Emotions on the East Coast with Bare Skin on Briny Waters

Published: Friday 6th October 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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Hull-based new-writing company Bellow Theatre is bringing its first play to Hull Truck this Friday.

Fresh from Edinburgh Fringe Festival, the show will now be performed in Hull UK City of Culture.

We caught up with Maureen Lennon, co-founder of Bellow and co-writer of Bare Skin on Briny Waters, to find out more about this thought-provoking piece.

“It focuses on two young women who have been caught up in something a little unexpected. They are trying to talk their way out of it,” Maureen tells us. “Bare Skin on Briny Waters is all about feeling a little lost; a bit like you’ve lost your voice, particularly as a young woman. It explores the ways that you can find your way back to self-identity.”

The play is linked to the idea of the sea, with the main characters, Annie and Sophie, spending much of the piece stood atop a cliff.

“Both myself and co-writer Tabitha Mortiboy grew up in this area, so the script is very much tied to the northeast coastline,” explains Maureen.

On top of making use of traditional storytelling and contemporary writing, Bare Skin on Briny Waters is underscored by original live folk music, composed by Tabitha especially for the production.

“We like to use live music because we feel that it allows the whole piece to be responsive to the audience. It adds rhythm to the text,” enthuses Maureen. “Also, Tabitha has a beautifully lyrical voice and is a brilliant musician.”

The two characters discuss what it is like to not be able to dictate their own story and the feeling of being caught up in a male narrative. It begs the question of whether Maureen and Tabitha have drawn from personal experience:

“The theme arose from different places. Some of the topics covered came from many chats that me and Charlie, the actress who plays Annie, have had,” Maureen reveals. “Meanwhile, Sophie’s account came from us looking at storytelling in a way that could be empowering to women.”

The three women who run the company have always had an interest in representing a rebellious female perspective: “We’re twisting and turning traditional tales to allow for women to express their experiences and break out of the boundaries set for them. We are keen to make our work relevant to contemporary women’s lives.”

Bellow Theatre has been a Hull Truck Supported Artist for a while, but have never performed at the venue.

“We’re really excited to be bringing this show home to Hull. It’s so strange because although we did a reading of Bare Skin on Briny Waters at Heads Up Festival earlier this year, the piece has not been performed in the city. Yet we’ve taken it to Edinburgh and to the New Diorama Theatre in London as part of the Hull UK City of Culture 2017 Showcase.”

You can catch Bare Skin on Briny Waters on Friday 6 and Saturday 7 October. Tickets are £12.50 and can be purchased from the Hull Truck Theatre website.

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Published: Friday 6th October 2017 by Courtney Farrow

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