Archive for December, 2011

Author: Caroline Clegg - Director
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December 19th 2011
Anya17 Director & Cast: First Read-Through

Anya17’s award-winning Director Caroline Clegg explains her ethos of using the Arts to raise awareness of modern day slavery and the victims of sex trafficking, and why she has chosen to be involved with the opera…

On Monday December 12th I had my first read-through with the cast of Anya17.  Although Anya17 is an opera, it is useful to speak the libretto as text at this stage prior to the singers learning the notes. I feel privileged to be working on this important project and would like to invite every person who reads this blog not only to come to see the performance, but also to join Anti-Slavery International, for only with action will we end slavery.

For the past five years, and intensively for the last two and a half, I have been immersed in the issue of slavery with particular reference to Mende Nazer.  I read her book, Slave six years ago and adapted it into the award winning play Slave – A Question of Freedom with my company Feelgood which has just finished its second tour.  It is the true story of her abduction, rape and slavery in Sudan and the UK.  She was one of the lucky ones and escaped in 2000.  Now she uses her voice to help those who remain voiceless namely the 27 million nameless in slavery today who cannot speak out.

Working on the play has taught me a myriad of things, the most important being that we as artists and story tellers have a paramount responsibility to be strong advocates for the victims and to represent their stories authentically.  Enslavement is the cruelest and most inhuman act one human being can perpetrate on another and the very fact that in the 21st century it is as prevalent today as it was 200 years ago is abhorrent.  In Anya17 we will tell the story honestly, without compromise or neglect for the truth and we invite you all to come and watch, particularly if you are a man.  Let’s not shirk this issue.  Slavery today is predominantly perpetrated by males, particularly in sexual slavery.  And yes, let’s use the word slavery.  Trafficking is just a means of transportation.  People are being bought and sold into slavery.  What else do you call it if someone is forced to work 7 days a weeks, 18 hours a day without pay and they are locked in a house without any means to escape or communicate with the outside world?  People are sold to become domestic slaves in someone’s house, or as part of an unpaid gang to work on building sites, in catering outlets making sandwiches for supermarkets or as drug mules or commonly as prostitutes servicing up to 30 men a day.  Right now there could be someone in your street or town who is enslaved and you would know nothing about it.

A modern slave is de-humanised, brainwashed into non action, because she has been drugged and terrorised into thinking that if she tries to escape not only will she/he be killed but his/her captors will also find their family and kill them too.  Often the enslaved person forced into prostitution is simply known by a number  – hence Anya17 or in Mende’s case ‘abda’ or ‘yebit’ meaning slave and person worthy of no name.  Imagine if your son or daughter, your mum or your sister, being groomed and seduced to go to London for a ‘job’ and you never saw them again!”

Our generation is charged with ending slavery.  William Wilberforce spent 36 years in getting parliament to make it illegal now we have to stop it all together.  The Victorians stamped out a visual transatlantic slave trade; now it is up to us to eradicate the secret and dangerous underground trade in people.

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Author: Ben Kaye - Librettist, Co-founder
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December 6th 2011
Anya17: Exclusive behind the scenes footage

The recent Anya17 auditions at the RNCM were universally of such a high standard that it made the selection process almost impossible. To give you a taste of the range of impressive talent at the RNCM, I thought it worth posting some ‘behind the scenes’ un-edited Documentary footage.

This clip (courtesy of Shilton Photo Film) features one audition for the role of Natalia, whose highly unusual and disturbing aria, almost a ‘Broadway parody’ juxtaposes the contemporary / classical nature of the rest of the Opera. The astoundingly talented Frances Marshfield gave an unforgettable performance which left the panel almost lost for words.

This melodic, upbeat composition is also in shocking contrast with its lyrical content, which relates Natalia’s cruel introduction to the world of  sexual exploitation.

Please note that this performance contains subject matter which some viewers may find disturbing.

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Author: Hayley Chappell - Online Marketer
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December 2nd 2011
Anya17: The Cast

Following the recent auditions for Anya 17 we are pleased to announce the following cast and production team.

THE CAST
Anya                                Andrea Tweedale
Mila                                  Joanne Holton
Natalia/Carole               Lucy Baines
Elena                               Amy Webber
Gabriel/Uri                     Sean Boyes
Viktor                             Thomas Hopkinson

Conductor: Clark Rundell
Director: Caroline Clegg

Première performance in Liverpool on Wednesday 7 March 2012. Further performance at RNCM in Manchester on Friday 9 March 2012.

The audition panel wish to congratulate all who auditioned for the high standard of preparation and presentation.

If you would like more information about the roles in Anya 17, visit our cast page.

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