From Tiger King to Hamilton, a list of 2020 pandemic moments wouldn’t be complete without the explosion of Zoom with producers and performers trying to take advantage of it by creating an online burlesque show.


With over 300 million users daily, it’s no wonder the entertainment world is supporting this growth. Pandemic restrictions have seen productions take the glitz and glamour off the closed stage and deliver it deliciously onto our open screens around the world.

In the true spirit of ‘the show must go on’, here are some essential tips on how to give ‘em the online razzle dazzle via Zoom.

The challenge of an online burlesque show

With so much time to fill and a need to generate revenue, it’s no wonder producers and performers have taken to Zoom to raise their profiles and keep their businesses alive.

And looking at the wider entertainment world, there have been some real winners – Dua Lipa for one. The live stream of her Studio 2054 event generated five million viewers. Something most producers or performers can only dream of. However, there is something to learn here, the cost was $1.5 million and with tickets at £7.50, you can do the math. Find out more at Rolling Stone.

Dua Lipa performing an online live stream show

Data insight company Global Web Index has recently created a report on Virtual Events and Interactions, proposing that this new entertainment format is unlikely to go away – and that they may be more profitable than real-world events in the near future. Because, hey, you’re no longer constrained by location or size of venue.

So how do you put together a burlesque show online that’s every bit as good as what you may deliver in the real world.

1. Familiarise yourself with the technology

Make sure to spend some time familiarising yourself with the Zoom interface (or whatever platform you’re using), nothing will dampen the glamour of your show like avoidable technical difficulties.

From chat functions, to share screen settings and security functions, ease the knowledge overload by checking out Zoom tutorials on YouTube.

If you are running a show with different co-hosts, set up a practise run where you can try sharing screens, passing on host roles, and other functions and timings needed for smooth transitions.

It’s also super important to check in on your speaker and microphone settings. In its basic setup Zoom tries to favour a conference style setup, removing background noise it deems unnecessary – which depending on where you are positioned in the room could actually be you! Consider getting a separate microphone setup if possible.

If you are a sound purist also try researching common issues, such as how to dampen household reverb, and effectively blocking outside noise like cars and weather.

2. Creating allure for an online burlesque show

Thanks to Covid-19, we’ve all been able to peak into everyone’s living room, now watching online interviews on TV. So you should know by know how cluttered rooms and bad lighting can be distracting and ruin the allure of your online burlesque show. Neutral backgrounds or decor and colours that complement your vibe are best therefore. You want the surroundings to match the vibrancy of your production.

And this gives you lots of scope to unleash your creativity when you create your online burlesque show. Celebrate your love of burlesque with lush fans and fabrics, put up art or posters like our A-to-Z Burlesque Poster, or even get creative and upload your own virtual background design.

When it comes to lighting there are many factors to think about, such as the difference between vibrant daytime lighting and sultry nighttime moods. Using the right bulbs with complimentary glows for your skin tone is vital, or purchasing a ring light can help with beautiful backlighting – hey, we can all learn something from influencers.

Get studious and watch tutorials on lighting, we’d recommend YouTuber Gia Goodrich’s channel as she has tons of super helpful videos on looking better on Zoom, along with lighting, posing, eye levels and other Zoom essentials.

3. Beyond the basics

With your tech setup done, here are some other quick tips to ensure Zoom showgirl magic.

• When planning costumes, remember certain prints are not easily registered on screen. Avoid busy prints like houndstooth, and if using any green screen functions of course avoid wearing green.

• Think about your eyeline whilst presenting, as well as during performance. If it helps put reference points or markers up near or behind your camera to help with your focal points.

• And lastly, the “Mute All” button is your best friend to avoid overlapping participant noises. There is an option in the settings for all joining participants to be automatically muted on arrival, and there is a “Mute All” option available during the broadcast.

• And remember, this is a very different medium to theatre or cabaret spaces. Less about working the room, it’s more about making love to the camera. It’s worth checking out a number of online shows (even outside of the cabaret world) in advance to check out what really works.

• Amongst all this the most important prep is yourself. Once you are confident in using Zoom make sure to invest time in what you need for your mental and physical space before the show.

Good luck with your show! (and please feel free to invite us along!)

Main image via Dua Lipa Instagram.

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