Play on, says Taylor in Swift rescue
POP star Taylor Swift has leapt to the aid of a Sydney theatre company suffering an "artistic emergency" by giving the cast of 70-somethings permission to dance to her chart-topper Shake It Off.
Sydney's Belvoir Theatre had taken to Twitter with the hashtag #greygrey4taytay to appeal to the American singer for permission to use the song in a play that opened last night.
"I'm facing an artistic emergency I hope you can help with," theatre director Anne-Louise Sarks tweeted to the singer on Tuesday morning.
She was referring to the play Seventeen, about 17-year-olds on their last night of high school but played by actors in their 70s.
In the production's show-stopper scene, the cast dance to Shake It Off - and they had learnt all the words to the song - but at the last minute they had been denied permission to use it, reportedly by the song's publishers.
"Is there anything at all you can do?!!" Sarks pleaded.
She also sought the help of other famous Australians, such as actors Russell Crowe and Hugh Jackman, as well as former arts minister Tony Burke.
The response was quick, with Swift giving the green light via Twitter with a smiley face at the end: "Permission granted. Good luck with your opening night."
Swift is a global superstar with more than 61.5 million followers on Twitter, but her work was largely unknown to the cast of Seventeen until they began rehearsing for the play, which had been written specifically for them.
"These actors weren't, until these rehearsals, familiar with Taylor Swift - or much pop music - so we introduced them to this track, they learnt all the words - it was kind of a big process," Sarks told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
"So it was quite a big deal to get denied those rights at the last minute." She later said on Twitter that Taylor's support for artists was "a thing to behold".
According to the Guardian, Belvoir chose Shake It Off as it wanted "a really iconic pop track that speaks to 2015" for Seventeen.
"It feels like 17-year-olds dancing at a party but obviously we've spent a lot of time rehearsing," Sarks said.
She added that it was common for theatre companies to rehearse with a song while awaiting the approval of its performance rights, as approval times vary.
Belvoir also said it had gone through the proper channels for its application.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, THE STRAITS TIMES