After all of the positive feedback we received from you regarding our Around the World in Eighty Twirls feature in Burlesque Bible Volume Two, and many requests for more information about burlesque closer to home, we have compiled for you a comprehensive guide to burlesque in the UK. This month we have profiles of North East, North West, Yorkshire, the Midlands and Scotland, brought to you from some of your favourite burlesque performers. If you live in the UK, or are planning a trip, this is one feature you can’t afford to miss!
Burlesque in the North East with Betty D’Light
Big names – Frankii Wilde, Duke De Milo, Amelie Soleil, Edd Muir
Hot Spots – Spenley’s, Middlesbrough. Seen, Darlington. The Golden Garter at the Royalty Theatre Sunderland. Old Town Hall, Gateshead.
Ones to Watch – Ebony Silk, Felicity Switch.
Classes/ Schools – Pole and Seduction Academy
The scene in the North East is still fairly new in comparison to other parts of the country; despite this it has quadrupled in size since 2006 and continues to grow and grow. There are many different burlesque events throughout the region but with each one looking at burlesque from a different angle it means that there is little rivalry between them.
Many shows have come and gone throughout the years but the ones that have endured the longest have been the events whose goal is to offer good entertainment at a reasonable price with a cast of dedicated performers and producers who are committed to expanding the scene and bringing the very best of what burlesque has to offer to the people of the North East.
Frankii Wilde, international burlesque artist, renowned pin up model and producer of the Headline Honeys burlesque show. Frankii is known internationally as a pin up starlet, performing in frequently in Europe and all over the UK in the most prestigious of events.
Duke De Milo, producer of the Coquette Collective and proprietor of Sunderland’s Hustler Fashions. Duke is both an accomplished host and one of the fastest rising stars of the male burlesque scene. His one of a kind comedic Subo tribute is already renowned nationally and has been performed all over the UK in some of the burlesque scenes biggest events including the London Burlesque Festival 2011.
Burlesque darling Amelie Soleil & acclaimed acrobat supreme Edd Muir are the 2 halves of the wonderful whole that makes up Frayed Knott, the North East’s circus & cabaret experience for the 21st Century. Ed and Amelie have performed all over the world both as a double act and individually. They continue to be one of the North East’s hottest exports and one of the most interesting and diverse double acts in the UK.
The Headline Honeys burlesque troupe are a booty-quaking, shimmy-shaking, tassel-twirling troupe with a cast of resident honeys who dazzle and delight their followers along side a different spectacular guest performer each month. This bevvy of northern beauties includes international starlet Frankii Wilde, the queen of bump ‘n grind Trixie D Licious, singing sensation Lola Rainbows, Ebony Silk with her signature shimmies and yours truly. The Honeys are renowned for wowing audiences across the UK and are sure to tease, please and leave you begging for more! Headline Honeys have 2 residencies in the North East every month. Middlesbrough, first Fridays at Spensleys Emporium and Darlington last Fridays at Seen. www.headlinehoneys.co.uk
Coquette Collective, produced by Duke De Milo is Sunderland’s premier and longest running burlesque troupe hosting a variety of shows in and around the region including The Golden Garter at the Royalty Theatre Sunderland. The comedic theatrical troupe boasts a fantastic regular cast alongside a bevvy of guest performers from the UK. http://www.thecoquettecollective.co.uk/
The Hootchy Kootchy Roadshow, a new National touring production will make regular appearances in the region and launches in Gateshead at the Old Town Hall on the 17thDec. Produced by Chaz Royal of London Burlesque Festival fame and myself, we bring you a ‘Carnival Cavalcade’ of Saucy Showgirls, Sexy Sideshow Stunts, Neurotic Novelty & Vaudeville Variety at it’s very best! With an all-star line up including some of the best performers in the North East and beyond! www.hootchykootchy.com
Lest not forget Jeepers Peepers, the North East’s original burlesque troupe which ran for 3 and a half years from 2006-2010. Jeepers performed their last ever show in July 2010, much to the disappointment of the North East burlesque and alternative scene. They made a surprise come back earlier this year with a one off show marking their 5-yearanniversary. Jeepers Peepers can always be relied on to provide great music, an electric atmosphere and host of amazing rockabilly burlesque beauties. Here’s to hoping that their one off birthday come back turns out not to be a one off after all!
