Comedy is a great tool for social change. It can be a powerful way to share complex and uncomfortable issues while inviting people to connect (and reflect) through laughter.
No Direction Home is a stand-up comedy collective featuring performers from refugee and migrant backgrounds. The group is mentored by award-winning comedian Tom Parry in collaboration with PopChange.
Created in partnership with Camden People’s Theatre in 2018, the group has performed more than 15 gigs around the country including a sold-out show at the Southbank Centre in London. Tom Parry runs regular series of workshops, each one ending in a stand-up comedy night featuring invited guest headliners, who also spend time sharing tips and advice with the group. Themes cover everything from confusing names, to dating to the Home Office.
A number of members have been performing regularly and even hosted their own comedy nights. The collective has featured on BBC News and BBC World Service.
In 2020 No Direction Home has been running new groups online and staging our very first gigs on Zoom. Working with partners we are exploring how these digital platforms can help us reach larger and more diverse audiences in the UK.
'Let me tell you something more about my miserable life," says Usman Khalid, with a miserable face. Then he pauses, and twinkles: "That's why you're here, isn't it?" Well, why would you go to see refugees performing standup comedy? Displacement, migration, sanctuary - these are not hilarious subjects.