Sajeela Kershi: Free Speech & Rah-Rah Skirts!

Refinery ArtSpace, 114 Hardy St, Nelson

23/03/2023 - 25/03/2023

Nelson Fringe Festival 2023

Production Details

Writer and performer - Sajeela Kershi

Multi-award winning British Asian Comedian Sajeela Kershi returns to NZ with her brand new WIP show! It picks up where her critically acclaimed show Fights Like A Girl left off – a powerhouse-empowering show that she toured NZ in 2019.

“Smart, funny, with a mischievous glint.” The Times, UK

In this show, Sajeela delves into the post-pandemic geo politics; culture wars, war on land, warring families – all through the cultural prism of her own experiences.

She wonders if Privilege is the new pandemic? Asymptomatic. Whilst we are bitchin’ about lack of free speech in the West, women in Afghanistan are invisible, denied a voice and education. Whilst we bemoan who has right to wear a dress and who wears the trousers in our society, Iran makes individuals disappear for a slip of the tongue or a slip of a (enforced) scarf.

Who holds the chalk that draws the line on what is or isn’t offensive? On what you can and can’t joke about? Whoever it is, the comedians, satirists and creatives want a quiet word with you, buddy.

Who will save humanity?

“The woman is a treasure, magnetic, loveable and extremely witty.” The Spectator, UK

“Kershi has the power to make you laugh and cry.” Skinny

WARNING: Contains pinches of Cultural Guffaws, generous sprinkling of Jokery Wokery. Due to show Climatic change, Hearts & Snowflakes may melt.

As seen/heard Various BBC Radio/TV, Comedy Central, GBN Headliners/Free Speech Nation, TalkTV + Star of Edinburgh (formerly Perrier) winning show.

Nelson Fringe Festival
Tickets at
Thurs 23, Fri 24 & Sat 25 March at 7.35pm

Dunedin Fringe Festival
Thurs 16 & Fri 17 March at 8.30pm

Stand-up comedy , Theatre , Solo ,


Engaging, friendly, balances the jokes and humour with thought-provoking moments

Review by Judene Edgar 25th Mar 2023

Bringing the laughs to the Nelson Fringe Festival is Sajeela Kershi with her show Free Speech & Rah-Rah Skirts!. And beware, her show comes with a warning message: “contains a pinch of cultural guffaws and generous sprinklings of jokery wokery. Hearts and snowflakes may melt.”

The Pakistan-born Muslim UK comedian isn’t afraid to tackle taboo topics, delivering up a smorgasbord of religion, cultural identity, feminism, arranged marriage, colonialism, cancel culture and Sharia law. And once she got the easy stuff out of the way, she then tackled the really difficult subjects – young people and vegans!

Using her experiences growing up, Kershi shares her efforts trying to fit in, from wanting to smell like boiled cabbage to playing an alcoholic innkeeper in a play. Having turned down the lead role in the play to take on the innkeeper role, it gave her her first taste of making people laugh.

Her childhood stories touch on the challenges of growing up as a Muslim including her obsession with looking for religious loopholes and needing to lie about being a Christian to get into the Brownies.

An engaging and friendly performer who interacts frequently with the audience, Kershi balances the jokes and humour with thought-provoking moments about the persecution of women in Afghanistan and Iran, the blindness of stereotypes, experiences with bullies, intergenerational culture wars and what James Bond and organised religion have in common.  So come along and be prepared to have some great laughs, and remember to wear your pants!


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