Ones to watch
The newest member of Headline Honeys burlesque troupe Ebony Silk is definitely one to watch. With her caramel skin, honey blonde hair and her signature shimmy shake she is sure to be tearing up stages and breaking hearts all over the UK and beyond in no time!
Another up and coming star of the North East scene is the Coquette Collective’s Felicity Switch. Reminiscent of Bettie Page with her milky white skin and raven black hair, infuses traditional burlesque with a modern, edgy attitude.
Burlesque schools and classes in the area
The Pole and Seduction Academy offer the best regular burlesque classes in the region, which just so happen to be hosted by myself! The Academies regular classes generally offer coaching in pole dancing but after having many requests throughout the region of a professional burlesque class they kindly asked me on board to be part of their team. They offer both regular classes and one off workshops and can also accommodate private bookings for birthday parties, hen parties etc. They pride themselves on a first class service with years of professional experience; it is without a doubt my favourite place to teach! http://www.poleandseductionacademy.co.uk/
For more on Betty D’Light visit her website http://bettydlight.com/
North West Burlesque with Ivy Wilde
Burlesque in the North West with Ivy Wilde
Hot Spots – Burlesque! At The Lowry Theatre, The Slippery Belle presents…BURLESQUE!, The Martini Lounge, Goldust, Dr Sketchy.
Big Names – Bella Besame, Millie Dollar, Diva Hollywood, Coco Malone
Ones to Watch – Velma Von Bon Bon, Lady Wildflower, Havana Hurricane
Classes – The North West Burlesque Society (NWBS), Manchester, Bella Besame’s classes Manchester, Lancaster, Blackpool and Liverpool, York, Leeds and Sheffield
I have performed at many a place in the UK since I first took to the stage in mid 2008 and the North West is always one of the places I love to perform the most, maybe it’s because there’s nothing like a home crowd, maybe it’s because of the amount of comedic burlesque we have in the North West, most likely due to our self-deprecating behaviour, or maybe it’s because the weather’s so blummin’ miserable and cold all year round that we need something to cheer and warm ourselves up. Whatever the reason I am proud of the North West burlesque scene and of all of those involved for keeping the flame burning bright.
Burlesque! At The Lowry Theatre (Manchester) is a wonderful event, compered by the magnificent Vampire Queen Rosie Lugosi, is the first burlesque theatre show in Manchester. Produced by Bella Besame it was bound to be a success, Bella has been producing shows in Manchester for years to great success with her other monthly regular night (at the Star and Garter if you fancy a rowdier and less theatre type affair) having the accolade of the longest running burlesque show in the city. www.thelowry.com/event/burlesque-
The Star & Garter events are run monthly with tickets on the door, please see the facebook group “The Slippery Belle presents…BURLESQUE!”
The Martini Lounge is regularly a sell out show. The reason for this? Top end performers, handpicked by the producer, Millie Dollar. The Martini Lounge is a mix of burlesque, variety and cabaret all served up with a three course dinning menu if you wish (non dinner tickets also available) in gorgeous surroundings.www.martinilounge.co.uk
The Goldust events are headed up by Neil Kendall, burlesque photographer. What to expect from Goldust? High end production; sets to die for and a line up that will make your jaw drop. Tickets can be purchased through www.skiddle.com, or by calling 07776 198332. Booking in advance is highly recommended as these shows sell out extremely quickly.
