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Miss Tempest Rose – burlesque performer

Tempest Rose. Photo: Scott Chalmers Tempest Rose. Photo: Scott Chalmers

Tempest Rose left a career in acting to pursue burlesque 10 years ago. A successful soloist, she also runs burlesque company House of Burlesque and comperes its latest show at London Wonderground

What first attracted you to burlesque?

I came from a traditional theatre background – I did a diploma in classical acting with musical theatre – and there were two things that really fascinated me about burlesque. Firstly, that it was the only art form that I could see that would allow women to show all sides of their character. The other part that really appealed was that burlesque artists originate their own work. Soloists choose their own style of act, music and what they’re going to say to the audience, and that’s incredibly appealing for an artist. After a year of doing burlesque with acting, I gave up acting completely.

What is your favourite aspect of performing burlesque?

For me, the most important thing is that the audience is entertained and I really enjoy it when the crowd gets on board. There’s no fourth wall in burlesque. You have to make that connection with the audience, which is really fun and exciting. At Wonderground we’re performing in the round in the spiegeltent, which was challenging at first because most burlesque is choreographed, so you can turn away at points, but there’s none of that here. However, having the audience on all sides means you can really feel the energy and manipulate that as an artist. I love the burlesque performer Michelle L’amour, who is very sexy but incredibly funny at times. I think it’s wonderful to be allowed to mix those two things, because in life that doesn’t really happen.

What are you doing next?

At the end of September, we start doing every Saturday at Madame Jojos. We already do every other Friday there. The show we’ve created for Wonderground this year is the most ambitious ever, so I would love to take that on the road and possibly abroad. I’ve been abroad as a soloist but not with the company, so that would be amazing. I performed in Vegas a few years ago and I guess that’s every producer’s dream, to have a show in Vegas.

Would you ever consider going back into acting?

I doubt it. Never say never, but I’m not just a performer now because I run the company as well. It is something I never thought I wanted to do and was very scary at first but it’s so worthwhile. One of the things that I always found very frustrating about acting was not being able to be in control, so running my own company is a wonderful way to grasp that vision you have for your work. It would take a lot to tempt me back but I can’t lie, I wouldn’t say no to a lead in Chicago.

House of Burlesque runs at London Wonderground at the Southbank Centre every Thursday until September 18.

CV: Tempest Rose

Training: London Academy of Performing Arts (2003-2004)
First professional job: Burlesque – The Kitten Club, Volupte (2007)
Agent: none

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