Engage the Disengaged

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I’ve seen some great theatre recently and have been impressed and incredibly inspired – one of which was No Guts, No Heart, No Glory at the Southbank Centre. It was written by Aisha Zia and performed by five ridiculously talented young Asian girls. It was a site-specific performance set in a boxing gym and the audience could move fluidly around the set and get in the space of the actors.

I’m currently on my first draft of writing a musical production for young people. It’s about how life can be for young people whose family have been deemed as the lowest of the low in society. It’s about getting the message  across to those young people that it doesn’t matter in which the circumstance that you were born into. It’s about empowering them to change their stories.

So strong message – tick. Challenge the community with hard hitting issues – tick. Get a load of young people involved – tick.
But what No Guts… did was to use the voices of young Muslim girls and perform it in a way that got its audience moving, watching, focusing, being a part of the story. Speaking to Freyaa, one of the performers, she said that she had a sense of pride when performing, especially in her home town of Bradford. That pride was not just about telling a great story, but also to get her non theatre-going community watching and getting involved in the performance. Engaging them.

What No Guts did was to take it out of a traditional theatre setting and
Under Evie Manning’s powerful directing  the audience was able to have an insight into the mind, thoughts, ramblings, frustrations, pain, angst – of being a young Asian girl. Of being 16. Of being a teenager.

Croydon, where my charity I work for is and will be setting the musical in, is also a non theatre-going community that needs to be engaged. My aim is to get young voices out and on a strong, steady platform in Croydon. I want the young people who will be performing in the musical, to be cheered on and encouraged to take hold of something that they feel passionate about, by their community.
The story of No Guts is about being fearless and going beyond the unexpected. We need audiences to be the same.

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