Posts Tagged ‘Anti Slavery Day’

Author: Ben Kaye - Librettist, Co-founder
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May 21st 2015
“Riveting Art”

ANYA17 makes the “Best” List of the Bay Area’s Classical Music Scene for 2014.

 

“Anya 17, a modern treatment of sexual slavery and trafficking, was premiered by Opera Parallele last June. This gifted opera company has moved from edgy productions of twentieth century to their second premiere, and it was a humdinger.

 

A multi-layered score by British composer Adam Gorb and a haunting libretto by Ben Kaye took this most uncomfortable subject and turned it into riveting art. Go to anything this company does. Anything!”

 

 

Repeat Performances

Online reviews of events in the San Francisco Bay area and beyond…

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Author: Ben Kaye - Librettist, Co-founder
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December 16th 2013
Together in Legislation…

uk-politics-25389760

All of us who have been involved with Anya17 are very encouraged to learn that the increased public awareness and pressure exerted by so many Anti-Trafficking / Slavery initiatives and organisations in the past years has resulted in proposed legislation to recognise and attempt to address the multiple issues of modern day Slavery in the UK.

 

Anya17 was written to raise awareness of modern day Slavery, and the Sex Trafficking of adults and minors in particular, and perhaps therefore surely we should take some satisfaction in having helped spread the message and raising awareness of these issues?

 

The real truth is that we know many of the NGOs supporting Anya17 have differing opinions and reservations about the proposed legislation as it stands. All of these conviction-driven NGOs are trying to do ‘the right thing’, so understandably many of these indispensable organisations attack the problems from slightly different angles.

 

Many are on ‘the front line’, dealing with victims every day, some are on ‘the front line’ but concentrate their efforts on rescuing children… or on rescuing adults. The greatest strengths of some are in advocacy, awareness, cooperation, legislation or in the prosecution of Traffickers.

 

The real work is therefore just beginning…

 

The important thing we all must recognise is that:

 

WE ARE ALL DOING THIS FOR THE SAME REASON – TO ERADICATE THE TRAFFICKING, EXPLOITATION AND SLAVERY OF HUMAN BEINGS.
The next few months will be a very difficult time – a time in which alliances may be brokered, broken and re-formed, perhaps ultimately to the detriment of less-influential organisations, or more importantly, to the victims.

 

Politics is a slippery, difficult game. I just hope that whatever becomes Law will be for the benefit of ALL victims – past, present and future.

 

LET THERE BE NO POLITICAL  ‘DIVIDE AND CONQUER’


It is far more important to provide a united front in terms of proposed legislation than to allow our different initiatives to fall into dis-unity. If this happens then the Government will be provided with a real opportunity to negotiate with various ‘major’ players and ‘pick and choose’ in terms of the legislation proposed. The Human Trafficking Foundation has provided leadership, a Forum and an ideas-exchange, and I hope that they will be able to pull together our disparate ideas but unified goals into a coherent initiative, against which any opposition to new legislation may not find any defence.

 

Only time will tell… but please let us not waste the time, nor the opportunity. Let’s just make it happen.

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Author: Ben Kaye - Librettist, Co-founder
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November 28th 2013
“I used to be… ‘beautiful Elena from Tulica’”

With the fully-staged world premiere of Anya17 less than 5 hours away, there’s just enough time for me to give you a glimpse of Camila Ribero-Souza, who plays the blinded “Elena”.

“They beat me so hard… I thought I would die. Then, I hoped they wouldn’t stop – I longed for death…”

“I used to be… ‘beautiful Elena from Tulica’, now I’m just ‘The Blind Girl’…”

“At least I don’t have to look anymore at their drunken… sweating… grunting… faces…”

 

Camila Ribero-Souza plays Elena, blinded by her Traffickers

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Author: Ben Kaye - Librettist, Co-founder
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November 16th 2013
The Calm before the Storm

In about a week, I will be heading down to Meiningen Germany to Das Meininger Theater to attend the fully-staged world premiere of Anya17 (and many subsequent performances over the coming months).

When you are in the midst of a long-term project, it can be all too easy to look forward with trepidation and be forced to accept the sudden realisation that you have “so far to go…”

Today (for a change) I decided to take the opposite view and “stopped on the mountainside” to look back and see just how far we had actually come.

From the genus of an idea, the amazing Anya17 team has:

1. Premiered concert performances with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Ensemble 10/10 and The Royal Northern College of Music.

2. Gained extensive coverage to raise awareness of Human Trafficking on the brilliant BBC and with many many others (as far afield as South Korea and Australia).

3. Premiered Anya17 in Romania and received an invitation to take the opera all over Romania by The Ministry of Internal Affairs (in conjunction with The UK-Romania Friendship Foundation and their wonderfully-successful International Human Trafficking Symposium).

4. Secured a USA premiere with Opera Parallele in San Francisco in 2014, and used the opportunity to engage a swathe of Human Rights groups and Media in America.

5. Won the “Best Film or Stage Production Dealing with Human Trafficking” Award at the Anti-Slavery Day Media Awards last year at The House of Commons, promoted by The Human Trafficking Foundation.

6. Gained the official endorsement of thirteen Anti-Trafficking NGOs, many of whom we hope will attend the German premiere.

7. A performance in Feb next year in Wales is currently awaiting confirmation, whilst other potential performances in the UK with the original Cast are at such an early stage that… let’s just wait and see…

Yes, we do have a long way to go.

Sometimes though it’s good to look back and gain confidence and inspiration for the future, from the successes of the past.

