Camden Council has decided that burlesque shows where there is stripping and nudity should require adult entertainment licenses, like strip shows and lap-dancing venues do. And I know I sound like the oldest prude in the book but they're right.
And I do feel mean about this because I have a number of good friends who perform burlesque, and for the most part what they do is genuinely alternative and intended at least in a positive way. The thing is that already I've seen amateur burlesque nights springing up around London and they are really using that term to mean "stripping but we can't be bothered to get a license". I fail to see how the line can be drawn. The council will still have authority to grant licenses if they want to.
On top of that I am still not totally comfortable with burlesque as an art form. A number of comedy clubs have sprung up recently offering a "cabaret" of comedy and burlesque. I am not, and am never going to be, comfortable going on stage when the last performer has just stripped off. And it is tangibly restricting my career, just as it used to when I worked in finance and wouldn't socialise in strip clubs.
To give a concrete example of why I feel that way: I was asked a couple of years ago to do warm-up at a highly prestigious burlesque show happening in Edinburgh at the festival. I said I thought I'd feel uncomfortable surrounded by glamourous dancers, to which I was told "no-one will be looking at your face". Confused I asked what they'd expect me to wear and was told "Don't worry, we'll lend you a basque". To be honest that's what I was most worried about so I declined the job and it was given to a male act who performed in jeans and no doubt got his own BBC series on the back of it or some such.
Some venues will still apply for and be granted licenses and for the rest of the burlesque world I can only suggest doing something wildly alternative and positive - keeping your kit on! No-one is suggesting demanding licenses for venues where nudity doesn't happen.