Now in its fifth year, the award-winning Hebden Bridge Burlesque Festival returns in 2017 on April 27 – 30 with a full rosta of some of the biggest names from the world of burlesque and alternative cabaret. The pride of the UK burlesque and cabaret scene, the festival has become a must-visit and holds its own on the international calendar.
International Headliners at Hebden Bridge Burlesque Festival
The biggest show of the weekend – The Fifth Annual Hebden Bridge Burlesque Festival Gala is back in its original home, Todmorden Hippodrome. Kiki Deville, antipodean songbird and star of The Voice, makes a welcome return to Hebden Bridge to host a show packed with back-to-back headline acts.
International headliner Lada Redstar, who was Miss Exotic World First Runner Up at the Burlesque Hall of Fame 2016, performs exclusively at Hebden Bridge Burlesque Festival 2017.
And making his only appearance in the UK this year is Jett Adore, the performer who Playgirl Magazine called “the sexiest, biggest, most talented star on the male burlesque circuit”. An internationally acclaimed boylesque artiste who was named the world’s ‘Most Innovative’ performer at the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend 2011, Jett is one third of the multi award-winning Stage Door Johnnies. As a solo artiste he has headlined in some of the largest Burlesque shows and festivals around the world and is flying in from the US to perform exclusively at Hebden Bridge Burlesque Festival 2017.
Also appearing are Queen of Queerlesque and potty mouthed princess Rubyyy Jones; internationally-acclaimed chinese pole artist Edd Muir; award-winning, gender bending drag ‘king of the codpeice’, Rusty Von Chrome; and the ‘sassy but classy’ Cece Sinclair, voted in the UK Top 20 Burlesque Performers by readers of 21st Century Burlesque Magazine in 2015.
Nurturing New Talent
The Festival opens on Thursday 27 April with the return of the award-nominated Legend In The Making Newcomers Competition at The Little Theatre, Hebden Bridge. Hosted by Heidi Bang Tidy, Co-Producer of Hebden Bridge Burlesque Festival, with a panel of esteemed judges from the industry, this event has become THE place to see some of the finest up-and-coming new performers on the Burlesque stage. This year’s event will feature a performance from special guest UmA ShAdow – winner of Legend in the Making 2016.
Thursday evening continues with a new show for Hebden Bridge Burlesque Festival – The Late Night Quickie. A “no-holds-barred late-night show of envelope-pushing cabaret, celebrating the edgier side of Burlesque”, this show is not for the faint-hearted and strictly over 18s.
Hosted by the Gypsy Charms, the ‘Grand Dame of Scottish Burlesque’ and housemistress at the critically-acclaimed Illicit Thrill, and starring celebrated London legend Lolo Brow; the red hot redhead Scarlett Daggers; The Death Do Us Part Danger Show; Tom Harlow – the dirtiest showboy in town; and the other half of the Hebden Bridge Burlesque Festival dream team, ‘the tattooed temptress’ Lady Wildflower.
Plenty of Laughs
Friday evening kicks off with The Laugh Your Knickers Off Comedy Cabaret, this year hosted by boozy Russian ex-Moscow State Circus performer Natalia Kalashnikov, and starring the ‘master of Chap-Hop’, Mr B the Gentleman Rhymer; Betty Blue Eyes; Titsalina Bumsquash – winner of Legend in the Making 2013; and “syncopated bundle of clowning, tap dance and general mayhem” Josephine Shaker.
Back for the second year in the late-night Friday slot is Diversitease – a show celebrating diversity in alternative cabaret. Hosted this year by Sadie Sinner, curator of The Cocoa Butter Club, and starring Lolo Brow, London Cabaret Award Winner Lilly Snatchdragon, the multi-award winning UmA ShAdow; queerlesque clown Kheski Kobler; and top teaser, twister and twirler RiRi Caboose.
Sell Out Shows
Saturday afternoon includes a full schedule of workshops (announcements coming in the new year) plus two hour long shows. Back by popular demand for a full length solo show – Tina Turner Tea Lady: The Solo Hour promises hit songs, golden pie, confessions, seduction and simply the best tea in town. This performance follows a sell out debut run at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
The second Saturday offering is the much-anticipated Et Moi – created and performed by two of the most celebrated clowns on the UK: Kiki Lovechild and Pi the Mime. This show follows the success of Kiki Lovechild’s sell out premier of SHEETS at Hebden Bridge Burlesque Festival 2016, which has gone on to tour venues across the UK. Et Moi combines circus, music, magic, mime and more. Amidst the turmoil of life, these two clowns discover the secret to true happiness. Come along and you will too. Suitable for all ages.
On Sunday, Hebden Bridge Town Hall will host The Burlesque Bazaar – a full day of shopping and performances, hosted by Festival favourite, the flirtatious, lyrical lothario and seasoned comic raconteur Stage Door Johnny.
Sunday daytime there will be more workshops (schedule announced in Jan) plus a brand new event for Hebden Bridge Burlesque Festival: a round table discussion of feminism and the politics of burlesque performance, I Am Woman – Hear Me Phwoar! Dr Ellen Wright (aka Snappy O’Shea), lecturer in Cinema and Television History at De Montfort University, chairs a panel discussion with performers and the producers of Hebden Bridge Burlesque Festival.
Invited guest panelists include Dr Clare Nally, author of Twenty-first Century Feminism: Forming and Performing Femininity and Naked Exhibitionism: Gendered Performance and Public Exposure, and Dr Jacki Willson, author of Being Gorgeous: Feminism, Sexuality and the Pleasures of the Visual and The Happy Stripper: Pleasures and Politics of the New Burlesque.
The Festival closes on Sunday evening with Hebden Bridge Burlesque Festival International Showcase. A veritable smorgasbord of talent, the show features invited guests from outside the UK, representing the finest acts from Burlesque stages across the globe. Host for the closing event is ‘The Songbird of Trafalgar Square’ and host of the Edinburgh Festival sell out hit Another F*cking Variety Show, Lili La Scala. The full lineup for the International Showcase will be announced in the new year.
A limited number of weekend passes covering access to all ten events are available at £85 each (a saving of £37 based on buying individual tickets) to members of Hebden Bridge Burlesque Festival Friends’ Scheme (join here). Weekend passes go on general sale from 15 December, priced £95 (a saving of £27, based on buying tickets individually) from the festival website. Day passes and tickets to the various workshops will be on sale from 1 January 2017.
Quoted in major international newspapers and held in high esteem and affection by the international burlesque community, 21st Century Burlesque Magazine has documented the contemporary burlesque scene since 2007. Founded and edited by Holli-Mae Johnson.