Having recently celebrated their fifth birthday in the venue where it all began, the Hundred Watt Club is showing no sign of slowing down. Ivy Wilde caught up with Lena Mae to find out about how it all began and what they have in store for the future.
The Hundred Watt Club
“I’d been performing burlesque myself for a few years and hadn’t even thought of producing my own show,” Lena Mae told me, “when a local venue, The West End Centre in Aldershot, approached me and asked if I’d be interested. The thought was a little daunting at first but I plunged straight in. We sold out within weeks and started sprouting Hundred Watt Club branches from there.”
How have you found the experience from that first event?
It’s been lovely; we’ve acquired a wonderful following of regular audience members along the way who are so supportive and enthusiastic, and from the hundreds of performers I’ve booked over the years I’ve made some really gorgeous friends too. I come home from every single show buzzing and claiming it was the ‘BEST SHOW YET’ and it stays that way until the next one!
At the moment my stand out show was December’s birthday soiree for which, amongst a fantastic, hilarious, super sexy line-up, I had Laura Nixon, a wonderful Marilyn Monroe impersonator come along and sing ‘Happy Birthday’! The audience embraced the party vibes from the get go, as did the cast so it was a really special night.
Is it important to have a mix of burlesque and cabaret at your shows?
It’s very important. The real treat for me is that I tend to put together the shows that I’d want to go and see, and while I love burlesque and striptease, I also adore to see circus skills, comedy, sideshow, music, and, well, the list goes on. I’m a music hall fan, so I like to imagine I’m harking back to the days where variety was key. I hope that comes across anyway.
With that in mind, was the intention always to recreate a type of touring theatre show that was more common back in the golden days of burlesque?
You know, I’d never really thought of it like that, but I suppose that’s how it’s turned out hasn’t it? Lineups differing from town to town with local guest acts and whatnot. Really, my intention was only to produce more shows without over saturating my local area.
At the moment we have regular public shows in Aldershot, Guildford, Brighton/Hove, Salisbury, Winchester, and we’ve been up to Newcastle a few times too. I’m planning on taking the show to more cities in the UK; I’m in talks at the moment with a couple of new venues, though I’m always open to suggestions and of course I’m going to continue bringing new acts and quality shows to my regular venues and lovely audiences. I’d also love to produce some special immersive, interactive events, so watch this space!”
For those who haven’t been to one of your events, how would you describe them given one sentence?
It’s so difficult to whittle it down to a few words as variety really is the key at our shows! Hundred Watt Club is dazzling, silly, seductive and unpredictable; an unpretentious night of out of the ordinary fun!