Theatre, spoken word, comedy and more to enjoy by Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic performers
The Fringe can be a real haven for anyone on the lookout for unique and exciting productions, with thousands of acts descending upon the city each year, performing across hundreds of stages. From political stories to musical displays, this year's Fringe programme is as varied and diverse as ever, placing a firm spotlight on individuals and groups from a range of countries, backgrounds and experiences. But in amongst the many companies, solo shows, exhibitions and events, there is a wealth of BAME talent that deserves your attention. With people of colour increasingly facing discrimination and exclusion in society as a result of the current political climate, now is as good a time as any to support both up-and-coming and established BAME acts. Here are just a few highlights to look forward to this August.
A new show by theatre company The Thief of Baghdad, Becoming Scheherazade combines the 1001 stories of the Arabian Nights with real stories of the Arab diaspora to explore the experience of Arab migration to Europe. Becoming Scheherazade, Summerhall, Wed 2–Sun 27 Aug (not 7, 14, 21), 3pm.
A play about friendship and survival, Theresa Ikoko's Girls follows three best friends whose world is turned upside down when they're kidnapped from their village. With their attentions turning from issues like love and sex to hope and despair, the play dissects their changing relationships and emotional growth from girls to women. Girls, Pleasance Courtyard, Tue 22–Sun 27 Aug, 12pm.
Hot Brown Honey
Hot Brown Honey took the Fringe by storm last year and continues to impress audiences all around the world. It's an empowering mix of theatre, dance, spoken word and music which uses hip hop culture to smash the patriarchy and defy stereotypes. Hot Brown Honey, Assembly Roxy, Wed 2–Sun 27 Aug (not 9, 14, 21), 9pm.
Selina Thompson's new solo show takes us on an emotional journey, following the experiences of two artists who hopped aboard a cargo ship to retrace one of the routes of the Transatlantic Slave Triangle. It's a show about memory, ancestry and grief and how reliving the past can be beneficial for the future. salt., Summerhall, Sat 5–Sat 26 Aug (not 9, 16, 23), 2.30pm.
The Concrete Jungle Book
HighRise Theatre's The Concrete Jungle Book sets Rudyard Kipling's classic story in the streets of inner-city Britain, where Mo must navigate through issues from unstable housing conditions to hostile creatures. Using hip hop, spoken word and physical theatre, it's a unique and original reimagining of The Jungle Book. The Concrete Jungle Book, ZOO, Fri 4–Mon 14 Aug. 3.30pm.
Nina: A Story About Me
Josette Bushell-Mingo presents a show inspired by Nina Simone, in which she tells tales from the singer's life, merging this with deeply personal stories from her own life and career, drawing connections to revolution, activism and the Black Lives Matter movement. Nina: A Story About Me uses music, song and text to reveal truths about the struggles and successes of both Simone and Bushell-Mingo herself. Nina: A Story About Me, Traverse, Sat 5–Sun 13 Aug (not 7), times vary.
Love, Bombs and Apples
Hassan Abdulrazzak's one-man play fuses comedy and politics to tell the story of three men in different situations as political instability and civil unrest loom large. Looking at the lives and struggles of a Palestinian actor, a Pakistani writer and a young man in Bradford, Love, Bombs and Apples highlights the issues faced by Arab and Muslim communities globally. Love, Bombs and Apples, Summerhall, Wed 2–Sun 27 Aug (not 7, 14, 21), 1.30pm.
Taha makes use of the words of Palestinian poet Taha Muhammad Ali to present an encouraging snapshot of the country and its people. Writer-performer Amer Hlehel combines Ali's poetry with stories about his life to give an account of loss, hope and survival which mimics the experiences of millions of Palestinians. Taha, Summerhall, Wed 2–Sun 13 Aug (not 7), 11.50am.
National Theatre of Scotland's Adam is the true story of Adam Kashmiry, a young trans man who journeys from Egypt to Scotland to escape a life of exile and persecution. It's about finding a home when you have to leave behind everything you know to start again. Featuring a score sung by an international virtual choir of trans individuals, the play blends storytelling with music to create a multimedia production. Adam, Traverse, Sat 5–Sun 27 Aug (not 7, 14, 21), various times.
Out is a collaboration between writer Rachael Young and choreographer Dwayne Anthony, using physical theatre to challenge homophobia and transphobia in Caribbean communities. A powerful piece of self-expression, it features a conversation between two bodies, set to a soundtrack of Jamaican dancehall in an attempt to reclaim it from its often homophobic content. Out, Underbelly, Cowgate, Tue 8–Sun 13 Aug, 10.40pm.
