Finding Your Place as a Travelling Artist

Fringe Artist Aliya Kanani describes her experience as a traveling Fringe Artist, and the importance of comedy

“We’re made up of our stories and our experiences more than anything.”

It’s fitting to find Aliya Kanani touring the Fringe circuit—her home may be the road itself.

Frequently uprooted as a child—moving all over Canada, and then to Africa with her parents—and then working as a flight attendant meant she’s been a perpetual traveller her whole life, having spent time in more than 30 countries. How do you define the idea of ‘home’ in the wake of all that?

“It’s really interesting to belong to so many things and yet to nothing,” Aliya reflects from her current base of Toronto. “That’s always been a very core part of my identity.”

Aliya’s show Where Are You From, From? unpacks that very idea as she tracks her trajectory through the world in lively, funny, stories.

Aliya stumbled into comedy by accident: while staying in Toronto, she took a sketch writing class as something fun to do, and then just kept on going.

Soon, she found herself with a slot at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival—the second biggest comedy fest in the world—dealing with more stage time than she had material.

Artist Aliya Kanani is standing up with a big smile, holding two paper airplanes.
Fringe Artist Aliya Kanani

“I had a 50 minute timeslot and maybe 25 really good minutes,” Aliya laughs. To fill out her set, she added a Q&A to the show, fielding audience questions that ranged from “where’s the coolest place you’ve travelled to?” to “what do you do with your hair?” Repeat questions, occurring show after show, eventually helped her expand the script to its current state.

Her travel-prone life may be unique, but Aliya’s found that her story resonates with everyone who’s ever felt unsure of their particular place in the world.

“I realized that this was something that was so relatable to people on so many levels,” she says. “It was really the audience that helped me develop this show. In starting to tell my story, I recognized that this was the story of so many people, because we all feel this crisis of identity and belonging in different aspects of our lives.”

“We’re made up of our stories and our experiences more than anything.”

Make sure to buy your tickets to this year’s Festival here after August 9th at 12Noon! 

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