Updated: Saturday, 20th April 2019 @ 3:28pm

Lesbian burlesque act to grace Fallowfield's Platt Chapel

Lesbian burlesque act to grace Fallowfield's Platt Chapel

By Francine Ponticelli

An all-female lesbian burlesque group will be performing at Fallowfield’s Platt Chapel community centre next month, who are aiming to raise money for Manchester’s lesbian community.

Lesburlesque, which has over 30 members, consists of both straight and gay performers. They have created a fundraiser in support of the Manchester Lesbian Community Project in order to keep it thriving.

Lesburlesque founder, Lucy Evans, is aiming for the show to promote lesbian entertainment genres from Drag Kinging to wider burlesque themes.

Speaking about the event, Lucy said: “Our aim is to combine mainstream and lesbian entertainment. Audience participation is actively encouraged and it’s very much in the vaudeville theatre sense.

“We expect around half the audience to be lesbian but the show is open to anybody and, of course, men are welcome too.”  

There may not be any other burlesque act quite like Lesburlesque, as Lucy stated: “As far as we know we’re the only lesbian burlesque troupe in the UK and haven’t heard of any others in the world.”

Speaking on how the group formed, Lucy added: “I've been a burlesque fan for years but when I first decided to cross the boundary from audience member to performer I didn't seem to be able to divorce my routine ideas from my sexuality. 

“Many of the ideas I had involved drag king performance which is a traditional lesbian performance art. Rather than fight it, I just went with my instincts but contacted a few performers to sound them out.”

From her initial idea Lesburlesque started to build momentum with more and more women willing to join.

“It was a very short leap to start recruiting more likeminded burlesque girls and the troupe took shape,” said Lucy.

Unfortunately, Lesburlesque are strictly part-time, with the group having no set plans to enter into a more professional arena.

“I will never be a professional burlesque performer.  To do that you have to be very, very, good at what you do,” said Lucy. 

“I could take years out of my life to train hard and learn every skill available to me.  In the end it would take the fun out of performing for me personally.  I do it my way, and that works best for me.  It isn't to everyone's taste,” she concluded.

Performing to the best of their ability and enjoying their performances is important to Lesburlesque, especially Lucy, as she stated: “I hope we pack it in the day before people tire of us and survive a day longer than the last demand to see us shine.”

However, the show is not over yet, as there could be plenty more to come for the female troupe.

Speaking on Lesburlesque’s ideal places to perform, Lucy added: “Absolutely Manchester and absolutely at Platt Chapel.  However I have a personal hankering to see us treading the boards at the Lowry.  I'd simply adore that if it ever happened.”

Platt Chapel seems to be the perfect place for the show to be staged, with the rest of Lesburlesque agreeing.

Speaking on performing at Platt Chapel, Lucy said: “The other performers think it is a magnificent idea.  Community oriented, well presented and professionally ran.  It seems perfect.”

Platt Chapel’s events coordinator, Hazel O’Keefe, believes the show will be a definite sell out, claiming: “It’s an art form.”

Platt Chapel, which existed as a church 250 years ago, is currently the home to the community group Social Action.

Hazel, who is also Social Action’s founder, explained: “This is not a new idea. We’re about the third or fourth community group to have worked in the chapel.”

Last year, with her father, Hazel decided to invest approximately £250,000 to restore the chapel into a better state of repair for her project.

“We had taken a massive risk. I decided to set up my own thing and now we have around 30 to 40 volunteers with us,” she said.

Recalling on the community group’s earlier days, Hazel admitted: “We started off with naive ideas. We didn’t want to sell Coke drinks and we wanted to serve fresh food from allotments and it just wasn’t realistic.”

Despite the chapel’s success within the community, Hazel admitted: “We still need loads of resources. We want to make the building accessible to all.

“We’ve got massive plans; it’s never going to stop. We’re driving real community spirit.”

Platt Chapel is home to a community enterprise that is dedicated to local needs. Everyone is welcome to get involved.

Lesburlesque are set to perform at Platt Chapel on Friday 2nd March. To learn more about future performances and what Platt Chapel also has to offer, see link http://www.plattchapel.co.uk/