Miss Polly Rae

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Miss Polly Rae (born 8 July 1981) is a British singer and dancer who is one of the leading figures on the Neo-burlesque scene.[citation needed]


Polly Jane Rae was born in Preston, Lancashire, England. She was educated at Penwortham Girls' High School. Her mother Heather Gillespie (née Rae),[clarification needed] is a banking advisor and her father (Philip Rae) was a model maker who worked on Ridley Scott's film Alien and for Gerry Anderson's (of Thunderbirds fame) Terrahawks. She also has a stepfather (Shaun Gillespie) who is a musician along with a younger brother (Stuart), two stepbrothers (Edward and Philip) and a stepsister (Helen). Along with another member, her stepfather and stepbrothers have formed (The Beat Brothers), a (Beatles) tribute band who have performed at the Cavern Club in Liverpool.

Burlesque career[edit]

Polly's burlesque career began in 2006, after seeing a poster for a burlesque course run by Jo King and the London Academy of Burlesque at Danceworks studios.[1] She attended the course and completely inspired by Jo and her teachings she decided to form her seven girl troupe Hurly Burly (including herself). They currently are: Rachel Muldoon, Jennifer White, Stephanie Jayne Thompson, Katie Ella Hardwicke, Sophie Zucchini, Joanna Woodward, Caroline Amer and Polly Rae. Taking creative inspiration from 1940s and 1950s pin-ups such as Bettie Page, Tempest Storm and Marilyn Monroe to modern artists like Madonna and revue shows such as Le Crazy Horse in Paris, their first show was held at the Soho Revue Bar (formerly the Raymond Revue Bar) in Soho on 19 April 2006. It was such a success that it led to a residency at the bar, another residency at Volupte (a burlesque supper club in the heart of the legal district) – and then a move to the Leicester Square Theatre in London's West End. This show received acclaim from several critics including The Stage and What's On Stage.[2]

Polly his famed for her vocal ability and sings songs by the likes of Peggy Lee, Shirley Bassey, Mae West and Doris Day.

In 2007 Hurly Burly won Best Troupe at the Ministry Of Burlesque awards. They have appeared several times on the Alan Titchmarsh Show and opened the Prima Fashion Awards.

Miss Polly has had solo success. In 2007 she was recruited as part of a touring performance team for Agent Provocateur and appeared on The Paul O'Grady Show.

In 2008 she became the face of the No 1 Eidos computer game Battlestations Pacific as a wartime sweetheart.[3]

Miss Polly Rae and her Hurly Burly Girlys have collectively worked alongside Dusty Limits, Frisky and Mannish, Ivy Paige, Lady Carol, Stewart Pemberton, Frank Sanazi and James Devine.

Polly has also appeared in music videos for The Holloways, Mickey Modelle ft. Jesse and most recently in Kasabian's "Where Did All the Love Go?".

She also performed at the Queen Elizabeth Hall alongside Bellowhead and sang "Happy Birthday" to Mohamed Al-Fayed's son.[4]

February 2010 brought the launch of Miss Polly Rae: The All New Hurly Burly Show, with special guest act Elouise, directed by William Baker. Musical direction was by Steve Anderson. The show received high acclaim from critics such as Michael Billington (Daily Mail) and Charles Spencer (The Daily Telegraph), amongst others, and it returned to the Garrick Theatre in the West End, newly named The Hurly Burly Show, until May 2011.[5][6][7]

2014 has seen Miss Polly Rae perform and host 'The Soho Burlesque Club with Miss Polly Rae', a twice-weekly revue at London's Hippodrome Casino. On the 1st and 9 August 2014, Rae will bring her burlesque revue show 'Between The Sheets' to the Southbank Centre's London Wonderground for two nights only.


  1. ^ "Miss Polly Rae and her Hurly Burly Girlys". Time Out London. 2008-03-19. Retrieved 2013-10-24. 
  2. ^ Michael Billington (2010-02-26). "Miss Polly Rae: The All New Hurly Burly Show | Theatre review | Stage". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-11-15. 
  3. ^ Dudley, Craig (2009-04-17). "Battlestations: Pacific 'Polly Rae' Screenshots". Gameslave.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-10-24. 
  4. ^ "YouTube". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-10-24. 
  5. ^ Leo Benedictus (2010-03-03). "What to say about ... Miss Polly Rae's Hurly Burly Show | Culture". London: theguardian.com. Retrieved 2013-11-15. 
  6. ^ Spencer, Charles (2010-02-25). "The All New Hurly Burly Show at Leicester Square Theatre, review". London: Telegraph.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-11-15. 
  7. ^ "Kylie Minogue watches burlesque extravaganza The Hurly Burly Show | The Sun |Showbiz|Bizarre". London: The Sun. 2011-01-12. Retrieved 2013-11-15. 

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