If you’re not aware of Dr. Sketchy events, where have you been?! Where else do you get life drawing and burlesque all rolled into one? Founded in New York and now spread worldwide, the North Wales and Chester branches of Dr Sketchy have been a wonderful addition to the North West burlesque scene. www.drsketchynorthwales.co.uk/
Bella Besame is a performer, producer and teacher of burlesque. It’s hard to know which order to put that in! Bella pretty much eats drinks and breathes burlesque, it’s with her 24 hours a day and she has completely devoted her life to it. She runs The Slippery Belle presents…..Burlesque! in Manchester, Leeds, Huddersfield, Dewsbury, Sheffield and Cleckheaton as well as producing large scale theatre shows at The Lowry. As a teacher Bella has taught a whole host of ladies you now see taking to the stage in the North West and further beyond. www.bellabesame.co.uk
Possibly the best kept burlesque secret in the North West, this brunette tattooed beauty is a dynamo on stage, drawing on her many years experience and high level qualifications in dance, add to this costuming which is as impressive as her dance skills and you have the explosive force that is Lady Wildflower. www.thefroufrouclub.co.uk/
Millie Dollar first began performing in 2006 and quickly became famed for her gorgeous fan dance, following from this Millie did not disappoint with classic burlesque and striptease acts including beautiful custom made costuming. From classic acts to the more tumultuous and tremendous bump n grind Vegas style Millie always leaves the crowd gasping for more, her Jealousy routine is not to be missed. www.milliedollar.com
Diva Hollywood debuted in New York’s The Slipper Room in 2005 and has never looked back. Diva is a true artist through and through and takes inspiration from everything around her resulting in burlesque acts with true originality, storytelling and plenty of pizzazz! Diva’s acts range from the comedic, to the beautifully artistic, to the intensely dramatic. Ever seen a burlesquer perform with twin six foot bull whips? No? Then get out there and watch Diva in action! www.divaburlesque.com/
Jazz songbird and burlesque chanteuse Coco has been delighting audiences up and down the UK with her melodic vocals and amazing styling. Coco’s repertoire includes Jazz to Show tunes. She’s brought a tear to my eye and a smile to my face many a time with a voice that’s as smooth as molten gold and just as precious. www.cocomalone.com/
Ones to Watch
Velma Von Bon Bon
Since her debut at The Martini Lounge in Dec 2009 this pint sized pocket rocket has been a hot topic in burlesque circles. Drawing on her experience with the dramatic arts (Velma has a degree in Drama and Screen Studies don’t-cha know?) and adding perfect costuming, characterisation, comic timing and precision moves she makes her art look completely effortless and has the audience splitting their sides, whether she’s portraying the organ grinder’s monkey or being chased by bees through an English country garden. With much more to come including a comedy aerial act in 2013 (Velma has been silks training since the beginning of the year), promo films and the busy updates through facebook on new acts for 2012, I simply cannot wait to see what she’s going to offer next. Velma Von Bon Bon on facebook
I first saw Havana perform when she took advantage of one of our performance spots at the North West Burlesque Society in Feb 2011. Already impressive she has since gone from strength to strength; from cheesecake cutie to bump n grind showgirl,Havana’s acts have it all (including a back shimmy to die for!). Not even one year old and with some fantastic new routines to debut in 2012, she’s definitely one to keep an eye out for. www.havana-hurricane.blogspot.com/
Burlesque schools/ classes
The North West Burlesque Society (NWBS), Manchester
The North West Burlesque Society have practice performer slots if you would like to try out new material in front of a friendly crowd or simply if you’d like to show off what you’ve got! www.northwestburlesquesociety.com
Manchester, Lancaster, Blackpool and Liverpool (also York, Leeds, Sheffield!)
Bella Besame – Beginner’s Guide to Burlesque Course. Hen parties, birthday parties and other special occasions catered for. firstname.lastname@example.org
Hebden Bridge, Lancashire
Lady Wildflower runs 6 weeks beginners burlesque classes. email@example.com
For more on Ivy Wilde visit her website http://www.ivywilde.co.uk/
Yorkshire Burlesque with Anna Fur Laxis
Hot Spots – The Wet Spot, Sunday Night Varietease , Candy Strips, BurlyQ, Velvet Burlesque The Ringside Revue, Coquette, The Cat’s Pyjamas, Headline Honeys, Dr Sketchy’s
Big Names – Ryvita Von Cheese, Morning Star, Anna Fox, Daisy De Lux, Pandora Amour, Lady Wildflower, Ambellina Dreamer.
