photograph by Angie B Photography
I first came across Flaming Tease when I was asked to provide cakes for a show. It was in a teeny tiny pub in Stirling called Whistlebinkies and the event was only open to ladies, due to an outdated and silly bylaw that stated burlesque could not be performed in front of mixed gender audiences. It was an intimate and fun show, and I left knowing I would be back! Since that night, Scarlett Flame, performer extraordinaire and organiser of Flaming Tease, smashed through the bylaw and Stirling’s only burlesque show was open to everyone! Today, Flaming Tease has a new, bigger home in 20 Rocks and is growing more popular with every event.
In the meantime, I finally starting performing myself (but that’s another story!) and Flaming Tease is a great favourite of mine to perform! Of course, I still provide cupcakes and cake pops, it’s a long running joke now that I wouldn’t be allowed to come without them! I asked Scarlett, killer of silly bylaws, a few questions about Flaming Tease and what’s next for this fantastic show.
Why did you want to start Flaming Tease? Was it important to you to host it in Stirling?
I wanted to start my own shows because over the years I have performed at so many – some good, some great- but what was important to me was holding the kind of night I would want to go to, which bring together performers and friends. I wanted to run a show with a happy friendly atmosphere for everyone!
Hosting it in Stirling was always the obvious start, because so little happens here and because I love bringing burlesque to new audiences. We have always wanted to start here and expand, taking the same mix of quality burlesque and a brilliant atmosphere with us. I wanted to do a show in my adopted hometown, and I’m really happy that there is a market for it!
What drives you to hold these nights?
Enjoyment. Its brilliant to see so many wonderful performers on my stage and knowing that I had a hand in making sure that they have a great time. It means a lot to me to bring opportunities to my friends, and people who have become friends through the shows. Its great to get the feedback that we get from our audiences who all love the shows and love the performers involved.
What do you think makes Flaming Tease so successful?
Hard work, and the commitment of everyone involved. All of the performers work incredibly hard to make sure that they do a great job, and I can’t even begin to tell you how much I appreciate them – the shows wouldn’t happen without that!
Also, we really value the feedback that we get from our audiences, and do make a point of collecting both verbal and written feedback so we can make our shows even better.
Finally I think part of it is that we approach it as a full package – performers, traders, cake, drinkies, its really a proper night out and our audiences throw themselves into it!
What is your favourite story involving Flaming Tease?
There are so many… We’ve done 6 shows in Stirling, and all have been filled with some of the things people assume I make up. Ringmistress dislocating her thumb onstage, Favourite Sin shaving her head, two of our audience members starting a relationship at the show, some of the laughs backstage.. there really are so many, and so many more to come I am sure.
Has there been a time you felt like giving up doing Flaming Tease? Or did difficulty strengthen your resolve?
There are always times when its hard and when it all gets really stressful, but no I have never really thought about quitting. The hardest show was the one I missed when I was in hospital, and that made me so much more determined to make the next show even bigger and better!
Given the amount of obstacles (from venues, to money, to divas) it would be easy to quit, but I think I need to keep doing it to prove I can!
You have a great reputation for encouraging new acts from performers, has there ever been a time you were nervous about or refused a proposal of an act?
I have, and thats a really hard thing to do. I always worry about asking for too many new acts from performers because of the expense and commitment involved for them. There are a few that I have been nervous about, but thankfully almost all seemed to be a hit when they were performed! Its really rare for me to veto an act altogether, usually its a minor tweak that’s needed.
Its fab as well that we can use Flaming Tease as a platform for new performers (students from my classes are offered their debut spot at the show) and for performers who are new to the burlesque scene, perhaps more cabaret or other performance art. Its lovely to see people using it as a chance to network!
Flaming Tease is very obviously a team effort, did this team evolve over time and start with fewer ‘Teasers’, or was the group together from the start?
Team Tease! The Team has really been around over the whole incarnation of Flaming Tease, and again we couldn’t do it without the hard work and dedication of everyone. We have the best stage manager that I know of, and the best soundman in the biz too – he even rearranges his holidays and proper job (he’s sound crewed some of the biggest names in rock and pop) to be with us. Our raffle machine and decorator was the force that got Flaming Tease to happen, she talked me into it!
I am hugely proud of the whole team, performers and crew, they are all a really talented bunch and make Flaming Tease an absolute pleasure to put on!
Burlesque in Scotland is a growing and vital industry, with performers coming from all over to grace our stages. What do you think makes Scotland so attractive to performers?
I like to think its a combination of things; great shows, great performers, great audiences, friendly atmosphere, and a huge amount of variety.
Finally, what’s next for Flaming Tease?
More shows! We have lots of plans afoot… so do keep up with us on Facebook, and through my website. Our next show is the 7th Sept for Stirling, and maybe we’ll arrange something before that too! Flaming Tease is more than just a show, we are all friends too. Under the heading of Flaming Tease events we are booked for other places, and can take a full show to pretty much anywhere! (We are available for hire or reward!)
Anything else you want us to know?
If you have never tried burlesque before Flaming Tease is great, because we have so much variety – you are bound to find something that you like! What our audience think is vital, so please do let us know what you think!
My final thought has to be a big thank you to everyone who has been involved – performers, traders, crew, venues and audiences.