Knickers to frowning at Rosemary’s gigs

COMEDY: Rosemary Hawthorne, The Knicker Lady

COMEDY: Rosemary Hawthorne, The Knicker Lady

First published in Stage Bridport and Lyme Regis News: Photograph of the Author by

A BIT of British seaside humour is coming to a beachside theatre.

Rosemary Hawthorne, also known as the Knicker Lady, is bringing her bawdy brand of educational fun to Weymouth Pavilion on Friday.

Rosemary, who used to live in Weymouth, will take the audience on a journey through social history using underpinnings as props.

Fashion historian Rosemary now calls Tetbury home.

She said: “I’ve been doing the show for four or five years and it’s undergone some very different transitions.

“I try and keep it a bit topical, it’s never the same or you get sick to death of yourself.

“The Knicker Lady is a bit of British seaside humour. The word ‘knickers’; is a funny word and a lot of people respond to it.

“There’s something slightly Joyce Grenfell about it. I never wear the knickers, I hold them up and talk about them.

“I think people would be disgusted if they thought I was going to do some sort of burlesque performance.

“There’s an element of farce, drama and human interest to it.”

Rosemary’s theatrical leanings began at an early age. She attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA).

In addition to being a RADA medallist, she was also awarded the coveted Costume Prize, which is where it all began.

She took time out to have a family, but, needing some ‘me time’, Rosemary realised she wasn’t a knitter or a sewer and drew inspiration from her mother’s tales of working for a ‘House of Elliott type place.’ She said: “I realised that clothes weren’t just practical, but that they were also entertaining too.

“I started to do a few talks on clothes and including talking about knickers.

“People loved it.

“There were lots of ‘nudge nudge, wink wink’ moments.

“People would say to me – Mrs Hawthorne, come show me your knickers!”

The show developed from there and Rosemary’s husband, Gordon, who used to be Team Rector of Preston, returned to marketing to promote her show and manage her.

Rosemary said: “It then turned into the vicar and I going all over the country and me showing my knickers!”

She has even taken the show as far afield as the Channel Islands and Belgium and has been asked to go to the US.

But returning to Weymouth Pavilion will be a special event for Rosemary, because it is in Weymouth that her eldest daughter Samantha met her future husband Andrew.

Rosemary has also directed The Importance of Being Earnest at the Pavilion.

It would appear as though love of the theatre runs in the family – her eldest grandson Charlie O’Connor has just performed at the Edinburgh Festival.

  • The Knicker Lady is at Weymouth Pavilion on Friday, September 5.

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