“We are trying to show our most intimate side – rather than the one that goes on-stage,” reveals stripper Vera Rodriguez, one of the women fronting a quirky showcase into her industry.
“I’ve got a feeling it is going to make history – it’s the first time strippers have got together to do a show and it’s going to be a big event, a proper festival.”
Vera is one of 40 members of the East London Strippers Collective (ELSC) shining the spotlight on sauciness at The Art of Stripping, an exhibition which launches next month.
Staff at Shoreditch’s Red Gallery LDN have donated space and will host the 10-day event, which runs between October 23-31.
It’s aim is two-fold – to expose the hidden talents of strippers as well as flag up their poor working conditions.
Vera juggles a performance slot at Ye Old Axe in Hackney Road with a career as a photographer.
“The work we have chosen to do is stigmatised,” she said. “When you tell someone you’re a stripper, it’s difficult for them to see what’s behind the job.
“Stripping is like pole dancing – it’s an art form and just as artistic, and you need a lot of skills. Yes, it is sexual entertainment but there’s also the working conditions and social stigma we have to face.”
As part of the extravaganza, Vera will be presenting Performers Project, a collection of images she has worked on for the past year
She asked her subjects how they wanted to appear in front of the lens, so she could “personalise the process”.
Meanwhile, visitors can take part in life drawing classes with pole dancers as their subject, or watch Bronwen Parker-Rhodes’ latest film, Dear Delicious, which tells the tale of a real life love letter sent from a customer to a dancer.
Those keen for a hands-on experience can take part in pole dance and movement workshops and the Stripper Wear Fair will offer lingerie and outfits for sale.
Vera said: “It’s a lot of women putting their emotions into one particular project. We are really nervous about it - but excited at the same time.”
The Art of Stripping, Red Gallery, Shoreditch, Oct 23-31, 11am-6pm.