A children's show from Palestinian theatre company Al-Harah, Jihan's Smile is about an ordinary girl who discovers that she has lost her smile. With this, the sun sets, the moon disappears and everything loses its colour. When they discover that the only way to fix this is to find Jihan's smile, everyone bands together to bring colour and joy back to the village. Jihan's Smile, Summerhall, Wed 2–Sun 13 Aug (not 7), 10.15am.
Natasha Marshall, who was shortlisted for the Alfred Fagon Award, presents an autobiographical dark comedy about being fearless and finding your voice. Jazmin is mixed race and struggling with her difference in the village she calls home. When her gran signs her up for an audition in London without telling her, she must make the difficult decision to either stay or get out once and for all. Half Breed, Assembly George Square Theatre, Thu 3–Sun 27 Aug (not 14), 12.20pm.
KMT (an acronym for the Caribbean Patois expression 'kiss mi teeth') is a debut hour from London-based stand-up Athena Kugblenu. Using her sharp and insightful observations about politics, class, race and identity, Kugblenu takes aim at both ends of the current political landscape in a refreshing and immensely funny way. Athena Kugblenu, Underbelly Med Quad, Wed 2–Sun 27 Aug (not 14), 5.50pm.
Border Tales places emphasis on post-Brexit Britain and stereotypical thinking through dance, live music and dialogue taken from the personal experiences of the performers. It's a captivating look at multicultural Britain which uses an international and diverse cast to highlight the experiences of people considered outsiders. Border Tales, Summerhall, Fri 4–Sat 26 Aug (not 7, 14, 21), 2.40pm.
So Comedy by arrangement with Troika
Tired of the conventions of both the left and right, KMT – acronym for the Caribbean Patois expression 'kiss mi teeth', a mouth gesture used to show annoyance – is a debut hour that finds a new way to talk about politics, class, race and identity at a time both ends of the political…
The Thief of Baghdad
The Thief of Baghdad presents Becoming Scheherazade. Magic and reality collide as one British Arab navigates the voyages of Sindbad and tries to make sense of his own family's relationship to their migration from Iraq to the UK. 'One wants to tell a story, like Scheherazade, in order not to die.
A Talawa Theatre Company, HighTide and Soho Theatre production.
Three girls. Best friends forever. All the big issues: love, sex and religion… But when they're kidnapped from home, their world is turned upside down. The only hashtag that matters now is survival. A funny and fiercely passionate new play about enduring…
Soho Theatre and Talawa Theatre Company present
‘I am that mixed raced kid, like 50/50, on the fence, lukewarm, in-between maybe. Trust me, around here I’m about as black as it goes…’ Jazmin feels different. She doesn’t want to stay in the village. She doesn’t want to have a baby. She doesn’t want to laugh at racist…
Hot Brown Honey turns up the heat with lashings of sass and a hot pinch of empowerment in the smash-hit, genre-defying, award-winning, firecracker of a show that's taken the world by storm. Winners of the 2016 Total Theatre Award for Innovation, The Honeys are back to spin tradition on its head…
AIK Productions / Turtle Key Arts
Funny and poignant, powerful political theatre from award-winning playwright Hassan Abdulrazzak. This one-man play expertly highlights the problems in today’s global and multicultural landscape, using comedy to bravely tackle problems facing the Arab and Muslim communities across the…
Selina Thompson Ltd
A journey to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. In February 2016, two artists got on a cargo ship to retrace one of the routes of the Transatlantic Slave Triangle – from the UK to Ghana to Jamaica and back. Their memories, their questions and their grief took them along the bottom of the Atlantic and…
Taha Muhammad Ali is the beautiful optimistic picture of the Palestinian people – of all of us. In his beloved verses, Taha documents hopeful survival after 50 years of loss – loss of his home, his lover, his friends and his shop in Saffuriyeh in Galilee. Adapted from Adina Hoffman's book My Happiness Bears…
Unity Theatre and Riksteatern (Sweden) in association with Young Vic
Backed by a brilliant band, Olivier Award-nominated actress Josette Bushell-Mingo (Disney’s The Lion King) mixes story and song as she draws together tales from Nina Simone's life and her own extraordinary career. Touching upon the 1960s civil rights…
Rachael Young, created with Dwayne Antony
Out is about shape-shifting: to be black enough, straight enough, Jamaican enough… Challenging homophobia and transphobia within Caribbean communities, Out is a conversation between two bodies, reclaiming Dancehall and celebrating queerness amongst the bittersweet scent of…
Jihan is an ordinary child who woke up one day to discover that she had lost her smile. The sun set, the moon disappeared, everything lost its colour, cold spread throughout the town and the people got sick. Jihan searched everywhere but couldn’t find her smile. The people of the town went on a journey to…