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A show created & performed by Sex Workers & Friends locally & globally, breaking stigma & stereotypes through theatre, dance & song.
A show created & performed by Sex Workers & Friends locally & globally, breaking stigma & stereotypes through theatre, dance & song.
300 backers pledged £11,166 to help bring this project to life.

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Sex Workers' Opera - Bigger, Braver & Badder.

£11,166

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Breaking through stigma and stereotypes, Sex Workers’ Opera is a unique multimedia theatre production written and performed by sex workers and their friends.

With music spanning opera to ‘hip-hopera’, incorporating sound art, projections and poetry, it offers an unflinchingly honest, upliftingly human insight into the lives of sex workers around the world. 

We’re asking you to support a bigger, braver, badder run of our show at The Pleasance theatre, London in May 2016 (click here to see) putting on a production that is inclusive, grassroots and paying our performers fairly.

Two years ago a group of sex workers and friends gathered in East London. Most of us had never met each other before, and some of us had never sung on stage before, performed to an audience or made music. All we knew was:

1. We were at least 50% sex workers with all allies vouched for by a sex worker

2. We were working with our own stories and the many anonymous sex work stories sent to us from all over the world. 

Just two (fairly sleepless) nights later we were all on stage, performing, singing and dancing in an Opera that we had all co-written and created in those 48 hours - to a packed audience with queues for returns at the door.

Watch the 20 minute documentary about the show by Manu Valcarce

Now after lots of development, international press coverage, a sold out run at Arcola in January 2015, and exactly two years since our first ever show, Sex Workers’ Opera is BACK!

“You say that sex is all you see, well I think you see me in 2D 
because the actual reality is a mosaic blur – a tapestry.”

To make this opera Bigger, Bolder & Badder than ever we are rehearsing with the cast and mini-orchestra for two whole weeks, developing the show artistically and politically and putting out a fresh call out for anonymous stories from around the world.

Sex Workers' Opera is on for 2 weeks at The Pleasance theatre, Islington from 17th of May - 29th May at 7.30pm (Sundays at 5pm, no show Monday 23rd, 2pm Gala Matinée + Q&A Saturday 28th) Tickets on sale now!

A preview of 'The Domme Song' studio recording of the Jazz Anthem from the show - available as a reward for all backers £3 and up!

We are committed to taking this show as far as possible, to keep amplifying Sex Workers' voices in the public narrative on our own terms and in our own words. To challenge the damaging, lazy, stigma reinforcing Sex Work narratives that dominate the media. To prove inclusive grassroots art can be skilful and compelling. To put on an amazing show for our friends, supporters and community.

Paying our 18 person cast and crew for a month of their time, Press/PR and production costs (rehearsal space, set design, costumes, props, lighting, box office split), all rack up - our show has a West End sized cast and mini orchestra at accessible fringe theatre ticket prices.

Watch the 7 minute 'Making Of' documentary by Anna Wistreich

Did you enjoy the show? Are you coming to see it again? Do you think it sounds interesting? Are you curious? Don’t know what to make of it? Do you think personal, vulnerable, powerful political art is important?

Then please support us in whatever way you can. The most important way is to donate to us!  Whether or not you can give at this time, please spread the message, spread this page, tell your friends, ask people personally to donate and help!

See our collection of over 50 true sex work stories from 17 countries online:

Ask people to blog about us, ask people to write articles on us. Spread our stories, because our stories need and deserve to be heard.

We don’t need you to save us - we need you to amplify our voice!

Read our extensive press coverage here.

"We send congratulations from Argentina, we are overjoyed at what you have created. Thanks for letting us contribute" - RedTraSex (Network of Latin American Sex Worker-led projects)

"We believe the Sex Workers’ Opera is grassroots, empowering and needs as much support as it can get to reach as far and wide as possible. It offers Sex Workers opportunities to develop new skills and the validation of being heard in their own terms, and audiences opportunities to develop a more three dimensional understanding of Sex Work whilst being entertained."     - Sex Worker Open University

"Put aside your gallantry its time for a new strategy stop sadly singing my elegy radical notion: listen to me." - Anon. Sex Worker

To make this show reach the next stage we need you!
Siobhan Knox & Alex Etchart
Co-Producers
XX - Experimental Experience

Our official 2016 image 'Rosalind' by Photographer and cast member Vera Rodriguez, available as a reward as a photo quality print signed by the photographer:

'Rosalind' photo by our very own Vera Rodriguez • highheelclick.org
'Rosalind' photo by our very own Vera Rodriguez • highheelclick.org

Risks and challenges

We crowdfunded our first show with great success and have sold out every show since, often with queues at the door for returns. However as we have a West End sized cast with a mini orchestra, and are charging fringe theatre ticket prices, we have not been able to pay ourselves or our group for the work to date.

