A PLAY which aims to to "start conversations" on Islamophobia and racial profiling was performed in Bradford last night, with a host of homegrown talent on display.

Peaceophobia - the brainchild of Speakers' Corner, a collective of women and girls from Bradford - follows the journey of young British-Pakistani men searching for identity amid racism and prejudice, and also explores how car culture can tie in with self-expression.

Its first performance was at the Oastler Car Park yesterday, with the unconventional setting being used to bring the play to a wider audience, beyond just traditional theatre-goers.

Peaceophobia is being performed at the car park for another seven days, before heading to Manchester at the end of the month, and has given Bradfordians of Pakistani descent the chance to "tell their own story", said co-writer Zia Ahmed.

"Cars, faith and Islamophobia are the main themes, with race and social class also tying in", he added.

"Speakers' Corner came up with its title - it's a play on words on Islamophobia. For many, Islam is a journey to inner-peace, so how can you have a phobia of peace?

"The cars that some young British-Pakistanis drive can be seen as statements, which are hard to ignore - but these are people who have been previously ignored by the Government, and by their neighbours.

"But on the flipside, things that bring them joy can also be the cause of things that stress them, like being profiled. The joy people get from their cars and their faith is also married to racial profiling and Islamophobia.

"Peaceophobia is about British-Kashmiri men, and the majority of people involved are from that background too. This isn't a self-defence thing, or a cry for help - it's more like a 'let's chat' thing.

"Most stories are told by the dominant group, so we need more voices to show the complexity and the roundedness of a place like Bradford. These stories need to be told by the people who have lived them, so we can control our own narrative."

Zia - who is from North West London but has an "affinity" with Bradford, having made contacts in the city after he wrote a play about a relationship between a Londoner and a Bradfordian - added that Peaceophobia also aims to "fight stereotypes".

"When it comes to car culture in the British-Pakistani community, I want people to have a better understanding of the societal context around it", he said.

"Also, how can you have these thoughts about a particular community, when you've never had a conversation with them? Peaceophobia actually came off the back of 'punish a Muslim day', so we hope it can start dialogue and create change."

As for the play's quirky setting, Zia said that having a theatre show in a non-traditional theatre space is a "staple" of Bradford-based theatre company Common Wealth, which has previously done shows in "boxing gyms and dance halls".

"I think they're trying to take shows from middle-class settings to places more people have access to. It will help to bring in more people who wouldn't normally go to the theatre", he said.

Zia's journey to being a director is "all about telling stories", he concluded.

"I grew up seeing my dad in poetry circles and watching Bollywood films. Storytelling, in different ways, has always been huge for me", he said.

"I hope people take messages from the play, and come and have a conversation after, whether it's just about the cars or about culture.

"Come down and see the show!"

For more information, visit fueltheatre.com/projects/peaceophobia.