Ones to Watch – Daisy Cutter, Penny Feather, Heidi Bang Tidy
Classes/ Schools – Sunday Night Varietease, Fantasy Belly dance for Burlesque workshops
Yorkshire – the UK’s largest (and some would say ‘God’s Own’) County. Home of Parkin, Yorkshire Pudding and Betty’s Fat Rascals, but we don’t just have awesome foodstuffs! Yorkshire is also lucky to have a thriving Arts scene, and over the past few years I have watched the Burlesque and Variety side of this grow and grow. Currently, we have a strong network of Performers, high-end shows, workshops and classes, with exciting new shows appearing every year.
Hot spots definitely include the awesome Leeds Wet Spot. Produced and managed by local lovelies Ryvita Von Cheese, Morning Star and Daisy Cutter, the Wet Spot is a longstanding and widely respected stalwart of the UK Burlesque scene, showcasing top regional, national and international talent. www.thewetspotleeds.co.uk
Leeds is also host to Sunday Night Varietease, a bi-monthly show presented by Daisy Cutter and Morning Star, usually preceded by an afternoon of one-off professional workshops with the ladies and their national and international guests.
Sheffield holds regular quality burlesque events Burly Q and Velvet Burlesque. Hull’sAnna Fox hosts a long-running event: The Ringside Revue, York is home to Coquette -Daisy De Lux and Pandora Amour’s bi-monthly club. In Grimsby you’ll find the fabulous monthly The Cat’s Pyjamas and Leeds’ newest venture Candy Strips has just celebrated its first event. www.coquetteyork.co.uk
As well as running Dr Sketchy, Middleborough, Yorkshire beauty and businesswomanFrankii Wilde also holds her fabulous Headline Honeys shows on the 1st Friday of every month in Middleborough, and the last Friday of the month in Darlington. With theHeadline Honeys’ eponymous troupe and special guests, her events are always great fun! Headline Honeys facebook page.
We also have several Dr Sketchy events in Yorkshire: a monthly, mid-week Leeds event, York city centre, Nottingham – 2nd Saturday of alternate months in 2012, starting with 11th February and a new Sheffield event is starting on Sat 10th December, 2011.
For more details on all Dr Sketchy events, see www.drsketchy.com
Yorkshire Burlesque, Arts and Performer’s Society.
For the social side of things, we have the Yorkshire Burlesque, Arts and Performer’s Society. Created and hosted by Ambellina Dreamer, the society is currently held on the 2nd Sunday of each month in Leeds, and provides a friendly atmosphere in which to meet others with an interest in burlesque (performing or otherwise) to meet, listen to guest speakers and, should you choose, to take the stage and perform in a friendly supportive atmosphere. Yorkshire Burlesque, Arts and Performer’s Society facebookpage.
Ryvita Von Cheese, Daisy Cutter, Ambellina Dreamer, Daisy De Lux, Pandora Amour’s and Anna Fox (see above for more details)
Ones to Watch
I adore Daisy Cutter’s Ludicris, and Penny Feather’s Cheerleader numbers, and I’d recommend checking out Scarlett Daggers and Snappy O’Shea. And with a wonderful name and ideas to match, I’m really looking forward to seeing newcomer to the sceneHeidi Bang Tidy perform!
Classes and Workshops
Yorkshire is home to a wealth of learning opportunities, confidence classes and private party ideas. My top tips include Leeds’ Sunday Night Varietease pre-show workshops and, also in Leeds, Hellena Bellydancer’s Fantasy Bellydance for Burlesque workshops(www.helenabellydancer.com). Information on my own workshops can be found on my website at www.annafurlaxis.com
Burlesque in the Midlands with Frankie Lynn
Hot Spots – The Garter Lounge, Dr Sketchy’s, Heresy & Heelz
Big Names – Darkteaser, Sherry Trifle
Ones to Watch – Tallulah Blue
Ah, beloved Midlands, a multi cultural place filled to the brim with diversity. But what about Burlesque? Well there is a noticeable difference between the London scene which jam packed with cabaret every night of the week, and a night on the tiles where I come from. Full on Burly Theatre Productions are actually quite few and far between in the Midlands. However, in a round-about way, this is a positive. It just means that when they do happen, it’s all the more special and thoroughly treasured by the audiences that attend. That’s not to suggest for one minute that there isn’t a bustling Burly community within the region – there most certainly is – and with a full on racing pulse might I add! It may just not appear like that at first glance…you must delve a little deeper to seek out what you are looking for.
