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Comedy, art and music: Refugee Week in Frome

Frome welcomes the UK’s first – and funniest – refugee comedy collective on its first ever UK tour, part of a programme of events to mark Refugee Week 2024 in Frome. Soho Theatre regulars No Direction Home, featuring associate artists Selam Amare, Usman Khalid and Pepa Duarte, will be at the Merlin on Friday 21st June, with compere Roann McCloskey. Tickets cost £5 to £15, available from the Merlin.

No Direction Home was created by Counterpoint Arts: a project for new comics from refugee and migrant backgrounds, offering workshops, tuition and gigs around the country. Created in partnership with Camden People’s Theatre and comedian Tom Parry, No Direction Home have hosted workshops and more than 25 gigs, featuring guest headliners such as Nish Kumar, Romesh Ranganathan, Rosie Jones, Rob Delaney, Fatiha El-Ghorri and Sindhu Vee. The aim of the project is to provide training, opportunities and career development and to help shift the narrative about who and what can be funny. Nish Kumar says: “The No Direction Home comedians are a very exciting, interesting and creative bunch of people to be around. And they are very funny!”

In addition to welcoming No Direction Home as part of their tour, members of Frome’s Welcome Hub have created a calendar of events for Refugee Week, including workshops, art, crafts and music in the week of 17th June, culminating in a Family Fun Day and picnic in Victoria Park on Sunday 23rd June, with yoga, storytelling, craft and music sessions on offer for adults and children. Details of the full calendar of Refugee Week events can be found on the Discover Frome website.

On Saturday 22nd June, professional musician Olha Koptieva has organised a ‘Ukrainian Soul’ concert at 23 Bath Street, showcasing the richness of Ukrainian culture and music.Tickets cost £4 for adults and the event is free for under 16s; donations welcome, to go to Frome Welcomes Refugees. Olha Koptieva said ‘On behalf of the Ukrainian community, we’d like to share the afternoon with the people of Frome, to express thanks for the warm welcome and acceptance. The afternoon will start with crafts and other activities; with the concert beginning at 5.30pm. Craft options include making a traditional Ukrainian doll, making a chocolate lollipop or making soap. For the more active, there is a traditional Ukrainian folk dancing workshop! The concert comprises 10 artists performing a mixture of music, songs and poetry with time to relax and mingle afterwards. The afternoon is open to all and hopes to foster integration within the community of Frome. The bar will be open and everyone is welcome to come and have a taste of Ukrainian Soul!’

The final event of the week is a Family Fun Day, aimed at bringing together people of all ages and all cultures to celebrate the theme of Refugee Week: Our Home. The fun day will feature storytelling, yoga and music, and a variety of folk tales carefully chosen in collaboration with displaced people in order to represent their birth countries. In many cases these tales date back many centuries and some have been the inspiration for modern family favourites.

The morning story session is offered by members of Frome-based theatre group Dramakarma. The storytellers have been supported by director Kevin Ross, who says ‘It’s a great honour for the young people from Dramakarma to take part. It will help develop their skills and personal confidence while contributing to their own and others’ awareness of the importance of learning about and valuing each other’s culture’.

To support connection to ‘our home’ in our bodies, two yoga classes are on offer: one for under 10s, taught by Rainbow Flow and an adult taster class delivered by Ashtanga Yoga Frome. No prior experience is necessary and all equipment is provided.

There will be a lunchtime scrap-based craft activity, facilitated by family members of Idries Shah, a much-respected and renowned author and teacher in the Sufi tradition. They will share a traditional oral story, put to paper by Idries Shah and support young people to create a take-home craft based on the story.

After lunch, there will be music from various countries, led by local musician Abi Bailey of Djembe Tots, to get everyone singing along or at least tapping their toes! To round off the day,  a visiting storyteller from Bristol’s Somerset Storyfest will share several more stories. Join them to ‘climb mountains, skulk through the jungle and squash into a tiny woollen glove’, together, in Frome; our home.

Full details of Refugee Week events and booking links where required is at discoverfrome.co.uk/annual-events/refugee-week.

3 June 2024
Last Updated
11 June 2024
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