POIGNANT PLAY- Denise Wong and Aaron Krogman starred in the world premiere of She Has A Name this past spring. The play

Local author taking acclaimed play on the road

A fundraising campaign is underway to support North American tour

A fundraising campaign has been launched to see a local playwright’s critically acclaimed play about human trafficking tour North America.

Burnt Thicket Theatre and Raise Their Voice Against Injustice are planning to take Andrew Kooman’s poignant work She Has A Name on the road next year.

The IndieGoGo campaign for the ‘She Has A Name Tour’ aims to raise $10,000 this summer through social networking. The goal is to secure the actors who will perform some 80 shows in 13 cities across Canada and the United States.

The play premiered in Calgary and Red Deer earlier this year to critical acclaim and sold-out runs.

The story follows Canadian investigator (Jason) who poses as a john to build a case against a brothel trafficking girls into Bangkok. He must win the trust of a young girl forced to work as a prostitute who is known as ‘Number 18’ and convince her to risk her life to testify for the sake of justice.

“Preparing to bring the play on tour feels a lot like what it was to premiere the play this year, only on a much larger scale,” explains Kooman.

“There’s a lot more to plan for and we need to raise more funds. The motive is the same, though. We want to bring powerful theatre to audiences and tell a compelling story that raises awareness about human trafficking.”

Burnt Thicket and Raise Their Voice plan to stage the show for audiences across Canada and in cities in the U.S. including Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, San Francisco, Denver, Chicago, Grand Rapids and New York.

“The feedback from the world premiere has inspired us to take the show on the road so thousands more people can experience the story.”

Winner of the Scripts At Work/Alberta Playwright Network Award in 2009, She Has A Name provides profound insight into human trafficking in southeast Asia.

“Theatre, like addressing justice, is personal: both involve very human and personal responses,” says Kooman. “What better way than to use social media to ask individuals who experienced the play to be part of making the tour a reality.

“The campaign invites people who saw the play and their networks to give small financial donations and offers perks for giving in return. The play has proven to be an effective tool to discuss the realities of trafficking, an issue that is getting greater and greater media exposure.”

Kooman said She Has a Name is based on an incident in Thailand where a storage container transporting more than 100 people ran out of gas and was simply abandoned. Ultimately about 50 people lost their lives. That tragedy was a kind of a trigger for the plot.

“The whole purpose of writing the play was to imagine one life – one girl – caught up in the sex trade. It’s been amazing to see that this play can be used as a catalyst to get people engaged in the issue of human trafficking. And that’s what we really want to do through this tour – to bring this story to thousands more people across North America.”

Supporters say the play is an eye-opening experience to the reality of millions who live in such horrific conditions.

“This play brings the nameless victims of trafficking into our western world and makes them all too close and real to ever forget,” said Mark Wollenberg, the Western Canadian representative of International Justice Mission Canada, an agency that works overseas to secure justice for victims of trafficking.

Beyond the IndieGoGo fundraising campaign Burnt Thicket and Raise Their Voice will unveil a multi-faceted approach that includes corporate sponsorship, private donations, gifts in kind and special events to raise the projected $400,000 it will take to bring the production to 13 North America cities from May to October of 2012.

Kooman regularly travels internationally to write and partners with non-profit organizations to teach on writing, creativity and identity. He has a gift for showing the harsh realities many in the world face while pointing readers to practical ways they can help make a difference.

Earlier this year, a book was released featuring stories by Kooman chronicling the plight of migrants and refugees in Malaysia. He wrote 26 pieces for Disappointed by Hope: 30 Days of Prayer. Although the stories are fictionalized for confidentiality reasons, they are based on actual accounts, case studies and interviews of refugees.

Click on the following link to learn more about the IndieGoGo Fundraising Campaign for the ‘She Has A Name 2012 Tour’.

“There is nothing more dangerous to the perpetrators of injustice than people who believe in their hearts that it must stop and who act upon that belief,” says Kooman of what helps fuel his passion to move forward with the production. “So I guess I’m motivated to engage people personally and be engaged personally to that end.”

Check out www.andrewkooman.com and www.indiegogo.com/She-Has-a-Name-2012-Tour.


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