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

Thursday, March 26, 2015
Russell Brand is opening his Trew Era Cafe in Hoxton (Neil Jones)

Russell Brand will open his Trew Era Cafe on the New Era estate in Hoxton, east London today.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015
3D walkthrouh of the Mail Rail - ScanLab

A lost rail network which ran silently under London for centuries could become a virtual world at a new museum.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015
Inside the Metropolitan Police's hidden Crime Museum at New Scotland Yard © Museum of London

For the first time ever, ordinary people will be able to see gruesome artefacts from the Metropolitan Police’s crime museum – normally only open to police officers and special invited guests.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Frances Bacon has been banned from drinking in the pub which her family owns (Pic: Twitter/Dan Northcote-Smith

A pig which head-butted the customers of the pub it lived in has been served with a booze ban, landlords have said.

Friday, March 20, 2015
A man dressed as 'The Stig' delivering a petition (Picture: Lauren Hurley/PA Wire)

There was pandemonium in central London this morning as a man dressed as the Stig drove up to the BBC in a tank to deliver a petition demanding Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson be reinstated.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015
Samsam Bubbleman is the world's 'most famous bubbleologist' (Pic: Samsam Bubbleman)

The world’s most famous bubbleologist Samsam Bubbleman is attempting to break the Guinness World Record for the largest free-floating bubble near the London Eye this morning.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...