Archive for November, 2011

Author: Ben Kaye - Librettist, Co-founder
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November 30th 2011
Anya17: Caroline Clegg to direct Anya17

Caroline Clegg to direct Anya17

I am absolutely delighted to announce that the Director of the highly successful play ‘Slave – A Question of Freedom’ is now to direct Anya17.

Caroline Clegg is an Actor, Freelance Director and Artistic Director of Feelgood Theatre Productions

Caroline’s recent adaptation of Mende Nazer’s autobiography and subsequent direction of the resulting play, ‘Slave…’ won the Pete Postlethwaite Award for Best New Play in 2011 following its world premiere at The Lowry in November 2010. Subsequently it was performed in the House of Lords and transferred to the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith, the Unity Theatre Liverpool and International Slavery Museum and the Guildhall in Derby. Plans for 2012/13 include performing at the UN and in the USA.

With the Play lauded by both public and critics alike, Caroline is looking forward to the new challenge of directing Anya17:

“I am delighted to be working on Anya17 to highlight the abhorrent crime of trafficking women into sexual slavery. My journey on Slave – A Question of Freedom led me to some very dark places and I experienced audiences identifying with the true horror of slavery in the 21st century through bearing witness to the testimony of one person’s story.

The transformative effect and power of live theatre and music can change hearts and minds and I have been privileged to see that power in action. I feel honoured to be able to continue to use my craft as a story teller on Anya17 and most importantly to give voice to the voiceless.

There are 27 million slaves alive today, more than were stolen from Africa in four centuries of the transatlantic slave trade. Today, men, women and children are being trafficked all over the world by gangs in highly organised illegal, dangerous and secretive operations. We have the capacity to end trafficking and slavery in our lifetime and fight for a world without human bondage, a world where vulnerable people are not bought and sold. Together, we can and must take action; we have no excuse to turn away.”

We are all very excited to have such an experienced and well-respected Director on board, particularly one already so immersed in the subject matter and dedicated to using the Arts to bring the crime of modern day Slavery into the public eye.

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Author: Ben Kaye - Librettist, Co-founder
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November 24th 2011
Anya17: First BBC TV Coverage

Simon Clemison: BBC News

Adam Gorb and I are much indebted to the brilliant BBC who have not only covered our previous collaborations but have already leant their support to Anya17 at the earliest possible stage. In a clear commitment to raise public awareness of the issues of Human Trafficking, here is the first BBC News Report which was aired just days ago across three BBC southern TV regions.

Special thanks must go to Simon Clemison (pictured) at the BBC, whose dogged determination

and belief in the project resulted not only  in the News article already mentioned, but also a second BBC TV report on Trafficking in the South West (to be posted shortly), and an in-depth documentary to be aired next year.

Thank you brilliant BBC!

Ben



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Author: Stu Jones - Graphic Designer
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November 10th 2011
Anya17 T-Shirts: Exposed

In my last blog post I promised I’d shed some light on the story behind the mysterious code on the rear of the Anya17 t-shirts. So for any of you who have been waiting with bated breath, here we go.

When we first met Ben he had a pretty good idea of what he needed to do from a marketing point of view to get people excited about Anya 17. Getting a buzz going about the opera was absolutely essential. It was natural that, during our initial conversations about the logo, talk turned to include the other visual aspects of the project: the website, Facebook, Twitter, print work and other general merchandise, including t-shirts.

We all thought t-shirts were a fantastic way of getting the branding out there and seen by as many people as possible. It made perfect sense to have the (at that point undesigned) logo as the most prominent element on the front of the shirt. Then there was the small matter of the back of the t-shirts. We all felt that the rear of the shirt gave us a great opportunity to share more information about the project aims and to spread awareness of the trafficking issue. Therefore, as well as the logos of any sponsors, a bit of information on the rear about the cause was a must, but we also wanted something a bit different that would really serve as a conversation starter.

