WHEN writer Joe Sellman-Leava was four years old, his dad was told their surname might be stopping him from getting a job.

“So we changed it. It worked,” says Joe, whose experiences of being mixed heritage and growing up in the West Country in the ‘90s is the basis of an award-winning show, Labels.

Worklight Theatre’s production is described as “a funny, moving and honest story based on writer and performer Joe Sellman-Leava’s experiences to explore broader issues of racism, immigration and displacement”.

Despite being born in Gloucestershire, Sellman-Leava grew up constantly being asked where he was really from.

Here, he calls for a fairer, more open-minded society, using his own stories to open a wider discussion about the way we talk about, think about and treat our fellow human beings.

Sellman-Leava says: “We always wanted Labels to be accessible to all. Although not everyone has experienced racism, everyone has experienced labelling in some way.

“It’s been both sad and scary to see Labels become increasingly relevant as we’ve toured it around the world. But we hope people leave uplifted, as the story, whilst bittersweet, is ultimately a hopeful one.”

Labels, which will be at Shelley Theatre on October 14 at 8.30pm (shelleytheatre.co.uk) is part of this year’s Arts By The Sea Festival which runs from October 14 to 21.

The seventh Arts by the Sea Festival is a week-long celebration featuring an eclectic mix of events, performances and shows. Many events are free.

Arts by the Sea is funded by Bournemouth Borough Council and Arts Council England. See, website artsbythesea.co.uk.