I have performed since 2008 as "burlesque clown" Audacity Chutzpah in cabaret clubs and theatres all over the UK and abroad, won the coveted Tournament of Tease award and was twice short-listed for "Best Burlesque Performer" at the London Cabaret Awards. I toured the UK and Europe with the "House of Burlesque" and "An Evening of Burlesque" and created the respected Time Out Critics Choice - "Night of the Bluestockings - thinking women's burlesque cabaret" with cabaret chanteuse Tricity Vogue. These talks have stemmed from my love of social history (I have a degree in History), a fascination in the history and evolution of my craft, and the women who shaped it.
"...they’ll have to take the biscuit and the tin it came in to match the double-barrelled brazenness that is Audacity Chutzpah, the clown-queen of burlesque..." The Londonist
Some upcoming speaking dates for 2018/19:
4 Sep 18 - Bridgwater Firecrackers WI
27 Sep 18 - Middlezoy WI
6 Feb 19 - North Curry WI
7 Feb 19 - Blackdown Ladies, Bishopswood
13 March 19 - Horton and District WI
21 Nov 19 - West & Middle Chinnock WI
See my Performer page for upcoming show dates
"Not all feathers and fans!" The rise and fall and rise of Burlesque
Illustrated talk - 45-60 minutes
For many centuries various forms of "burlesque" have existed in performance, literature and poetry - a "burlesque" being a form of parody, pastiche or comic imitation. This illustrated talk will show the fascinating evolution of the word "burlesque" from nineteenth century theatrical burlesque - an often gently risqué mocking of well-known "highbrow" literary works - to the famed, glittering "burlesque-striptease" stars of the 1930s - 50s - Blaze Starr, Tempest Storm, Gypsy Rose Lee amongst many others. With their magnetic charisma, incredible costumes and clever gimmicks, these iconic women are still inspiring many of the new generation of burlesque performers.
How has the meaning and usage of the term "burlesque" changed over time? What caused the "burlesque-striptease" to lose popularity, fading into obscurity by the 1970s, and what caused its exciting revival in the late 1990s - with burlesque cabarets now massively popular once again in cities all over the world? Is the art of the burlesque-striptease still relevant in today's society? How are some performers continuing to embrace the original meaning of burlesque, and seeking to push boundaries, satirise and ask questions about what it is to be a woman in the 21st century? This 1 hour talk includes fascinating photos and video clips, as well as some optional interactive elements...
"Thank you so much Leela, just brilliant, everyone loved it"
Avalon Ladies WI
Women of the Music Halls - 1850-1950
Illustrated talk - 45-60 minutes
Through the course of the nineteenth century, women began to play an increasingly important, often fascinating role, both as performers and audience members in the hugely popular music halls.
Some, like the renowned Marie Lloyd, the charismatic male impersonator Vesta Tilley, and the effervescent Gracie Fields achieved great fame and celebrity, others great notoriety, and some, sadly, great downfalls. Many women achieved, if not stardom, a decent living from the halls - a means of escape and independence.
This delightfully illustrated talk includes photos, video and audio clips - taking an intriguing journey through a time of great change - revealing the shifts and challenges women of all classes and backgrounds faced at this time, and highlighting the myriad ways in which the many hugely innovative women working in the music halls cleverly stretched societal expectations of respectability and female power, and carved out their own opportunities in this competitive, male-dominated world. Their influence and involvement would inspire many others - shaping a path and sowing seeds for female performers into the twentieth century and beyond.
Leela Bunce (c) all rights reserved 2016
mail AT leelabunce.c