Art & Design blog

XETH interviews Neo-burlesque star Miss Polly Rae

Artist / designer:   Miss Polly Rae
Article author:   Charlotte Bradford
Published:   Tue, 2 Feb 2016

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Photographer: William Baker

Miss Polly Rae is a British singer & dancer who is one of the leading figures on the Neo-burlesque scene. Polly’s burlesque career kicked off in 2006 after she took a course run by Jo King at the London Academy of Burlesque. She decided to form the troupe Hurly Burly performing at notorious venues including London’s Hippodrome Casino, the Garrick Theatre in the West End & Queen Elizabeth Hall.

XETH caught up with Miss Polly Rae shortly after her huge success with the burlesque revue show ‘Between The Sheets’ performed at the Southbank Centre’s London Wonderground 2015.

What’s your proudest achievement?

My dream from the start of my Burlesque career was to have “the biggest Burlesque Show the U.K had ever seen”. I achieved this with the Hurly Burly Show, we had 3 runs in the West End, my ass (see pic above) was in the London Underground!!


Photographer: Juliet Labdien

What’s the most challenging aspect of your work?

Time management and having a personal life, it’s very all-consuming when you are a performer and produce shows at the same time, it’s very hard not to switch off especially at the height of a project like ‘Between The Sheets’ at the London Wonderground last Summer. It was crazy, amazing but crazy.

What are your top three favourite songs?

Vogue – Madonna

Smile – Charlie Chaplin/Nat King Cole

Gangnam Style – PSY

Photographer: Ayesha H


Photographer: Ayesha H

What is your favourite London venue and why?

It used to be the Soho Revue Bar (formally Raymond Revue Bar) but this sadly closed down a few years ago. It has been converted into ‘The Box’ now and is very different. I love the rough and ready old school cabaret venues for their nostalgia and intimacy but to all our despair they are disappearing one by one, Madame Jojo’s closed down a while ago and apparently they are trying to attack others such as the Royal Vauxhall Tavern which is such a terrible thing.


Photographer: Ayesha H

Name three creatives who have inspired you over the past 10 years?

My ‘right hand’ Klare Yaya Wilkinson, she has been my business partner since the beginning and never stops inspiring me with her ideas and creative flair.

Jo King – if it wasn’t for Jo and the London Academy of Burlesque I wouldn’t have been inspired to become a part this incredible world.

William Baker – Director of the Hurly Burly Show, inspired and taught me to take my art to another level


Have you got any exciting events coming up in the near future?

Christmas!! Haha I love Christmas, such a fun time of year with the shows on the build up and at the end of the year I get to spend time with my family. I continue to have my weekly residency at the Hippodrome into 2016 which is always fun and then I’m looking towards the Summer when I hope ‘Between The Sheets’ at the Wonderground will return.

If you weren’t a burlesque performer what other career would you have chosen?

Hard to say, it would have always been creative, I always had an interest in Hair and Make-up so very likely something in that field.

What advice would you give to people working in the creative industry?

Work hard, persist and never stop developing, educating and expanding yourself.



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