Thursday, 12 November 2015

Dramaturgy's Burlesque: Festival of Burlesque @ Glasgow

The Glasgow Festival of Burlesque was founded in 2014 and will take to the stage of The Classic Grand in November 2015.

The show will run from 20th till 22nd of November and will showcase some of the finest burlesque talent from Glasgow and a little further. We're hosting workshops, shows and a afternoon showcase for all you lovely lot... not to mention the after parties!!!

How did you get into burlesque in the first place?
Lady V: I started performing burlesque back in 2007 as a way to keep performing after finding that I wasn't the typical size/shape for commercial or theatrical dancing. As an audience member I loved the atmosphere, costumes and showmanship of Burlesque. I approached a local show for a newbie slot and that was my big start.

Roxy: I just kind of fell into it! I've always loved the theatre and love the idea of being part of something that's so old and yet just keep changing and stays so fresh! Combine this with my love of pin-up and 50s' culture and Roxy Stardust was born!

In an individual performance, what do you look for?
Lady V: For me, its really that thing that holds my attention through a particular performance. It can be a style of dance, a particular skill, a unique looking performer or just a really interesting costume. I don't have limitations on the type or style of performance I gravitate towards.

Roxy: For me it's all about the energy a performer gives off. Maybe someone is not the best technically or there costume isn't a work of art but if they have that spark, there's just that something that you can't put your finger on, but it's there...

And was their any particular them or approach or taste that drove your selections for the festival?
When making selections for the festival we were really looking for a broad selection of performers which could show as many different facets of Burlesque as we could. We wanted there to be performers that would suit a wide range of tastes but also to enlighten audience members to things they haven't seen locally before.

For headline acts we wanted performers who had been influential on the Scottish scene and who had really made Glasgow grow.

Where is burlesque at these days? Is there any particular style that is dominating?
Everywhere! Glasgow is a cabaret hive! We have Wild Cabaret and The Riding  Room who constantly have live entertainment on display and there's many independent night ran for performers.

There's a lot more performers diversifying their skills and bringing new and unexpected things to their acts. It's now not enough just to be good at one thing. Ultimately it shows that styles and expectations chance over time and performers and constantly are challenged to come up with something new and innovative. But that's certainly not a new concept for this industry.

How do you feel about the 'controversy' of burlesque - the 'is it/isn't it feminist' matter?
Lady V: It's only controversial if you make it so. Glasgow and Scotland in general is so open to the burlesque, cabaret and alternative scene in general. It's certainly that attitude that makes Glasgow unique and known worldwide for their friendly nature. Burlesque is what you want or need it to be.

Roxy: I think that the best way to deal with this is let everyone have an opinion, and then just accept that everyone has one.

Is there much connection between the wider cabaret scene and burlesque at the moment?
Of course there is. Cabaret and burlesque cross over so much now. We think with so many performers bringing a plethora of skills to their performances the lines a blurred between the two because burlesque isn't about just stripping and cabaret isn't just all about singing and comedy.

What kind of audiences are you hoping for - and what will they experience?
There is no typical audience member for us. We just want the whole of Glasgow and beyond to come along! Audiences will experience a fun filled weekend showing the many facets and faces of Burlesque but also focusing and highlighting on what makes the Glasgow scene unique and fabulous.

Why have the festival in Glasgow?
Glasgow is home to the world's largest burlesque show, club noir. Glasgow also has the world's oldest surviving music hall, Britannia Panopticon. We are also home to the best audiences the world has to offer, well if you believe what touring musicians say! This is also our home city which we both love dearly.

Does it celebrate a Glasgow scene?
Glasgow has always embraced and celebrated burlesque and cabaret. Think it's something to do with the water! But yes the festival has a big focus on Glasgow performers particularly at the closing show.

Are there national or international artists coming?
We have local, national and international artists coming. The closing night will focus in Scottish artists but each headliner across the festival is Scottish.

Is there one night that would be the best for a 'newbie'?
For newbie performers we have a show on the Sunday afternoon at The Riding Rooms, Roxy's Round-Up. Although for the festival it's not strictly new performers it runs the last Thursday of every month and is a show specifically for performers finding there feet . 

For someone who's never been to a burlesque show, any of our nights would be a superb night out.

And is there any artists who might surprised a jaded old critic?
Of course there will be! Burlesque is so much more than a pretty performer taking their clothes off to an old piece of jazz music. We have a particular female performer who is bringing a comedy act which we both agree you'll love. We have a variety of male performers who are not just dancers too. Oh and we think that Granny Stardust might be popping along to give us her opinion on a few things too.

Oh - and any guys doing boylesque, too?
Certainly! Burlesque is not gender specific. It is heavily influenced by female or feminine performers but the boys certainly give them a good run for their money. For us there's no separation of boylesque from burlesque, its just a different facet of the same coin.

Roxy Stardust
Described as "Explosively Gallus" Roxy Stardust specialises in Singing and Comedic routines. 

Roxy is the mastermind behind Monster-A-GoGo, Roxy's Round-Up: Cabaret Showcase and various other shows the UK. Roxy has performed all over the UK and in 2012 made her first US appearance and then toured the states in 2014

She's a Glasgow showgirl through and through.

Lady V
Lady V started performing burlesque back in 2007 and has been performing across the UK since. A trained dance teacher who owns her own school and also an accessories designer under the name "Twirls and Delights by Lady V".

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