During our first phone call Ben had already talked about the kinds of services girls in Anya17’s situation were being forced to offer by the traffickers. The way these services were advertised to potential customers (so-called ‘Johns’) was very particular and listed as a “menu”. This menu of services varied from girl to girl and was written using a code of acronyms. The code had apparently originated as a way for ‘Johns’ to elude the police on internet prostitution websites. Ben explained the code was very well known to the ‘Johns’ and each individual acronym was usually listed together with an indication of price, again written in code.

We all thought that this menu would make very interesting print for the rear of the t-shirts. The idea was to use it as a device to inspire questions and conversation but I especially liked the way the format seemed to echo that of rock band tour t-shirts. However, instead of listing the venues of the performances, ours would listing the different types of ‘performances’ themselves.

With that decided, all that was left was to design the actual t-shirts. As you will have seen if you have looked at the t-shirts on the Spreadshirt website there is rather a lot of stuff crammed onto the back. As we were including the rather provocative code we thought it was important to also give facts to put it in context and to bring home the shocking reality of the issue. We really liked the idea of indicating the sexual nature of the obscure code through a climax style use of the word yes after each ‘service’ and contrasting this with some text explaining the cold reality. Not only would it be a conversation starter for anyone not in the know, it would also act as a kind of slap around the face for anyone who did know the code, and would hopefully inspire some empathy.

The rear of the t-shirt is then finished off with the ever growing assortment of supporter logos, thanks to all Ben’s hard work in getting everyone involved.

So finally, for those of you who are itching to know, the meaning of each of the acronyms in the code are listed here. Please be warned, however, that they are obviously of a sexual nature so if you’re a bit faint-hearted or easily offended please stop reading right here.

CLICK HERE FOR THE ANYA17 T-SHIRT CODE EXPOSED >>

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Author: James Shilton - Photographer & Film Maker
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November 4th 2011
A selection of the the stills from the auditions this week

Here is a selection of stills captured from the video footage shot at the auditions this week.

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Author: Ben Kaye - Librettist, Co-founder
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November 4th 2011
Anya17 Auditions: It’s tough being an X Factor judge

Hopeful auditionee for the role of Natalia

Being an X Factor judge isn’t as easy as it seems! The harsh reality of picking and choosing between talented performers became all too clear as I sat, somewhat the judging novice, on the panel at Monday night’s Anya17 auditions at the RNCM in Manchester. Whilst neither spray tans nor capped teeth were in evidence amongst the august panel, the many talented performers gave it their all for nearly four hours under the unforgiving gaze of the camera and the expert judges.

Completing the panel and amply compensating for my complete lack of judging experience were Anya17’s Composer Adam Gorb, Clark Rundell and Stephan Janski.

Stephan’s friendly and encouraging style belied his extensive experience and much-praised work with Glyndebourne Festival and Touring Opera, ENO, Scottish Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Ryedale Festival and many others. Now Head of RNCM Opera (and a fantastic Librettist to boot), Stephan inspired some wonderful performances on the night.

Surely winning the prize for the longest title however, Clark Rundell, (Director of Contemporary Music and Head of Conducting at the RNCM, and Artistic Director of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic’s new music group, Ensemble 10/10), was as knowledgeable as he was incisive. A good thing too, as attempting to choose between the many extraordinary and well-prepared performances would have left me at a complete loss!

It's tough being a X Factor judge - Ben Kaye - Stephan Janski - Adam Gorb - Clark Rundell

Decisions had to be made however, and we will announce the cast line-up very shortly! (So make sure you’re checking back here and on our Facebook page and Twitter feed for all the latest developments.)

Monday also marked the start of filming for the Anya17 Documentary. James from Shilton Photo Film was kept busy for most of the day nimbly chasing light, angles and a variety of interviewees across the vast, labyrinthine landscape of the RNCM whilst burdened with a mountain of gear that would have soon had me screaming for the nearest Sherpa! Thank you also to Tina and Lara from City Hearts for taking part and also to Hope for Justice for finding the time to be with us.

That’s about all for now. In my next blog I will be introducing the talented singers who will become the cast of Anya17, and, if there’s space, I also hope to share my experiences at Unchosen’s latest screening at the LSE in London…

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