Subversive verbatim play exploring female sexuality and feminism within Islam.

“What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open.” – Muriel Rukeyser

ZINA is a true story about an extraordinary woman: an artist, a feminist, and a Muslim. In 2016 she placed a provocative and challenging personal ad on Craigslist, looking for well-endowed men.

All kinds of men responded, leading to months of online chatting. As Zina explores her sexual and inner life, she struggles to reconcile her emotions and her religious beliefs, while trying to figure out what will really bring her happiness and fulfillment.

ZINA is a radical exploration of female sexuality in its myriad forms, and the relationship between sex and religion, lust and convention. An open and honest look at female desire, this new work from feminist theatre collective Little but Fierce seeks to challenge stereotypes of Muslim women and present a feminist look at Islam.

ZINA is a verbatim play devised using chat transcripts and interviews with the real ‘Zina.’

We present ZINA as a work in progress.

1hr 00m
The Vaults
21 — 25 Feb 21:30
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About the company

Little but Fierce

Little but Fierce is a feminist theatre company creating female-led productions of both new writing and classical adaptations. They work exclusively with female directors and playwrights, and only stage plays with more than 50% female cast. Their productions have been staged at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, at the New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich, the Cockpit Theatre, and at the Criterion in the West End. Little but Fierce made their VAULT debut in 2017 with the sell-out play ‘Puppy’, a feminist sex comedy about dogging, queer romance and protest.

Naomi Westerman is a playwright and screenwriter who creates female-centric work in a range of genres and mediums. Her work has been staged at numerous theatres in the UK and abroad, including the Royal Court (as part of Open Court), the Arcola, St James Theatre, the Birmingham Rep, Bolton Octagon, Southwark Playhouse, High Tide, and off-Broadway. Her first screenplay won first place in the Raindance Film Festival’s Ammo Live, and she has various screen and radio projects in development.

Jessica Cornfeld is an American director and theatre-maker, based in New York. She recently worked on the Bush Theatre’s community theatre production The Neighbourhood Project.

Sarah-Jane Dent is a Clean Break Graduate who trained with the company for two years before moving on to train for a further year at Brian Timoney Actors Studio. FILM credits include Keeping Mum, In a Dream, Jim’s Story and Secret Place. TELEVISION credits include the pilot for a new series Are You Sitting Comfortably? STAGE credits include Hear London Tour including Arts in the Criminal Justice System, The National Dorfman, Our Father, Hours Til Midnight (WOW Festival, South Bank Centre), Meal Ticket (Latitude Festival and UK Tour), Sweatbox (Latitude Festival and UK tour, including National Theatre, London), These Four Walls, (Stonesthrow Theatre, London /The Pleasance/CLF Art Centre/N16 Theatre), and Phyllida Lloyd’s acclaimed all-women Shakespeare Trilogy at the Donmar Warehouse.

“Sarah has an unmistakable talent for Live Performance” – Amelia O’Loughlin, Director of Stonesthrow theatre

“The biggest shout out for acting I’ve ever given has to go to Sarah Dent in the role of Sandra. Her performance was amazing and so realistic, I was moved to tears. This was acting of the highest calibre and I feel privileged to have witnessed it.” – London Theatre 1

Artistic Team
Writer and Deviser
Jessica Cornfeld and Anonymous
Jessica Cornfeld
Naomi Westerman
Sarah-Jane Dent

Press & Reviews

Praise for Naomi Westerman's Claustrophilia

"Westerman’s writing is compelling [...] a great piece of theatre." A Younger Theatre

"A brilliant piece." Sonderlust Theatre

"A very strong piece from Westerman." View from the Cheap Seat

"A compelling and well-delivered examination of trauma, privilege and resilience. Westerman’s strong script is sturdy and thought-provoking." The Play's The Thing

"Really chilling and gripping drama. Writer Naomi Westerman is an evident real talent and strong voice." Time Out Online

"Anyone who has seen Westerman’s play Tortoise knows she has a knack for articulating the interior experience." Breaking the Fourth Wall.

Praise for Naomi Westerman's Puppy (name checked as Pick of the Week by Time Out and the Guardian):

"A quiet beauty, the writing and dialogue really capture the awkward sweetness of a relationship in its early stages. The script is a gem -- the makings of a brilliant piece of theatre." Time Out Online.

"Puppy is a powerful important piece. A gripping and personal script from Naomi Westerman [who] manages to present us with two very likable but humanly flawed characters [which] makes the whole piece believable and gives it a hook that sinks into your heart." LGBTQ Arts.

"A play that has the potential to be groundbreaking." View from the Cheap Seat.

"Puppy stacks feminism with porn, sex with sexuality, patriarchy with protest and crams it all into a one act, no mean feat, and yet Westerman weaves these challenging issues together thorough the journey of the two young girls, in a way that doesn’t feel forced but liberating. Brazen writing like Westerman’s should not only be encouraged but heralded as essential." ChristinaBulford.co.uk

Praise for Naomi Westerman's Tortoise

"Quite extraordinary and we were privileged to be the first to have seen these plays. The variety and quality of the pieces performed were inspiring, reminding everyone of the talent within those four walls." FemaleArts.

"Although it deals with serious themes, it's not heavy. Rather, it is a funny and touching at the same time, breaks stereotypes about mental illness forces you to think and ask questions. [...] Very well-received." Zachodnikoniec.