Burlesque Legends

Episodes

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20151123

Each year, hundreds of performers attend the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend in Las Vegas, where the guests of honour are The Living Legends.

In the mid-20th century these women were shunned by society. Most were presumed prostitutes. But now their careers are celebrated, and their ground-breaking acts are revived, at the Titans of Tease Reunion.

Mat Fraser is a British actor, cabaret star, and a former Best Male Striptease Artist. For BBC Radio 4 he embarks on a very personal journey to meet some of the legends, both on and off stage.

Mat says: "As a disabled performer, I connect with these women in that we're all outsiders. We don't look mainstream. They don't judge me, and I don't judge them."

Veteran performers in their 70s and 80s, including April March, Lottie "the Body" Graves and Melanie "Marinka" Hunter, discuss ageism, sexism, racism and feminism in their profession. How have attitudes towards Burlesque artists shifted since the 1950s? How do the legends inspire younger performers?

And after three decades of retirement, how does it feel to finally get back on stage - and strip?

Producer: Steve Urquhart

A Sparklab production for BBC Radio 4.

20151123

Each year, hundreds of performers attend the Burlesque Hall of Fame Weekend in Las Vegas, where the guests of honour are The Living Legends.

In the mid-20th century these women were shunned by society. Most were presumed prostitutes. But now their careers are celebrated, and their ground-breaking acts are revived, at the Titans of Tease Reunion.

Mat Fraser is a British actor, cabaret star, and a former Best Male Striptease Artist. For BBC Radio 4 he embarks on a very personal journey to meet some of the legends, both on and off stage.

Mat says: "As a disabled performer, I connect with these women in that we're all outsiders. We don't look mainstream. They don't judge me, and I don't judge them."

Veteran performers in their 70s and 80s, including April March, Lottie "the Body" Graves and Melanie "Marinka" Hunter, discuss ageism, sexism, racism and feminism in their profession. How have attitudes towards Burlesque artists shifted since the 1950s? How do the legends inspire younger performers?

And after three decades of retirement, how does it feel to finally get back on stage - and strip?

Producer: Steve Urquhart

A Sparklab production for BBC Radio 4.