Sex Workers’ Opera opens in Hackney

08:51 29 May 2014

The cast of The Sex Workers

The cast of The Sex Workers' Opera

Archant

Street corner prostitutes, high class escorts, web cam workers and porn stars have all helped write an opera which some of them will perform in Hackney tonight.

The Sex Workers’ Opera, which will be staged at The Courtyard Theatre, has been devised through a series of community workshops backed by the Royal Opera House.

At least half of the opera’s performers are sex workers but to ensure anonymity for all those who do not want to be “outed” in the media, the whole cast has promised not to keep schtum over whether they’re employed in the industry or not.

Those who don’t wish to be identified will use disguises, such as masks.

Co-director Siobhan Knox said there had been many depictions of sex workers in art and the media, but they rarely came from the perspective of the workers themselves.

“It’s not the first time an opera has been about a sex worker, but they tend to be one-sided, moralising tales, usually with the sex worker dying in the end,” she said.

“In the media we only hear about the happy hookers, the glam sex workers who are very happy with their job or the poor trafficked worker who’s been forced into doing the job.

“What we are interested in exposing to the general public are all the shades in between and those for whom it is just a job which can provide a flexible income.”

Along with co-director Alex Etchart, Ms Knox put a global call-out for stories, and has included tales from Argentina, Chile, Taiwan and the US along with those sent in from the UK.

Mr Etchart said: “We can’t say there’s one fundamental experience of sex work, but there’s a common theme that it’s misrepresented in the media, and how they want to change that presentation, and not have to hide it from family and friends.

“People are starting to see beyond the black and white, and hopefully sex work might be recognised as an actual valid form of work.

“The monetisation of our sexuality is allowed in mainstream media through music videos, but suddenly the moment there’s a client and worker it suddenly becomes taboo.”

The show will be staged at the theatre in Pitfield Street at 8pm tonight. Tickets cost £15 or £10 for concessions. For more information visit sexworkersopera.com.

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

More Quirky London

Friday, February 27, 2015
There are a number of owls set to be on hand to swoop in while you sip on a cocktail

The charity which was set to receive donations from Annie the Owl has backed away from the owl cafe and called the plans for a pop-up bar ‘abusive’.

Friday, February 27, 2015
Red or brown sauce? Bread or bap? White or brown?

It’s the subject of countless greasy spoon arguments: should the perfect bacon sandwich be made with brown sauce or ketchup?

Thursday, February 26, 2015
The couple 'having sex' on Charlton's pitch

A Vine video of a couple appearing to have sex on the pitch of Charlton Athletic football club’s pitch has gone viral.

Thursday, February 26, 2015
The bizarre artefacts were being handed out at London Bridge (Picture: Imgur/DocJawbone)

Commuters at London Bridge were left perplexed when instead of being handed their usual free paper they were given an intricately hand-drawn copy of the Guardian from four years ago.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015
Shaunna Baynes broke her nose and injured her hip in the fall

An Elvis fan who allegedly tripped over an air steward sprawled across the business class aisle of a flight has received £2,000 in compensation – from her own lawyer.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015
We wouldn't want to be faced with a giant version of this on the way to work [Photograph by Sean Gallup/Getty Images]

We know train stations can be germ-ridden places, especially when they’re full of commuters in flu season, but Waterloo actually has a giant petri dish of bacteria in it.

Latest Stories from SNAP.PA

Among the charitable causes the prince hopes to champion are wildlife conservation and justice for injured service personnel.

Read more

Although Farage may not have mentioned the fascist pre-conference entertainment, his speech showed he’s very aware of his party’s image.

Read more

Leonard Nimoy is currently dominating six of the top trend slots on Twitter. His fans, friends and co-stars should be proud.

Read more

Promoted content

A look at one of our previous Design Fairs

Chelsea Old Town Hall will be the venue for the renowned Desire Fair from 6-8 March 2015. This stunning mixed media jewellery and silversmithing event where visitors can purchase direct from contemporary designer makers selected from the best in the UK is an event not to be missed.

Take our quiz and find out!

A survey conducted last year revealed that Britain is the fourth sexiest country in the world, with the UK sex toy industry worth an estimated £250 million a year.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Among the charitable causes the prince hopes to champion are wildlife conservation and justice for injured service personnel.

Although Farage may not have mentioned the fascist pre-conference entertainment, his speech showed he’s very aware of his party’s image.

Leonard Nimoy is currently dominating six of the top trend slots on Twitter. His fans, friends and co-stars should be proud.

Quirky London