The UK has an amazing and wonderfully diverse burlesque scene, with a plethora of sensational burlesque shows taking place every week. Whether you’re a burlesque performer or a cabaret enthusiast, attending a show is a great way to support the UK burlesque scene, network and expand your creative horizons.
With that in mind, this week I decided to create a list of some of the best (in my opinion) regular burlesque shows around the UK, some I hope to add to my calendar really soon. Why not book one yourself? You’ll have a great night out!
The Gin House Burlesque (London) – International burlesque mavens Miss Betsy Rose, Jolie Papillon and Missy Fatale have designed a glorious night that takes you back in time to the prohibition era, accompanied by a soundtrack of jazz and the company of a handful of very special guest performers throughout the night. In their third year now, their audience is usually as star-studded as the performer line up and shows often sell out super quickly – the dates for the last half of 2019 have just been announced so don’t delay in getting yours!
Bitten Peach (London) – The Bitten Peach is a Pan-Asian performance night featuring an astronomical lineup of the UK’s ‘legendary dynasty of queens, kings and beasts of the Far East’. Serving up impressive names as Lilly SnatchDragon, ShayShay, Marianne Cheesecake and founder Evelyn Carnate, presale tickets can be snapped up for under £10.00. Events will be found on Facebook, including a special Cabaret Vs Cancer show in September.
The Gilded Merkin (Nottingham, Birmingham & Cardiff) – Created in 2012 by Scarlett Daggers, The Gilded Merkin has expanded from its origins in Nottingham out to Birmingham and Cardiff. In its relatively short life, it’s brought some incredible names to the stage including Lolo Brow, Kiki Lovechild, Demi Noire and Didi Derriere. The Gilded Merkin host burlesque shows roughly every two months. Check out their website for upcoming shows in all locations.
The Wet Spot (Leeds) – The Wet Spot is a long-standing staple of the burlesque scene in Leeds, bringing in burlesque performers across the world since 2007. Ryvita Von Cheese originally started the night but has handed over her producer slippers to Scarlett Daggers (from The Gilded Merkin above) and Anna Fur Laxis! Back in my performing days, this was THE burlesque show you wanted to get on the bill for – and that reputation still lives on today. Their next show is in September, and you’ll find announcements for upcoming shows on their Facebook page.
Cabaret Roulette (London) – It’s the news we’ve all been hoping for, Cabaret Roulette is back! What could possibly be better than eight cabaret artistes from a variety of disciplines, each performing a brand-new act? That’s right, setting them a theme and then giving them only two months to choreograph, costume and contour for your viewing pleasure. Produced by Vivacity Bliss, Cabaret Roulette has seen the likes of Fancy Chance, Kiki Lovechild, Polly Rae, Sadie Sinner and Tiffany Blue all grace the stage, so it’s a great opportunity to witness some incredible performers debut brand new acts on the stage.
Proud Cabaret (London & Brighton) – The Proud brand has four legendary venues across the UK, with Proud City (London), Embankment (also London) and Brighton all offering a host of weekly burlesque, drag and cabaret shows featuring the likes of Jolie Papillon, Sasha Flexy, Ruby Deshabille and Felicity Furore. They also offer a range of packages including three-course meals and bottomless brunch for those that like to weekend in style. A range of packages can be booked through their website and you can get gift vouchers too.
Hundred Watt Club (Venues all over UK) – Over ten years in the business, dancer Lena Mae has taken Hundred Watt Club to new heights across the UK, but specifically the south of England. Entertainment isn’t just from burlesque performers, they often have life drawing classes and feature magicians, circus performers, comedians, and more. Tickets are on sale already which you can find via their Facebook page, with performances from Trixie Sparkle, Jeanie Wishes, Mysti Vine, Rubyyy Jones and Pearl Grey.
The Cocoa Butter Club (Mainly London, with a sister group in Australia) – The Cocoa Butter Club puts this best: “We exist to promote the fact that performers of colour are creating in a multitude of mediums, though in our experience artists of colour and their incredible talent is often ignored, erased and untold.” Coupling the most wonderful range of music with performances of burlesque, spoken word and more, The Cocoa Butter Club “proudly provides a platform for performers of colour to exhibit culturally expressive work for us to revel in!” Check out The Cocoa Butter Club’s Facebook Page for a list of upcoming events.
Edinburgh Fringe – (Edinburgh) – The Worlds Greatest Art’s festival is held in Edinburgh every year and what I can only describe as a mass exodus of cabaret happens in August. The atmosphere there is wonderful, inclusive, and creative; with every space turned into a venue full of artists, I’d say it’s a must-see for any burlesque or cabaret fan, but it really is for everyone. With comedians, spoken word, art exhibitions and theatre productions it’s really got something for everyone. My top tip is to download the Fringe app – it’s so much easier to arrange your itinerary that way. Did you know I’ll be there on 11 August too?
Kinky and Quirky – (Devon) – Established in 2007, Kinky & Quirky are without a doubt THE frontrunners of the Devon burlesque scene, and once featured none other than Raven Six on their line up! Having just announced their brand new venue Lucky 7 Club, I highly recommend making a weekend of your trip, catching some stellar burlesque and picking up a cheeky cream tea and a pasty for the ride home!
Underbelly Festival (London) – All summer long, the Underbelly Festival takes over London’s Southbank with events to tickle the taste buds of anyone who’s a fan of the live circus, cabaret, comedy and family entertainment. The perfect place to take in some entertainment! Events are listed on the Facebook page, including Lili la Scala, Velma Celli and shows from Bitten Peach and Cocoa Butter Club; as mentioned above.
Lads (London) – “Jaw-to-the-floor style talent and general ‘Badassery’”. That’s the description of the night from founders, Lilly SnatchDragon, Scarlett O’Hora and Lolo Brow. Their own brand of badassery is about being inclusive and unapologetic. Watch their Instagram and Facebook for date and ticket announcements.
Brighton Fringe (Brighton) – If you happen to be down in Brighton during the month of May, make sure you book yourself a show or two at the Brighton Fringe. Welcoming international performers as well as home-grown talents, the festival is completely open-access – which means anyone can register and put on a show, enabling both new and established performers to take risks and entertain audiences. So if you were thinking of putting on your own show, get applying ready for next May!
Know of any other regular UK burlesque shows I should add to this list? Let me know in the comments below.
Are you a burlesque performer in need of some new promo shots?? Why not book your own boudoir shoot with me today and tick it off your to do list – check out my boudoir photography packages here and then drop me an email with your preferred date. I can’t wait to hear from you!