This year at the NZ Comedy Fest a special showcase will unpack the concepts of identity with a collection of artists sharing their stories in Dialogue: Identity at Q Theatre on Friday 19 May.

With Auckland being home to the fourth most diverse population in the world, some exciting local minds will come together to reveal their ideas on identity. Drawing from a rich tapestry of experiences, the diverse panel of comedians and special guest artists will offer up their funny and poignant stories, hosted by actor, comedian and director Jackie van Beek.

This year’s storytellers includes Comedy Fest comedians James Nokise, Chris Parker (Camping, No More Dancing in the Good Room), 2016 Best Newcomers Fan Brigade and 2017 Billy T nominee Angella Dravid; guest musicians Randa and Tourettes, Spinoff writer and performer Sam Brooks.

We caught up with Randa, and found out more about her heritage, upbringing and where she fit within our community.

Where were you born and where did you grow up? 

I was born on the North Shore and grew up there also.

How would you describe your upbringing? 

Well, I felt very free to be myself around my family.. regardless of the society I was living in. I escaped a lot into cartoons, sit-coms, comics, wrestling.. you name it!

How do you feel you fit in with the community at that time? 

 I mean, I played tee ball as a kid.. I had a paper route.. but I didn’t fit in at all. I was young, queer without a dialogue and not exactly neuro-typical. It’s nice to be an adult now, and to feel connected with other beautiful weirdos.

Where do you currently reside? 

 I’m flatting in Grey Lynn, so near the city but will be moving back home for a month before heading off for a brief stint in LA.

How different is your current environment compared to when you were growing up? 

You know, it’s closer to the city. There are similarities,.. but it’s a lot different in countless ways.

How do you feel you fit in with the current community? 

I guess I live closer to my friends who are on the same buzz as me, creative humans, working in hospitality so that is cool. It’s nice to walk to work and maybe bump into a friend on the way there.

Would you consider it a diverse place where you live? 

To a degree. It is, but it also isn’t!

How did you get to be involved with Dialogue? 

Craig, who is behind the scenes making comedy festival happen discovered my music being played in Citizen Q (the cafe/restaurant at Q Theatre where I work). He hit me up!

Have you learnt anything since being involved in Dialogue? 

Yes! We had a couple workshops prior so I got to learn a bit about the experiences of the other humans I’ll be performing with. 

Following Dialogue, what future plans have you got in the work?

I’m about to drop a couple singles, look out for those! And heading to America to shoot a video with ‘Dirty Girls Project’ who are incredible! 

DIALOGUE: IDENTITY - HOSTED BY JACKIE VAN BEEK LOFT @ Q THEATRE, AUCKLAND – TUESDAY MAY 16 - SATURDAY MAY 20, 2017 Bookings: qtheatre.co.nz // 09 309 9771 https://www.comedyfestival.co.nz/find-a-show/dialogue-identity/ As part of the 2017 NZ International Comedy Festival powered by Flick Electric Co. from 27 April - 21 May. For the full line-up of shows in the Festival head to comedyfestival.co.nz