Belvoir Theatre’s Swift Music Win For ‘Seventeen’

Belvoir 2
  • Article by Amy Bradney-George
  • August 07, 2015 at 8:02 AM

In the final days before opening the new show Seventeen, Sydney’s Belvoir Theatre hit a major block. Permission to use Taylor Swift’s song “Shake It Off” was rejected by a music publisher.

Instead of accepting this lying down, director Anne-Louise Sarks and others in the production team turned to social media to appeal to Swift, artists to artists. Using the hashtag #greygrey4taytay, the theatre troupe sent tweets out to Swift as well as other prominent artists that they thought could help, such as Russel Crowe, Hugh Jackman, Yael Stone and Tim Minchin.

In a tweet to Swift and co, Sarks explained their situation: “The story is: we have a big show opening tomorrow night. Seventeen, at Belvoir St. 70-year-old Aussie theatre royalty playing 17-year-olds on their last day of school. Partying. Dancing. It’s all ready to go,” she writes.

“Their big scene: dancing to Shake It Off. They know the moves, and all the words. Then at the very last minute we were told we’d been denied the rights. EMERGENCY. So anything anyone can do to help us reach Taylor would be HUGELY appreciated.”

The reply from Swift came just in time, the afternoon before Seventeen was set to open:

Swift’s simple Tweet of support shows how valuable social media has become not only as a way for people to connect, but as a medium for artists to share work, collaborate and support each other.

Perhaps even more telling is the fact that many other artists heard about Belvoir’s appeal and offered up their own music, including Gotye, Illyal and Boy and Bear. Musicians Megan Washington and Steve Toulmin were also working on a new song for the production just in case permission wasn’t granted.

The success of Belvoir’s appeal has received widespread praise and enthusiasm, as well as coverage around the world. And, as Entertainment Tonight wrote in its report on the story, now everyone wants to see “a recording of that “Shake It Off” dance number”.

Seventeen plays at Belvoir St from 1st August to the 13th September 2015, with performance details and bookings available through the theatre company’s website.

Images: Production shot for Seventeen, source: Anne-Louise Sarks on Twitter; Taylor Swift’s reply, source: Taylor Swift on Twitter.

Belvoir Taylor Swift Tweet
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