Presented by Paines Plough and Tamasha Theatre Company, Come To Where I’m From is an exploration of Britain. The project asks playwrights to write about their hometowns and perform the pieces themselves in their own cities. The programme has seen over a 100 writers take part since it’s conception in 2010. One of the final and most diverse cities to partake, voices from North, South, West and East London were invited to share their stories. Performing in their local theatres, I attended the final North West London event at the Park Theatre near Finsbury Park.

The first piece by Stephen Jeffreys is brilliantly observant and descriptive, he talks about his time growing up as a boy in the 1950s. Of Arsenal games and Crouch End, buses, public loos, pigeons, and the kindness of strangers.

Next Mahad Ali tells us of a time when his parents discussed which high school he should go to, a thorough tale interwoven with harder stories about his background. Such as where he has come from and who he would become, and whose choices those were.

Isley Lynn creates a joyful lighthearted metaphor for something much more ingrained. Her’s is a tale of how we create homes and plant roots, how we can claim spaces that aren’t ours or perhaps create something new.

Young Cheryl Walker is genuine and loving in her story, ‘Where are you from?’ ‘No, where are you really from?’ is echoed for the second time. Again she talks about things like the tube which are familiar to us all, but also her roots. Things that are both fully hers and not hers at the same time are explored in front of us, as we see our familiarities and differences.

Lastly, Monsay Whitney spills an incredibly personal story of her upbringing. Someone who is bravely close to us is laid out bare for us all to listen to. I can’t imagine how scary it is for these writers to conceive and perform all that is theirs in front of a small sweaty room of strangers.

Obviously the event is about much more than creating something good, which could be developed or will even live outside of this room, which happens too often in theatre. It has a rawness to it which is untouchable. With one of the most diverse audiences I have ever seen in a theatre environment, the room is inviting and open for all. It is a joyous sharing of what it means to be a Londoner and a person, as well as an open book of five gorgeous human beings who have invited us in for a peek of what they’ve lived through. It is interesting and eye-opening, but most of all honest and wholesome. Afterwards, I reflected how moments before the show I had observed how nice Finsbury Park had become. In my head I make a mental note to visit more often.

Come To Where I’m From is playing Park Theatre until 6 July. For more information and tickets, see