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City alumna takes drama outside the theatre at Edinburgh Fringe

City alumna Aisha Zia’s play about Muslim female boxers is being performed at this year’s Edinburgh Festival
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A play written by City University London alumna Aisha Zia is being performed at the Edinburgh Fringe this summer.

No Guts, No Heart, No Glory is based on interviews with young Muslim female boxers to explore the assumptions and expectations of young Muslim women within the Muslim and non-Muslim communities.null

Aisha, who studied for an MA in Playwriting and Screenwriting at City, now works as a part of Common Wealth, a theatre collective which removes plays from theatres and stages them amongst the wider community.

This means No Guts, No Heart, No Glory won't be held in a theatre but at local boxing clubs in Edinburgh, Bradford and Manchester instead.

The play remains very personal to Aisha, who was influenced by her own experiences when writing it.

She commented; "The world seemed like a lonely place at sixteen. I could see things that I wanted to be a part of but often felt like an outsider. I wanted to write a play that made young Muslim girls feel included and that they were a part of something they created. No Guts, No Heart, No Glory is about ambition and belonging, but also fighting for the right to be heard."

It was studying at City which helped Aisha to fine tune her talents through the course's emphasis on weekly writing, critique and working with professionals from all areas of the industry.

"My experience of studying at City definitely helped me to where I am today. I had the opportunity to meet other inspirational playwrights and screenwriters whilst working with leading actors and directors. Not only did this develop my writing style but it also introduced me to the people I would collaborate with in the future. I felt the course was incredible in its depth and breadth and was an intensive experience, even though I was studying part time."

Barbara Norden, course director, commented on Aisha's success:

"Aisha was a fearless and vocal member of the playwriting and screenwriting MA. She has a strong sense of theatricality and experimented with many kinds of writing before settling on the distinctive work she does with Common Wealth. We wish the company luck with the production."

This is not the first time Aisha's work has been performed at the Fringe.

Last year Aisha worked as a writer on Our Glass House, which incorporated testimonies from domestic abuse victims and was staged by Common Wealth in a local authority house to extremely positive reviews.

It was highly commended by the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Awards 2013, and received 4 star reviews from The Guardian, The Independent, The Herald and The Scotsman.

No Guts, No Heart, No Glory will be running between the 18th and 25th August. For more information visit the Common Wealth website.

For further information about the City Playwriting and Screenwriting MA visit the course website.

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