, spoken-word performance looks at the media portrayal of working-class women, government cuts to domestic violence services and life in a women’s refuge.

Supported by CPT. Directed by Conrad Murray.

£12 (£10 conc.)


Pizza Shop Heroes | Phosphoros Theatre Fri 9 - Sun 11 Nov, 9pm (8.30pm Sun 11)

Revealing, witty and lyrical, four refugee and asylum-seeking young men take us from a pizza shop across centuries and continents to explore past, present and futures. Actors tell their own stories from lived experiences. By the company behind the acclaimed Dear Home Office.

£12 (£10 conc.)


Asylum | CURTIS Sun 11 Nov, 7pm

Asylum is an experiment of live music production, spoken word and politics. The sound of droning guitar and staggering synths will act as a symphony for the forgotten in this piece about status, patriotism, you, me, us and them.

£12 (£10 conc.)

For all tickets and info click here.


Camden People’s Theatre is supported using public funds from Arts Council England. No Direction Home is generously supported by Camden Vox and HS2 Camden Fund.


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