I felt awful after my first solo burlesque performance. I thought I’d screwed up, I knew it hadn’t been anywhere as good as I wanted it to be, my hair got caught in my lashes and I hadn’t been able to see, and I stumbled off stage feeling shaky and useless.

My first act, Golden Puppet, was an act processing where I was mentally when I moved to London, getting over two toxic relationships. The act used restricted, puppet-like movement, a huge gold chain, and a mask to symbolise the control I’d been under, and I picked the chain back up at the end, when I’d shed the layers representing my shame, and I reclaimed the prop which had been used to restrict me.  

I am not dance-trained, and didn’t have performance experience beyond Drama GCSE, and I couldn’t execute the moves as I wanted to. I was shaky in my high heels, and I hadn’t yet been able to see much of live cabaret performance to learn from as I got into burlesque in early 2020.  

I remember once after doing a workshop with Tempest Rose about goal-setting, writing down ‘Perform solo ten times’. I didn’t think anyone would want to book me, and with the scene as it was then, beleaguered by COVID-19, I didn’t think I would even reach this.

But, thanks to the newbie slots and scratch nights which are so important in our community, producers gave me the stage time I needed to become a better performer. I was never quite happy with this act – and I don’t think I ever could’ve been, given what it was about – but I do think I learned more from that stage time, than all the other hard work I was doing to become a better performer. And I have worked really hard; this hasn’t come easily to me and I’m so proud of how much better I’ve become.

After a while, I tried to rework the original version, and although it made a better act, it was hard to continue to revisit the memories that act represented, and I was having so much more fun performing Gunslinger I decided to focus on characters which were aspirational to me, where my stories represented fun and adventure.

So, I decided that it wasn’t worth it anymore, and the last performances were with a fantastic, politically-focused show that provided a really supportive final stage: Stripping in the name of.


 If you’re also a performer, do you still perform your first act? How do you feel about it?

If you are interested in performing, what kind of story do you think you’d want to tell with your first act?

I’d love to hear from you! Slide into my DMs on Insta @fae.wildfyre or contact me here.



Fae Wildfyre