Darkteaser runs a fabulous show called The Garter Lounge held at the beautiful art deco venue The Assembly Rooms in Royal Leamington Spa. Darkteaser is a high profile performer in her own right and so she clearly understands what performers to put on the stage that will make her show special.
Next up, we have the amazing show that is Delicious in Derby ran by the wonderfulHeresy & Heelz Productions Ltd. Their shows have seen many of the UK and International Burlesque stars grace their stage and in terms of a caring and attentive management team, you’d be hard pushed to find better.
Enchanted Burlesque in Birmingham is run by James and Angel LaVey. It started life as the Silk Stocking Strip Tease show and was re-branded in 2009.
Next with a slightly different feel, we have the wonderful Dr Sketchy’s – Anti-Art School,a life drawing class with a twist, and in the Midlands we are lucky enough to have 2 for you to choose from. First of all there is Dr Sketchy’s, Nottingham which is run by the wonderful illustrator, Charlotte Thomson-Morley and fabulous performer, Scarlett Daggers. Secondly we have Dr Sketchy’s, Birmingham which is run by the fabulousLiberty Pink.
Darkteaser, she is probably one of the most high profile performers around both in the UK and internationally, who is from the Midlands (I love that name too…full of mystique). Next, we have ‘a whole lot of calorie-filled yummy naughtiness with lashings of cream and cherries on top’, none other than the gorgeous Sherry Trifle. Again, she had made quite a stir in both the UK and on the International scene. My favourite acts to see from this beauty is her fabulous Judder Man piece, and wait until you see the costume, exquisite detail!
Ones to Watch
Ooof, where to start?! With such a bustling community on the rise it would be impossible to keep track of the up-coming talent, plus it would depend on your taste of performer. However, I would have to say that Tallulah Blue appears to be making quite the household name for herself. You may have even seen her appearance on Britain’s Got Talent! With a myriad of gorgeous fan dances to choose from, it’s hard not to go weak at the knees with this beauty.
If you are looking for a little taste of what the Midlands Burly Community can teach you, then perhaps you may enjoy a workshop at one of these places; LeKeux Events are an events company that specialises in the Vintage Experience market. They have a property right in the heart of Birmingham City centre at the famous Custard Factory and regularly put on Burlesque workshops that are well put together and offer up a sumptuous selection of cheesecake poses. An all round glamorous experience that may leave you with an appetite for more. Next up we have Bijoux Burlesque. A company that offers up taster courses for community lovers based in the Midlands. They are certainly a well known name in the Midlands area, as a place to go to for taster workshops and more, so why not check them out?