That's why we're crowdfunding again, to take the project to the next level, pay our members fairly for a months work, boost the show's exposure and keep our ticket prices accessible.

To protect members' identities we involve allies so that being involved does not automatically out members as a worker, should this be a risk for their employment or family relations.

We have spent the last two years of the project managing budgets to make sure everyone's expenses are covered. From crowdfunding last time we know about all the hidden costs, and we have factored in extra space in all our estimates to ensure we're able to keep our promises.

Our members are mothers, carers, workers. One of our main reasons for crowdfunding is to ensure they will be paid no matter the ticket sales. That way childcare costs, rent, living doesn't impair any of our members from taking part.

We have raised over £5,000 in loans in order to get the project off the ground running, flyering as early on as possible, designing the set and involving new international voices through audio story commissions and skype conversations.

The more you, your friends and your family give, the more time we have to focus on art-making, involving more world voices and training our cast to face their biggest audience and longest run to date!

We have utmost faith in our group as together we have defied the greatest odds, put on amazing shows with almost no funding, serious time constraints, and rehearsal spaces cancelling on us last minute. Now we're asking for the space and peace of mind for our cult-classic-in-the-making to grow great.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £1 or more About US$ 1.26

    TWEET OF LOVE
    A tweet shout out from our @sexworkersopera twitter account! Send us your twitter handle and we will send you our love.

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    Pledge £3 or more About US$ 4

    "DOMME SONG" DOWNLOAD
    A tweet of love and a DOWNLOAD of our first professionally recorded song from the show - "Domme Song". You lucky people will be the first to hear it as it's as yet unreleased! Release date April 10th.

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    Pledge £5 or more About $6

    POSTER SIGNED BY DIRECTORS
    Our beautiful new Sex Workers' Opera A3 poster signed by the directors! PLUS the "Domme Song" download and a tweet of love.

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    29 backers
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    Pledge £10 or more About $13

    STORY BOOKLET
    A booklet of Sex Work stories collected from all around the world. Listen to us in our own words.
    PLUS the "Domme Song" Download and a Tweet of Love.

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge £15 or more About $19

    MUG
    A fun and cheeky Sex Workers' Opera Mug. Perfect for serving your Granny a cup of tea and using it as an excuse to break into song/educating her on Sex Workers' rights. PLUS the Story Booklet, the "Domme Song" Download and a Tweet of Love.

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    Pledge £20 or more About $25

    PERSONAL POLAROID
    A polaroid of the cast backstage just before going on to perform our first show... capture the nerves and excitement and hold it for ever!
    PLUS the Story Booklet, the "Domme Song" Download and a Tweet of Love.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge £25 or more About $31

    T-SHIRT
    A Sex Workers' Opera T-shirt to wear proudly. Whether to shock your colleagues or as secret saucy PJs. PLUS the Story Booklet, the "Domme Song" Download and a Tweet of Love. Specify your UK size while ordering.

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    32 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge £25 or more About $31

    The story booklet, a tweet of love, the Domme Song Download - AND TWO tickets to the next Klub Fukk at The Hoist, Friday April 29th 8pm.

    Klub Fukk is a playspace open for all Queer Women, Non Binary and Trans*.
    It is built on Community, Respect, Communication and Consent! :) Provided by amazing Wotever World.

    https://www.facebook.com/events/1701876670100706/?active_tab=highlights

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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge £25 or more About $31

    The story booklet, a tweet of love, the Domme Song Download - AND TWO tickets to the JUNE Klub Fukk at Friday June 17th 10pm-3am.

    Klub Fukk is a playspace open for all Queer Women, Non Binary and Trans*.
    It is built on Community, Respect, Communication and Consent! :) Provided by amazing Wotever World.

    https://www.facebook.com/events/1701876670100706/

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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge £25 or more About $31

    A tweet of love, a story booklet, a copy of the "Domme Song" and TWO tickets to "Queer Experiments: Cine Erotica 03" an evening with Queer Feminist Porn screened. At the Horse Hospital. What Do We Watch? Who Do It?
    Sexy Bits from the past and exciting New Powerful Feminist Porn.
    With more films on show, picked up from Berlin Porn film festival and various queer porn film makers. Provided by amazing Wotever World. https://www.facebook.com/events/993746710705322/

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  11. Select this reward

    Pledge £30 or more About $38

    ORIGINAL 2014 POSTER SIGNED BY THE CAST
    a LIMITED EDITION vintage copy of the original 2014 poster for nostalgia freshly signed for you by the entire cast.
    PLUS the Story Booklet, the "Domme Song" Download and a Tweet of Love.

