Renowned artist Edwina Bridgeman has offered The Lyric an exquisitely hand crafted, unique Nativity scene installation to own, and be displayed in The Lyric’s foyer this December.
We are looking to raise £1190 towards the cost of the Nativity scene after which time it will belong to The Lyric for the community to enjoy for years to come.
Edwina, a professional theatre set designer and artist, is keen for it to be at The Lyric so is very generously gifting two thirds of her time. The money we raise will go towards the remainder of her artist's fee plus 100 peg doll kits so that local children can participate creatively, adding to the installation.
This is an opportunity to give to make something wonderful happen for our community.
Edwina says, “I think the work is perfect for The Lyric, it is made to be explored, celebrates universal creativity and is for all of us. The Nativity scene is created from found objects, many of them found on the beach nearby. Setting the Nativity in the beautiful Lyric Theatre coupled with Bridport’s proximity to the sea feels so right for this unique interpretation of the Christmas story.”
In this most unusual year, many of our usual traditions leading up to Christmas, involving spending time with loved ones, will be put on hold or adapted to accommodate the times we’re in. As a theatre we have not yet been able to re-open to the public for performances or workshops, and December is one of our favourite times of year to present work for families. While we still cannot do that, we would love to spread joy in this way instead.
This Nativity scene, which will be installed in the foyer of The Lyric with the front doors open for passers by to enjoy safely, aims to bring joy to our community at this time, to stop and take in the scene, and to enjoy either on your own or with loved ones.
Whether you practice a faith or not, there is hope and peace to be taken from this scene of birth, new life and humility, and Edwina’s incredibly delicate creations cannot help but enchant onlookers. The scene may also bring to mind the African proverb “it takes a village to raise a child”, echoing the importance of community.
It is our intention that the Nativity scene, while housed at The Lyric, will be a beautiful community resource for schools or community groups to borrow in the years to come, to display in their setting whilst perhaps raising funds for themselves or their charity of choice.
As community engagement is core to Edwina’s work, this installation invites children to add to the Nativity scene, making it an ever-changing artwork. If we reach our target amount we will be able to provide 100 free peg doll kits, for children to take away and spend time making simple peg dolls at home with their families, then bring in and add to the scene. We would also like to create an online photo gallery of all the peg dolls created.
The Nativity scene would be open from Wednesday 9th December up until Christmas Eve, with the front doors open for viewing daily on weekday afternoons, with later viewings on Friday evenings to be enjoyed in darkness with the Nativity scene illuminated. It will be moved to the café area during the two Saturday markets during December. The Nativity Scene will be stewarded by our wonderful team of volunteers, welcoming onlookers and handing out peg doll kits to children if they want to make one at home and add it to the scene.
Edwina explains of her process: “I use found materials to make narrative work, drawing inspiration from all around to tell our stories. I am interested in the poetry of the everyday. The materials that I use reflect this, often overlooked and discarded themselves I am able to bring their stories to my own, inviting the audience to look again at the familiar and ordinary presented in an unexpected way. Figures have painted faces which have a fresco like quality, they represent all of us. No one is overlooked or undervalued. I am always mindful to reflect the diversity of our communities. My choice of materials generates a feeling that anything may be possible. The work has been described as life enhancing and of having a profound sense of optimism and joy. It has a spiritual aspect which celebrate our times and our humanity.
The Nativity is a story that we can engage with on many levels. It is a subject that I have returned to many times throughout my career. It has been interpreted widely in many cultures. My own work has been inspired by the Romanesque carving on the Angel Gabriel waking the Magi to Geertgen tot Sint Jans’ 1465 painting The Nativity at Night. Ultimately I am inspired by the many homemade Nativities that I have seen over the years which celebrate our collective creativity and the power of the handmade. I see my Nativity as a way of celebrating this.”
Let’s spread some joy in our community this December and end this year on a happy note. Please donate if you are able to, and spread the word to anyone who may be interested, to see this beautiful Nativity scene come to fruition, and to bring Christmas cheer to others.
About the artist, Edwina Bridgeman:
For the past 20 years Edwina has been making work for exhibition both nationally and internationally. Her work is playful, using everyday materials to create scenes and whole environments. Her work is accessible although there is always room for the audience to interpret the spaces for themselves. At the heart of Edwina's work is a sense of optimism; her use of colour and materials reflect this. She works widely in the community; her sense of playfulness and accessibility extends to the work she makes with all ages from babies through to Elders living with dementia. Edwina runs projects with an open agenda following the interests of the participants in a welcoming, non-judgemental way. She sees her own work as a reflection of her work with various groups and settings. Her visual arts practice and work as artist / facilitator / set designer are entwined, each celebrating the other.
Friends of the Lyric Theatre is a Community Interest Company (CIC).