After huge fun in last year’s first Festival of Chichester, Dawn Gracie is back for more of the same with the second.
“I really loved being part of it,” Dawn says. “I am a big supporter of the Festival and of getting businesses involved with the Festival. With my two events in the Festival last year, we had all the excitement of it being the first year. Everyone was shouting about it, and my two events went really well.
“I am a businesswoman. How could I not want to be part of the Festival? It was really great. It’s fantastic to be involved with something right in the heart of the community. And now I am going even bigger and better for this year.
“Last year I did a July 4 event in a restaurant in Chichester. It was small-scale, singing and performing for the diners, American themed. My business life since then has massively expanded. I am now a producer as well, and this year for the Festival, for July 4, I am doing a big festival cabaret.”
Dawn will be hostess for the night, presenting acts including Cherry Liquor and Violet Blaze. Also included, as Starlet Showcases, will be Dawn’s own burlesque students.
“I have my students doing a showcase, lovely ladies that are learning ultimate body confidence. It is all about having a positive attitude towards your own body,” Dawn explains.
“Most of my students are over 30. It is all about positive body-image enforcement. When women get to a certain age, they have either had a career or they have had children or they have come out of a relationship. They are at a dormant stage in the way they view themselves. Their main focus in their lives has not been themselves. The classes that I offer under the word burlesque are all about remembering self-expression, all about bringing out your inner showgirl. Some of the ladies end up with such confidence that they want to appear on stage. I give them the power. I give them the tools, and the next thing they want to be part of my showcase!
“It is sassy and it is risqué. I call it pin-up posing and bombshell beauty,” says Dawn. She stresses that it is always fully-clothed. “If you google burlesque, the things that come up are striptease and tassles, but in my definition it is all about improving posture and just general showmanship.”
As for the other acts on the bill, they are performers Dawn has come across simply through her own work on the circuit and through networking on the scene, she says.
For the night, she will be hostess and compere: “A lot of my work these days is compering. I am a networker. I am comfortable on stage. I do a lot of hosting. I am like your modern-day Bob Hope or your current-day Bruce Forsyth!”
For the Festival of Chichester, Dawn will deliver:
Starlet’s Festival Cabaret – Dawn’s Vintage Do, Oving Jubilee Hall, High Street, Oving, Chichester, July 4.
Twist And Shout At The Hop, Dawn’s Vintage Do, Bracklesham Barn, Beech Avenue, Bracklesham, PO20 8NU, Saturday, July 12, 7.30pm. Dawn and her Vintage Do-Band will perform classic hits from the 50s and 60s.
Tickets 01243 813595.