Curtain Up: Labels

This article is from 2016

Curtain Up: Labels

Offering a voice to individual stories, Labels explores multicultural UK

Using comedy, storytelling and spoken word, Joe Sellman-Leava tackles the immigration issue.

What was the inspiration for this performance?
Initially it was a workshop on racism, which Emma Thompson led. Then in 2015, I felt that the voices of the far-right had become so loud, I wanted to redevelop the show entirely, so it could go to Edinburgh and tour the UK.

How did you work on creating the show?
For Labels I spent a lot more time writing independently than I previously had, since Worklight's previous shows were both devised. However, the process of workshopping and text at every stage remained at the heart of it.

How does the show grab the audience?
The show is interactive in a few specific ways: namely, me sticking labels onto both myself and the audience, and a section where an audience member reads racist messages someone sent me on Tinder!

What do you hope that the audience will experience?
We want them to laugh, cry and think. The idea is by retelling my own experiences of racism, and framing them within imagery and questions around labelling, people reflect on their own views and experiences.

Who are you inspired by?
I'm personally a huge fan of artists like Bobby Baker and Spalding Gray, where the relationship between personal and political is at the centre of their work.

Labels, Pleasance Courtyard, until 29 Aug, 2.15pm, £10 (£9).


Multi-award winning show about mixed heritage and immigration.