We are now enjoying a renaissance of what originated centuries ago in Italy.  The word ‘BURLESCO’, borrowed from the Latin ‘BURLA’ meant ‘FARCE’, ‘OUTRAGEOUS COMIC’, and ‘CARICATURE’.

This may explain why the word ‘Burlesque’ is now so often considered synonymous with ‘Grotesque’ and why it is fast becoming incorrectly used as an umbrella term under which any cutting-edge, bizarre or off-the-wall act put themselves.

We want to make it very clear that The Burlesque Factory concentrates solely on Burlesque in the context of what is more commonly perceived as a representation of an over-the-top, ‘fantasy’ version of striptease, performed as an art form.

Burlesque History

Popularised by the French since the late 1800’s it was later developed by the Americans during the Depression, where by the late 1930’s there were seventeen Burlesque Theatres in New York alone, including THE ELTINGE BURLESQUE on 42nd Street with its spectacular façade, and which is now The Empire Theater.

It was so popular that Burlesque companies were already touring the world and The Broadway Follies performed at the Scala in Berlin in 1938.












In the 1940’s and 1950’s it was represented with great panache by the ‘Ladies of Burlesque’ who followed in the footsteps of the great Gypsy Rose Lee, who performed at the infamous Minsky’s in New York along with other vedettes such as Ann Corio, Margie Hart and Sherry Britton.









19th Century Burlesque Showgirls

Performers of

The Naughty Nineties




















Zorita - Burlesque Dancer 1950's






















   Howard Hughes' favourite Burlesque Queen—Lili St.Cyr







In the 1950’s icons such as Lili St Cyr, Ann Corio, Betty Rowland, Tempest Storm and Betty Page adorned the stages of famous Vaudeville venues such as The Frolics in Chicago, The Gaiety on Broadway, The Follies Theater in Los Angeles, The Music Box Theater in New York and The Hollywood Theater in Detroit.


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Finally in April 1937 after a performer “forgot”

to wear her G-String, Minsky’s license was revoked. This wasn’t only the demise of Minsky’s, but all of Burlesque in New York for some time.






Gypsy Rose LeeZorita- Burlesque Dancer

1940’s Legend


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In 1958 The Raymond Revuebar opened in London, a place of excellence, which presented top class Burlesque.


VANITY FAIR - One of the first Burlesque acts choreographed by Gerard Simi.  1978 


VANITY FAIR –The Raymond Revuebar


A special mention should be given to ZORITA who with her Lana Turner image, ingenious act, sets and costumes really was the precursor to the 1960’s wave of Burlesque performers.©

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