A unique new art exhibition has opened in Burnham-On-Sea’s Princess Theatre this week featuring the stories of Somerset women.
The Knickerline is part of a music and theatre project which aims to gather the hidden stories and songs of Somerset women and those who identify as women.
Organisers from The Bluebirds Theatre Company say their inspiration comes from underwear drying on a washing line.
“If only pairs of pants could tell a tale, what tale would they tell? We realised that if every woman brought a pair of nicely washed pants along to our workshops and told us a story they associated with them, what an amazing line up of stories we would have,” says a spokeswoman.
Sasha Herriman, Artistic Director, adds: “The Knickerline Project is a year long music and theatre project gathering the stories, songs and artwork of Somerset women with art, and workshops covering writing, quilting and music making.”
“We have two exhibitions – one here in Burnham and the other at the Brewhouse in Taunton – displaying all the artwork we have created. At the end of the year we will write a music theatre show based on the stories we have gathered to be performed here and in Taunton.”
“It’a ‘grassroots up’ process where we take real stories and real lives and put them on stage, celebrating what it is to be a woman. We are not excluding men – some men have taken part in it already – and they are perfectly welcome to come along too.”
Sasha says: “We had this idea that if every woman came into a workshop with a pair of knickers and told a story associated with them what amazing stories they would have to tell. Not always ‘seat of the pants’ to use the pun, or tragic or traumatic, but interesting and unique stories.”
“We have seen a huge range of material – some incredibly sad stories that people are keen to talk about and some issues that are not always talked about featuring the hidden lives of women.”
“We are keen for local people to get involved – give us your words, give us stories and songs.”
The installations of digital media and visual art are on display at the theatre from International Women’s Day through March.
The formal opening evening to mark the start of the exhibition saw a performance by The Unroyal Community Choir, pictured ar the top of the page.
The free-to-view exhibition runs in Burnham’s Princess Theatre until Friday 31st March and can be visited during normal opening hours.
All the stories used will be real but anonymised. “They’ll be happy, sad, run-of-the-mill or seat-of-the-pants and anything in between!” she adds.
This project has been made possible through funding from The Somerset Community Foundation, Somerset Skills and Learning and Somerset West and Taunton.