An animation depicting the story of Anna Sewell and Black Beauty, voiced by Dame Joanna Lumley, launched at the weekend. Nicola Knight, Head of Communications and Campaigns at Redwings, explains how it is part of a project which will directly benefit the largest horse welfare charity in the UK
On Saturday we launched an animation all about the life of Anna Sewell, the author of Black Beauty. We hope by creating this animation we can shed light on Anna’s incredible story which is almost as extraordinary as that of the horse she created. Despite being Norfolk’s most successful ever novelist with a book that’s sold over 50 million copies and has never been out of print, she is often overlooked both locally and nationally, so we felt it was time to put that right!
The animation has very much been a Norfolk project too. It was created by Meantime Media, a superbly talented bunch based in Norwich, in a collaboration between Redwings and the UEA with funding from the arts and humanities council.
We are absolutely thrilled to say that it was voiced by the one and only Dame Joanna Lumley. We knew we wanted a female voice and knowing Dame Joanna’s voice would be absolutely perfect I decided to drop a line to her agent and try my luck! I nearly fell off my chair when she not only offered to do it but wouldn’t take a single penny from us for the privilege. According to the Meantime team she arrived at the studio, waved aside any direction, and just said ‘Don’t worry, I’ve got this darlings’ and then recorded the most perfect audio ever. I couldn’t have asked for more.
The animation has come out of a wider project with the UEA which started with a special new fundraising edition of Black Beauty which we launched on Friday night on the anniversary of its original publication date. The book has a foreword by Dame Jacqueline Wilson and an afterword from Professor Thomas Ruys Smith from the UEA and although the book has had an amazing impact for horses globally, we believe it’s the first ever edition to directly benefit horse welfare as half the proceeds raised go directly to Redwings. People can support us by buying a copy of the book (available on our website or from all good online retailers) or by sharing the film far and wide!
Redwings is entirely funded by public donations and currently cares for more than 1500 rescued horses and ponies. Visit our website to find other ways to help us and for more information about the Anna Sewell project which includes ways you can visit her birthplace in Great Yarmouth of which we are now the proud guardians!
To watch the animation, head to Redwings Horse Sanctuary. To find out more about the book, visit Black Beauty by Anna Sewell (Redwings Horse Sanctuary Edition) on ueapublishingproject.com to find out more about the animation, follow @meantimemedia on Instagram.
Featured image of Dame Joanna Lumley, recording the Anna Sewell animation voiceover (picture credit: Meantime Media)
All images supplied by Redwings