The next interview in our stagey chat series, is with the amazing Ivy Paige. She is currently hosting the national tour of An Evening of Burlesque. From The Voice UK, to Edinburgh Fringe, to podcasts, to burlesque - Ivy Paige has done it all! We had a chat about her life as a showgirl so far.

Get yourself comfy and us for the next instalment of Stagey Chat!

Ivy, thank you for chatting to Stage to Page today! How are you doing? And would you mind introducing yourself and telling us how you first got into performing?

Thank you so much for having me! Make yourselves comfortable on the chaise lounge, pour a glass of champagne and welcome to my sumptuous burlesque boudoir, you might want to move that feather boa, my crystal encrusted corset and those sparkly nipple tassels out the way before you sit down. I’m Ivy Paige, the International showgirl, Queen of Cabaret and the host of An Evening of Burlesque

Actually, I will let you into a little secret, behind the curtains my real name is Lucy Ryan. I’m from Maidstone and I am the creator of Ivy Paige and also the Creative Director of An Evening of Burlesque. I’m writing this from my apartment whilst drinking a cup of tea! Who said show business isn’t glamorous?! 

I’ve been performing since the age of 4 when I played the starring role of a singing tea pot number 1 and since that sweet taste of the limelight I’ve gone on to have a career as one of Britain’s most celebrated cabaret performers. “One of the new Queens of British Burlesque” (Mail on Sunday)

Your latest show, An Evening of Burlesque, is set to start this month and embark on a tour until the end of the year! Can you tell us more about the show?

The show is produced by, The Entertainers and is the longest touring Burlesque show in Europe. It’s the ultimate glamorous variety show, blending stylish cabaret, comedy, music, circus and burlesque to light up all the senses. You can expect fun, feathers and fabulous costumes along with the finest selection of specialty artistes, cabaret and circus stars, comedians and champagne showgirls!  

I’m immensely proud of the line up I have curated for this show. Each of the artistes brings something different to the show and it’s a joy to work with them all onstage and behind the scenes. This years cast is a stellar line up including the ultimate champagne showgirl Isabella Bliss, cabaret legend Saucy Davis Junior, La Shelia Showgirls, Matt Pang, Velvet Jones, Belle De Beauvoir, Sebastian Angelique and more!  

I don’t want to reveal all the shows secrets (I’m all about the tease) but I can tell you that Isabella Bliss’s Champagne Showgirl act is a real show stopping moment and, of course, I sing "Do Right", the song that earned me the nickname “Firecracker” from Sir Tom Jones when I sang it on ITV’s The Voice and melted everyone’s TV screens.  

Is there any specific preparation you did for the show? And how has the rehearsal process been going?

Contrary to what you might expect I don’t swan about rehearsals sipping champagne cocktails...I save that until after the show! I’m more likely to be found working with the dancers on their mesmerising fan dance which is set to Running Up That Hill by Kate Bush. It’s a moment in the show that genuinely moves people.  

Choreographer, Jordan Grigg, transformed my vision for this number into what you see on stage when the La Shelia Showgirls perform it. For the 2 hours you see of the show there are months of preparation from the whole team that go into it. 

As a host and singer I have a strict regime to be able to sustain my voice with the amount of tour dates we have; this year will we have had over 100 dates and still counting! This includes a weekly session with my incredible vocal coach, Kim Chandler, who I have worked with for over 10 years. I steam my voice every day and on show days I steam before a show and after.  

Sirens are my favourite vocal exercise! It’s not just about singing though. As a host I spend a lot of my time with the audience guiding them through the magical world of burlesque.  

I write all my own material and I keep a show journal, noting down anything funny that happens, ad libs and reflections on my performance as well as the overall show.  

What is it about performing that drew you to the industry, and how has it changed over the years you've been a part of it?

I found the world of Burlesque in 2006 when I stumbled (quite literally) upon The Whoopee Club at the Edinburgh Festival. I felt like I finally found the language for the performance that I was creating and that there was a world where other artistes where making similar work. I felt like I had found my place in the world. Cabaret allows me to be in control of what I create and It is this autonomy that I find empowering.   

Cut to the year 2020 and the pandemic and for the first time ever, I thought what else could I do? I thought about learning the ukulele or a language but instead I spent the year getting my PGCE as a secondary school teacher of English and Drama and for the following 2 years I worked as teacher. It was an extraordinary life changing experience but at the end of 2022 with a 100 date tour ahead of me I I knew I had to return to my first love of performing and what better way to come back then with the sparkling show, An Evening of Burlesque

Growing up, were there any particular performers that you took inspiration from, that have later gone on to influence your work?

My first professional job was dressing a dame in pantomime and the early origins of Ivy Paige you can see that I was heavily influenced by the outlandish costumes and sense of humour, I used to buy Panto Dame eyelashes that were so big I could hardly keep my eyes open! These days I may have smaller eyelashes but I am always inspired by strong woman. My favourite artistes are Kate Bush, Nina Simone, Bette Midler and Joni Mitchell. 

From appearing on ITV's the Voice, to your own Edinburgh Fringe show, to podcasts, is there an area of performing that you find the most enjoyable? If so, what is it?

I adore live performance. The audience are always my hero, especially right now when things are tough for everyone. I want to entertain the audience and offer them an escape from the world. Without them they would be no show. The audience are at the heart of why I do this. 

I have to ask every guest on Stagey Chat this question: my blog is called Stage to Page. But if you could turn any book, from page to stage, what would it be and why?

How about the life and times of an International Showgirl…from (Ivy) Paige to the stage! The showgirl diary of one of Britain’s most infamous cabaret stars….(Currently being written

And finally, why should people book tickets to see An Evening of Burlesque? 

An Evening of Burlesque is filled with artistic spectacle that has enraptured audiences for centuries! It’s a sensational burlesque show that brings together a bounty of beautiful stars for an unrivalled variety show for the 21st Century! You can expect the unexpected with plenty of glitter and glamour!

For tickets and where you can find us! 

An Evening of Burlesque

Ivy Paige

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