Immigrant diaries: Statistics don't tell the real story of immigrants, people do

Monday 06th July 2015 13:12 EDT

Immigration is a hot topic dividing Brits. How many are there? How does it effect us? Who are these immigrants? Isn't it time we heard from them?

This multi award-winning show, fresh from two acclaimed sell-out runs at London’s Southbank and the Brighton Fringe was born at the Edinburgh Fringe - but also born of frustration. Finishing her Edinburgh run in 2013 Sajeela Kershi (Mixing It, BBC Radio Scotland) found herself picking up the newspapers again and being bombarded with anti-immigration rhetoric. When did immigrants become such a dirty word? Sajeela had just spent a magical month in a town full of performers and punters from an immigrant background, yet where were they in the debates she saw in the media?

Sajeela’s response was to bring audiences captivating true-life immigration stories from special guests from the world of comedy, entertainment and beyond, including Shobu Kapoor (EastEnders), Jing Lusi (Holby City), Nikki Bedi (BBC Radio London 94.9), Shyama Perera (The Six O’Clock Show), and comedians Juliet Meyers (The Sarah Millican Televison Programme), Inder Manocha (Skins) and Dave Cohen (Horrible Histories).

The Edinburgh Fringe run will feature Dave Cohen, Jing Lusi and a host of other guests who will already be part of the Fringe - all with funny, poignant, ridiculous and sublime stories from people who chose to live and work on this marvellously multi-cultural island. Among them, of course, Sajeela tells her own story - of how her parents arrived in the UK in the early hours of a cold winter's morning with all their possessions, three children and 3000 cigarettes stuffed into a Scooby-Doo van!

Sajeela Kershi has been performing stand-up since 2006. She got her big break as one of the audience ‘plants’ in Brendon Burns’s 2007 if.comedy-winning show, So I Suppose This Is Offensive Now? Since then Sajeela has written several shows for the Edinburgh Fringe festival and was a finalist at the Hackney Empire New Act Awards in 2011. This year Sajeela won an Asian Woman of Achievement award (Arts & Culture section). She subsequently swapped roles and gave an award at Limelight Film Award for short films where she is presenting the award for best comedy film. Before the Edinburgh Fringe, Sajeela will take Immigrant Diaries for a special performance at the House of Lords and to WOMAD.  

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