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  12. Select this reward

    Pledge £40 or more About $50

    FRONT ROW SEAT AT GALA MATINÉE
    on 28th May 2pm featuring a Q&A plus preview of our work to come. Feel the V.I.P treatment, relax with a free drink, you are very likely to have audience interaction from our beautiful cast. PLUS the Story Booklet, the "Domme Song" Download and a Tweet of Love.

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    Limited 9 backers
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  13. Select this reward

    Pledge £40 or more About $50

    SKYPE THE DIRECTORS
    A 15 minute skype session with Co-Directors Siobhan Knox and Alex Etchart to ask them about the project, their wider work, and whatever tickles your fancy.
    PLUS the Story Booklet, the "Domme Song" Download and a Tweet of Love.

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  14. Select this reward

    Pledge £50 or more About $63

    PHOTO QUALITY PRINT OF "ROSALIND"
    The official Sex Workers' Opera photo quality print signed by the photographer Vera Rodriguez. PLUS the Story Booklet, the "Domme Song" Download and a Tweet of Love.

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  15. Select this reward

    Pledge £50 or more About US$ 63

    Give for the love of giving! Knowing you are supporting grassroots quality art to grow stronger each day... Your name alongside all those who donated to our first crowdfund on the website if you so wish :-)

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  16. Select this reward

    Pledge £60 or more About $75

    ***SWAG BUNDLE***
    The Shirt, The Polaroid, The Mug, The Booklet, The Poster, the Download, a tweet
    ***PLUS exclusive access to our team snapchat to receive exclusive update photos and videos during our rehearsals and from backstage.

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    4 backers
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    Pledge £80 or more About $100

    ***ÜBERFAN BUNDLE***
    A Front Row Seat at the Gala Matinée
    The Shirt, The Polaroid, The Mug, The Booklet, The Poster, the Download, a tweet
    ***PLUS exclusive access to our team snapchat to receive exclusive update photos and videos during our rehearsals and from backstage.

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    Reward no longer available 5 backers
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  18. Select this reward

    Pledge £80 or more About $100

    SKYPE THE CAST
    A 15 minute skype session with the whole cast during the rehearsal process to ask them about their experience so far, how the show is developing and whatever tickles your fancy. We'll blow you a full team personal thank you kiss.
    PLUS the Story Booklet, the "Domme Song" Download and a Tweet of Love.

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    0 backers
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  19. Select this reward

    Pledge £100 or more About $125

    ***ART ATTACK BUNDLE***
    The Photo Quality Print, The Original Show Poster, The Shirt, The Polaroid, The Mug, The Booklet, The New Poster, the Download, a Tweet of Love.
    ***PLUS exclusive access to our team snapchat to receive exclusive update photos and videos during our rehearsals and from backstage.

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    Limited 1 backer
    £
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  20. Select this reward

    Pledge £150 or more About $188

    AFTERNOON XX WORKSHOP
    A 3 hour introduction workshop with XX for your company or your friends. Themes include creative action, inner-child reconnection, theatre/songwriting, group bonding and much much more. Check our website for more ideas. (UK Only, travel not included)

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  21. Select this reward

    Pledge £250 or more About US$ 315

    DAY LONG XX WORKSHOP
    A day long (8hr inc. breaks) workshop with Experimental Experience (XX) for your company or your friends. Themes include creative action, inner-child reconnection, theatre/songwriting, group bonding and much much more. Check our website for more ideas. (UK Only, travel not included)

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    2 backers
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  22. Select this reward

    Pledge £500 or more About US$ 629

    FRONT ROW GALA + MEET THE CAST!
    A front row ticket to the Gala matinée plus meet the cast backstage after our Gala performance plus an Executive Producer credit on the website with yours or your company logo and a link to your website.
    PLUS our snapchat throughout rehearsals and performances.

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    Limited 4 backers
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  23. Select this reward

    Pledge £5,000 or more About $6,254

    LIVE OPERA IN YOUR LIVING ROOM
    A guerrilla Opera in your living room/hall/mansion/attic for you and your friends. Live it upfront and personal and meet the cast afterwards. Travel included. UK Only

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Funding period

- (35 days)