Victorian Burlesque - A Talk with Ian Lowell, 23rd May 7-9pm

Ian Lowell will be presenting an illustrated talk on a unique aspect of the history of theatre known in Victorian times as 'burlesque'.

Not to be confused with contemporary usage, Victorian burlesques originally challenged traditional rôles both on stage and in society.

Burlesques burst into Victorian theatres at the time women were challenging male assumptions with a young queen on the throne, a developing literate middle class, and economic and industrial change. Burlesco was a word coined in sixteenth century Italy and was comically portrayed in the slapstick of Commedia dell’Arte. But travesty had its genesis in Aristophanes’s Athenian comedies of the fifth century BC. This evening looks at the history of Burlesque from Ancient Greece to Victorian tease, with a note on its sad demise at the beginning of the twentieth century.

Ian's talk will begin with Aristophanes’ play Lysistrata before looking at the slapstick and physical comedy of Harlequin et al, before taking a quick look at the relationship with modern burlesque too.

Free entry but donations welcome, doors open at 7pm for a 7.30pm kick off.