17 March 2019

Saying a simple ‘yes’ a decade ago changed the course of my life. My friend Tallulah asked me to share my poems between burlesque and belly dancing in the tiny Play House Theatre in Northampton in 2009. A full house watched my debut performance of three short sets on a well-lit stage (and fortunately that meant I could only see the front row). My right leg shook.

There was good feedback and I was even asked if I had a book of my work. I returned a year later to perform at two shows, taking with me my first book, Truly Me.

Over a thousand performances later and after daring to go freelance in 2017, I was asked to audition for a small speaking part in an Alan Moore/Mitch Jenkins film called The Show (November ’18). They were long days in a hot wig, heavy make-up and in a tight sparkly green corset, but I absolutely loved the experience. (More will be revealed when the film is released, but for now I’m sworn to secrecy.) I learnt a lot behind the scenes and on set; I met some interesting people, including the formidable Miss Khandie Khisses, a great actress, burlesque dancer, photographer and businesswoman. We had a riot.

Khandie Khisses booked me to perform for her Prohibition Rooms evening in March ’19, which sold out in a matter of weeks. It was a superb night with an old music hall feel, waxed moustaches, wit and banjulele; big voices singing in sexy ’40s finery; powerful burlesque performances, feathered fans and titillation alongside saucy mischievous spoken word by me. The night of debauchery was fully appreciated by a somewhat bawdy audience in fine fettle, quaffing down a vast selection of gins brewed on site.

I reflected on that full circle of two performances alongside burlesque and the ten years between: from five-minute sets to now having the luxury of time to connect with my audiences performing my full-one woman show. I feel I truly do have Permission To Speak (which happens to be the title of my fifth book!) x