I haven’t met any of the Singers or Musicians who will be performing Anya17 in Germany. I haven’t even yet met the Director, the Conductor, the Costume Designer or any of the others.

I did though receive an email from one of the Singers, who is playing the part of “Elena” in Germany. I won’t relate the email because all these thoughts will be appearing on the blog soon.

All I can say is that “the passion lives on…”

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Author: Ben Kaye - Librettist, Co-founder
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October 22nd 2013
Amy Webber’s thoughts on the Romanian premiere of Anya17

Performing Anya 17 in a country where more women and children are trafficked for sex slavery than any other Eastern European country was extremely poignant.

For me, it brought an even deeper level of emotional engagement and the back story of my character became even more detailed. Seeing all the delegates from the Anti Human Trafficking conference and members of numerous trafficking charities in the audience also made the story become deeper. Everyone in that Philharmonic Hall was fighting against the same thing – human trafficking and slavery. This made the whole experience very powerful and the opera more relevant than ever before.

I always cry at the end of my aria in Anya 17 and also at the end of the opera, and this time, I cried even more. When the audience gave a standing ovation and the whole cast, crew and orchestra were taking bows on stage, the applause was saying more than just “what a great performance” but also “let us all continue the fight”. What more thrill could you want as a performer than being involved in something that is an art AND a campaign for change?

Of course, teaming up with a Romanian conductor, orchestra and half a Romanian cast also made the experience more interesting. Their rehearsal techniques and structure is different. And their way of approaching and learning contemporary music is also very different. They were all extremely friendly and really welcomed us to their country and culture.

Overall, it was a fantastic experience for all involved and we really hope we can continue to perform it all over the UK and the world.

Amy Webber plays the part of Elena

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Author: Ben Kaye - Librettist, Co-founder
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October 14th 2013
Three Days to Anya17 in Romania…

Timisoara

Timisoara

With just three days to go now before the Romanian premiere of Anya17 in Timisoara on the eve of Anti-Slavery Day, I am delighted to hear that rehearsals are going very well and that the Director (Caroline Clegg), the Cast and Musicians are all in good spirits.

Whilst I would very much like to be with the Composer Adam Gorb and with you all in Romania, there is much here left to be done, evidenced by this new Guardian report on Human Trafficking going on under our very noses in the UK today.

Good luck (Toi Toi Toi) to all the Anya17 Team in Romania!

 

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Author: Ben Kaye - Librettist, Co-founder
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October 4th 2013
Details of Anya17 in Romania – October 17th 2013

Details of the imminent International Symposium on Human Trafficking in (Romania October 14th to 18th) and the Romanian premiere of Anya17

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Author: Hayley Chappell - Online Marketer
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October 18th 2011
Anti-Slavery Day: Writing for Justice

It’s all go in the Anya17 camp this week (Today is Anti-Slavery Day, we’re nominated for our first ever award from the Human Trafficking Foundation, Ben’s off to Number 10 and our brilliant T-Shirts have just launched). As the brand new online media manager, there’s nothing quite like being thrown in at the deep end!

I’m Hayley and barely two weeks ago I picked up the phone and spoke to Anna for the first time about the possibility of volunteering for Anya17 as their online media manager. A few days later and I found myself on the end of a phone to Ben, discussing ideas for this blog and our Twitter feed – and I hadn’t even agreed to volunteer at that point!

A country-loving southern living up in the industrial north of England, I found out about Anya17 through Sheffield based charity City Hearts, who work with victims of human trafficking to rehabilitate them and, where possible, reunite them with their families in their home countries. Through City Hearts, I’ve met women who have been trafficked to the UK to work in the sex industry. The thing that struck me most about them was this; they could be anyone. They could be me. They could be you. They have mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, friends and boyfriends. They are girls who, at one time or another, found themselves in what ended up being the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong people. (At this point I feel I should interject that both men and women can be victims of trafficking – the statistics are quite shocking – but the focus of Anya17 is that of the stories of the women trafficked for sex).

Speaking to Ben over the phone I could tell he was hugely passionate about giving these faceless, voiceless young women a platform to make their voice and their stories heard. What comes across – and I’m sure it’s more obvious in person – is his belief that even doing something, no matter how small, can make a difference.  And that’s ultimately why I agreed to be Anya17’s online media manager. Using my ability to blog, my unhealthy addiction to social media, and my journalist head to help raise a voice for these people and in some way, make a difference.

Over the next few months I hope we’ll build a large online following both interested in the opera and in raising awareness and fighting against this incredible injustice. I’m excited to see a more “traditional” art form, the opera, catapult a serious modern-day world issue into the public psyche and to the fore of the political arena.

Anya17, in my mind, is a story with many sides, told by many people. And this blog is where you’ll see them unfold.

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Author: Ben Kaye - Librettist, Co-founder
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September 25th 2011
Second Documentary Confirmed

Directly inspired by the Anya17 project, a recent call from the BBC confirmed that they have decided to start filming a short Documentary on Human Trafficking in the UK.

Spearheaded by the much-respected Simon Clemison, the Documentary will form part of the BBC’s ‘Inside Out’ series, and although predominately focussing on the South West (where I’m based) it is hoped that the magnitude of the subject will ensure BBC broadcasts in many other regions.

I am absolutely delighted that Anya17 has stimulated this interest, and despite the fact that ‘Anya’ is unlikely to feature much in the film, Anya’s true purpose will be well served.

Many thanks to Simon and all at the Beeb for their continued support!

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