Burlesque in Scotland with Wild Card Kitty
Hot Spots – The Gatsby Club, La Cheetah, Dr. Sketchy, Guilty Pleasures, Kabarett, Vegas Revue, The Sugar Revue, Club Noir,
Big Names – Daiquiri Dusk, Cat Aclysmic, Leyla Rose, Vendetta Vain, Cherry Loco, Impressive Johnson, Miss Hell’s Belle, Dolly Tartan, Hettie Heartache, Wild Card Kitty
One to Watch -Tom DeLish, Favourite Sin
Classes – Check out your area on www.burlesqueandcabaret.com
There has always been a fairly strong vintage and performance art scene in Scotland, but in terms of the Burlesque revival, it really began to take off here around 2004 whenClub Noir launched in Glasgow in an intimate venue, (before moving to the enormous Carling Academy and is now more of a club night, with burlesque onstage). Vegas! has been around for a long time, and has always had vintage style Showgirls dancing onstage throughout the night (which I’ve done since 2003!) The now de-funct Sleazy Cheesy ran at Edinburgh’s Studio 24 from around 2005 until 2006 and had a real ramshackle DIY feel and was a brilliant way to start performing as it was lo-fi but well loved by audiences. There have been nights that come and go over the years and can be difficult to establish nights as burlesque nights are so expensive to run, but Scottish audiences tend to be very loyal as a result in order to keep something they love going. I think because it can often be harder for Scottish performers to get work outside of Scotland (and even within the country as the market is just much smaller) performers here quite quickly develop their own niche styles and put their interests into Burlesque in order to sustain their interest as it can often be 3 or 4 weeks between gigs. As a result some performers have stopped performing over the years, but there are the core team of veterans (mentioned above) who are determined to keep performing for as long as we can. We expect to travel to gigs, as even in Scotland, we have to do that. It’s a great way to see the country though!
Miss Hell’s Belle, produces The Gatsby Club a 1920’s themed cabaret show a few times a year at the Glasgow University Union. http://thegatsbyclub.co.uk/
Dolly Tartan runs the night La Cheetah once a month downstairs at Max’s Bar. La Cheetah
Rhymes with Purple, who produce a lot of cabaret, host Glasgow’s strand of Dr. Sketchy’s, monthly at the Tron. http://www.rhymeswithpurple.net/
Itsy presents Kabarett at The Voodoo Rooms, bi-monthly throughout the year and twice daily during the Edinburgh Fringe, which features Burlesque. The Voodoo Rooms
Blond Ambition Events produces Cabaret shows featuring Burlesque mainly during the Edinburgh Fringe in August but currently works with Vegas! The UK’s longest running vintage club (14 years and still going) in producing the Vegas Revue at larger events.Vegas! itself has appeared at venues across Scotland and has long featured Burlesque, with Miss Lily White (before she retired) performing there since 2004, Missy Maloneperforms there regularly still and even the Pontani Sisters from New York having graced the stage back in 2005 (when Angie Pontani still only did go-go dancing!)
Daiquiri Dusk currently produces a monthly night called Guilty Pleasures with the Guilty Lily pub in Leith that is very small but nice and intimate as a result and Missy Malone currently produces her show Missy Malone and Friends Burlesque Revue that takes place a few times a year also at The Voodoo Rooms. Edinburgh of course has a Dr. Sketchy’s that is run monthly by Miss Honeypenny at the Jazz Bar. Guilty Pleasures
I myself have produced Cabaret and Burlesque shows extensively over the years both during the Fringe and out-with and am currently producing a new Burlesque event, launching in Edinburgh called The Sugar Revue at The Pleasance Cabaret Bar, which I’m hoping will end up being a bi-monthly event. The Sugar Revue
I admire Daiquiri Dusk for her passion for her craft and 1980′s glam rock vibe in her performances. Vendetta Vain for her twisted sense of humour, Dolly Tartan for her sweet and mischievous style, Cherry Loco for his spectacle acts and Hettie Heartache for her detailed costuming.
Gypsy Charms, Viva Misadventures and Gilda Lily perform less frequently but teach through the Academy of Burlesque and Cabaret across many towns in Scotland (Viva now lives in Wales and as a result the school has extended to cover there too) and of course Missy Malone is Scottish but has lived down South for a number of years now, although happily makes jaunts back to her homeland!
Ones to watch
Tom DeLish is a fairly new Boylesquer but has enthusiasm in buckets and is definitely one to watch with his exuberant and kitsch routines and I love Favourite Sin for her comedic routines.
If you’re interested in learning burlesque in Scotland do check for classes in your local area at: www.burlesqueandcabaret.com The following performers also run workshops in Scotland; please see individual websites for details of where and when: Daiquiri Dusk, Dolly Tartan, Missy Malone
* The profiles above are written from the point of view of each individual performer. If you would like to see an event, perfomer or class added to this then don’t hesitate to get in touch – firstname.lastname@example.org and we will endevour to include them in the future.