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Taking Part

Taking Part: Sekers Stories - part of Creative Connections

From its creation in 1959, Rosehill Theatre has been intimately connected to developments in fabric and theatre design and played a crucial role in the cultural growth of Cumbria.

The final year of our project explores the creative connections between Sir Nicholas Sekers (founder of Rosehill and Sekers Fabrics) and artists Oliver Messel (a celebrated 20th century designer and designer of Rosehill Theatre), Cecil Beaton and Graham Sutherland whose creations were part of the 1959 Exhibition of Paintings for Fabric Design.

These connections led to the creation of fabrics that were used throughout the fashion industry and were key to the 'New Look' that swept the world. We are interested to explore these connections and how a factory on the outskirts of a remote West Cumbrian town had such an influence on high end fashion.

Our starting point is to use a collection of fashion photographs from the Sekers archive at The Beacon Museum as inspiration to begin conversations with those who worked at Sekers Fabrics to collect memories and memorabilia that will be used to create an artwork in celebration of our unique heritage.

Our focus is on the workers' relationship to the fabric they produced, investigating as to whether workers were aware of how the fabric was used and the connection to 'haute couture' and the 'New Look.'

Sekers Stories brings together original artworks by Morgan Murray Arts and poet Emma McGordon inspired by the stories of ex-Sekers employees and their time working at Sekers and sits alongside images from the Sekers Archive held at The Beacon Museum and Sekers Fabrics in Dundee, of couture fashion design by Nina Ricci, Dior and Pierre Cardin and costumes designed for the musical My Fair Lady, all using fabric produced at Sekers.

Meeting ex-employees of Sekers Fabrics and hearing their stories has been a privilege, as has visiting the factory in Dundee to view the archive. Both of these have been the inspiration for our new publication Sekers: A History in Design, and the drive to share the Sekers story with our local community and future generations.


Sekers: A History in Design, a catalogue of images of fashion, fabric, factory and showroom designs, is available to purchase from our box office and online. Link in image.

Read more about our Creative Connections programme




You can read all about our activities in a blog produced by our Creative Connections practitioner Janice Murray. Click on this link for details!

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We are grateful to the following organisations for capital funding:

We are grateful to the following organisations for revenue funding:


We are grateful to the following organisations for their in kind support: